Good recruiting practices will get you far in your direct sales business. By doing the right stuff, like casting a wide net for talent, using job boards effectively, and encouraging referrals from your existing sales force, you will be able to get enough new potential sales reps into your recruiting funnel to grow your sales team.
But now, you’ve created a long list of candidates. So now it’s time to find the right fit for your sales team. And that means creating a solid interview process before you start calling those candidates in for interviews.
No matter how exhaustive your recruiting methods, you can still hire the wrong sales rep if you aren’t vigilant when it comes to your interviews.
Think about it: have you ever seen a candidate put something negative on their resume? The face that you see in an interview will most likely be the best version of that person. That makes sense… they want you to hire them! But it’s crucial to get a feel for how that person would actually be for the sales position at hand, and to fill in the gaps that are missing in that resume vetting process. So don’t pull the trigger on a hire just because you got a great first impression.
We’re going to give you 3 things to look for when considering your next hire… and some red flags that indicate that they may NOT be the top performer that you’re looking for.
#1: Look For Someone Open-Minded
A resume can make someone’s experience look great, but when you’ve got someone in the chair across from you, get a sense of their attitude.
How do they approach new ideas? Are they set in their ways? Do they fear change, or are they open to trying something fresh and interesting?
Here’s the thing: most of the best direct sales talent probably has very little experience with direct sales! If they’ve only worked in other types of sales, (or maybe even just customer service,) chances are the type of things you’ll expect from them as direct sales reps are completely new.
If you’re interviewing somebody who has only worked traditional 9-5 types of jobs in the past, you will want to be sure that they are open to change before you throw them into the exciting new world that direct sales offers them.
Once you’ve determined that the candidate is open to change, ask some follow-up questions. Some people hate standing still, and they appreciate change for the sake of change. These candidates may provide a quick initial pop of sales, but once the initial honeymoon period wears off, you’ll have a hard time keeping their attention on putting in the reps necessary to be successful.
However, there are professionals who see change as an opportunity to pursue a goal they wouldn’t otherwise be able to attain. Candidates with this attitude are the best prospects for a successful direct sales career: they won’t quit when the going gets tough because they’re moving toward something bigger. Pursue the goal seekers, show them how their goals align with yours, point them in the right direction, and watch them be successful!
#2: Look For Someone Teachable
When you’re interviewing your next crop of potential direct sales talent, keep an eye out for the candidates with a real student’s mindset.
Most every candidate you find will be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is great! But it’s also easily faked. And even when it’s genuine, it doesn’t follow that an enthusiastic sales rep will be able to be a top performing sales rep.
Instead, look for people who are able and excited to learn the do’s and don’ts of your industry and process.
Direct sales is all about the process. If you can implement a great process, a great team will be able to use that process to make the company, (and themselves,) a lot of great returns.
If a sales rep can’t be taught the process, or can’t learn to adapt to your culture, they will never be able to perform to their top potential.
Make sure that you’re hiring candidates that you can see training effectively, who have keen minds and are always willing to learn and implement something new to make their sales process even better.
#3: Look For Someone Hungry
Let’s be real for a second… one of the major benefits to being a direct sales rep is the potential to make a lot of money.
That’s a good thing. The more money a salesperson makes, the more revenue they pull in for the whole company. It’s part and parcel to the role, and it’s what makes the world go round in this business.
So if you make the mistake of hiring somebody who lacks ambition, who doesn’t really want to make a lot of money, they will never be a top performing sales rep for you.
If you hire someone whose goal is to make the bare minimum, who is satisfied to hit their quota every month and then just take it easy, they will fade into the backdrop of your company. You might as well hire a rubber plant.
If you don’t want your next great rep to fade into oblivion, make sure you hire someone with tangible hunger… and a long-term vision for their own success. If they have a plan, it shows they are thinking things through and willing to do what it takes to write their own ticket.
What About Red Flags?
So now that you know what to look for when interviewing candidates, it’s just as important to know what to stay away from:
Red Flag #1: Lack Of Enthusiasm
If they can’t show any enthusiasm at all about the stuff that they’re interested in, they won’t be able to show enthusiasm for the products and services you sell. It’s simple as that.
Red Flag #2: Lack Of Clarity
If, on the other hand, they have enthusiasm but they lack the clarity to communicate their enthusiastic feelings, you’ve got a different problem. If they can’t answer your questions clearly, they won’t be able to answer your customers’ questions clearly either.
Red Flag #3: Lack Of Seriousness
If your candidate is late, that’s a huge red flag. If they laugh off your questions or don’t seem to take the process seriously, it shows you that they won’t take your processes seriously. Humor is great, but avoid the class clowns.
Red Flag #4: Lack Of Responsibility
If the interview is full of finger-pointing and blame game stories about their previous employers, recognize that they won’t hesitate to badmouth you in the same way. This goes hand in hand with being teachable: if the rep is having issues performing, they need to be open to changing what isn’t working. Someone incapable of taking responsibility will not be able to do that.