The early phase of launching your business almost always includes doing all of the jobs yourself, and this is where a lot of entrepreneurs really cut their teeth in sales.
However, once growth in the business kicks in you can only achieve so much and doing all the jobs yourself becomes a checkpoint. This is the phase in your startup that you need to work out which roles you replace yourself.
Choose the roles you can hire competent workers with ease then as the business matures eventually you’ll be relieved of all operational duties and direct sales.
Hiring salespeople is more challenging. Unlike jobs where you can match hard skills to bullet points on a resume, sales depend on soft skills that don’t translate well on a resume. In this article, we cover five tips on hiring a salesperson so you can get the expertise your business needs without settling for second best.
Keep reading for five tips on how to hire a salesperson with the competency required for your startup.
1. Tighten Up the Job Description
Job descriptions often suffer from one of two problems. The job description proves too general, or it’s a list of skills and attributes, almost no one possesses. Neither version gets you the right candidate pool.
Instead, write a job description that reflects the things that matter most to you. If you prioritize experience in the industry, focus on that. If you care more about people skills, focus the job description on that.
There is an excellent chance you run into sales professionals regularly, due to doing the role yourself in the initial stages of securing sales for your business.
If you spot someone doing a great job, strike up a quick conversation to see if they’re happy where they are and if it’s apparent they’re not, leave them your card. With job satisfaction at around 54 per cent in America, chances are, some of your direct approaches will be welcomed by salespeople not happy in their current role or with their current company.
3. Ask Tough Questions
Sales professionals talk for a living, so you should expect them to breeze through standard questions.
Ask something like, “Describe a time when you made an avoidable mistake, and what you learned from that?”
A question like that forces a candidate to reflect. If you’re a natural salesperson, avoid falling into the trap of offering the answers when asking prospective hires challenging questions. Most entrepreneurs are natural salespeople and as salespeople aim to please, providing the answers comes naturally to them.
4. Get Real About the Job Itself
Whatever candidate you ultimately offer a job should walk in the first day with a very clear sense of what they’ll do for the company.
For example, they shouldn’t think they’ll spend half their time on the road if they’ll live at a desk and do virtual meetings. Wrong expectations can lead to hasty departures.
5. Consider Leadership Potential
You might find it tempting to hire for your immediate need, but you should also consider potential future growth. If your company grows at a steady rate, you’ll need a sales team instead of a salesperson. Hiring someone with leadership potential sets you up to promote that person to the sales team leader later.
Not feeling confident about your ability to spot leadership potential? You can always use a leadership assessment test as part of the hiring process.
Parting Thoughts on How to Hire a Salesperson
Sadly, no perfect answer exists for how to hire a salesperson. You can pick the right candidates, ask the right questions, and still end up with a bad fit.
You do dramatically improve your odds with a tight job description and some active recruiting. If viable, bring in someone to help you out in the interviewing process – this person will be more objective and provide neutral feedback.
Finding people with leadership potential is also ideal too as they may end up long-term employees who can rise up the ranks into leadership roles as the business grows.