In today’s blog, I’m going to help you with a few tips on how to choose the right sales reps.
Choosing the right sales rep can break or build a company. These people are crucial, and you should look at them more as partners than employees.
There are two types of employees:
- Unicorns – Your marketing guru, vice president, and managers are (generally) unicorns that should be very unique and hard to replace.
- Not unicorns – Sales reps, secretaries, copywriters, and other employees that are easier to replace and don’t offer a unique value.
As important as sales reps are, they are fairly easy to replace, so they fall into the second category. There’s no need for you to let them slide on essential qualities like being on time, being reliable, being responsive, etc. This kind of “slacking” is only permissible when the employee’s contribution isn’t easily replaceable. For example, an SEO employee who managed to rank you on Google and get you tons of leads and organic traffic to the website should not be replaced easily, even if he or she is lacking some of the traditional employment skills.
But since sales reps aren’t usually unicorns, let’s see how can we make sure we’re hiring the right people:
- Give the candidates small assignments for your next call or meeting. This helps you see how serious they are about the job and how serious they are in general.
For example, after getting a candidate’s resume, I usually email and ask them to text me on my personal cell phone (you’d be surprised, but not everyone actually does—and if they don’t, I’m on to the next rep). If it takes them more than a day to respond, I know that they’re slow to respond and that will be part of their persona when hired. If they do send the text, we schedule a call.
On the call, I usually ask them to complete some simple assignments for our next meeting. You can ask them, for example, to create a unique email, or simply send them a video to watch and learn about your company, and later ask questions. If the person didn’t complete the assignment before the call, you can expect the same behavior after you hire them.
- Notice how long it takes them to respond to your texts, emails, and calls. You want to make sure people respond quickly on text; I often find these people to be more serious.
- If you set up a call or a Zoom meeting, make sure they show up on time. If the person doesn’t show, asks to reschedule, or shows up late, expect the same behavior after hiring them.
- If you’re hiring a part-time employee, make sure to ask them what else they do for a living. A lot of part-time prospects don’t have the mental capacity of dealing with 2 jobs and this will often compromise their performance. If the job requires their continuous attention outside of business hours, they might not be the best fit, and you might want to consider a full-time person.
- Make sure they’ve researched your company and that they’re specifically happy to work at your company. This connection is very important. You don’t want just another person who will come and do hours; you want someone who likes what they do.
- If you have any doubt about their honesty, I suggest not even considering them unless absolutely necessary.
For example, if someone doesn’t show up for a meeting and says there was serious rain in their area, you can check the weather in their area. It might sound a bit paranoid, but dishonesty is a very common issue, and that will later affect your company’s performance.
Dishonest people are like cancer to an organization, and if you have the ability to check if someone is being honest with you, you definitely should.
- Monitor their work in the first few weeks. There are always ways to monitor a rep’s work, whether by the number of calls, call durations, lead conversions, listening to their calls, reading transcripts of their calls, etc.
First, you do it to help guide them, but also, since most people work from home these days, this is the only real way to track their performance.
We all hire the wrong people sometimes, and we let good talkers fool us into thinking they’re good. But our mission as HR recruiters is to see through the first layer of the person and to look deeper into core character traits that will affect their job performance.