Hiring the Salesperson, Part Six

Car Salesperson

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

In the previous Hiring the Salesperson tips, we covered preparation, motivation, prospecting, sales technique and closing.

In this tip, let’s discuss the salesperson who has sold something very different from what you’re selling.

Your candidate, Frank, has been selling cars for several years now and he’s gotten quite good at it. Does this mean Frank can sell other products besides cars?

Let’s find out.

“Frank, in speaking with your previous employer, it seems you’ve been quite successful at selling cars. As you know, the product we provide here is printed materials. Business cards, stationery, printed newsletters…that type of thing. Do you feel you’ll be able to switch gears and sell our products?”

“Of course,” Frank responds. “Selling is selling. If you can sell one thing, you can sell anything.”

“Well, actually Frank, that’s not what we’ve discovered here. In the last few years, a good number of salespeople have worked for us. Some of them have found it very difficult to sell our products. For one reason, a sale of our printed products does not produce as high of a commission as the sale of a car does.

“In other words, a great deal of printing has to be sold to make the same kind of commission one would get from selling just one car. Our salespeople will have to spend considerable time staying in touch with prospective clients. A lot of follow-up work is needed. It’s a very different operating basis than selling cars.

“What are your thoughts on this, Frank?”

And of course let Frank give you his answer.

“You’ll likely need to learn a completely different selling approach and technique here, Frank. Are you willing to do so?”

Watch Frank closely when he answers these questions.

If Frank winces a bit, then it’s possible he may be resistant to learning a new sales technique and he may also be resistant to having to work longer and harder to secure a sale.

His answers may say one thing, but his demeanor may tell you something different.

One of the key skills to the hiring interview is the ability to “read” your candidate. Is he telling you what you want to hear or is his ever-so-slight frown telling you he’s not so sure.

And maybe it’s not a frown, but a very perceptible pause when answering your question. As if he is considering his response instead of just giving it.

The salesperson who truly has no concerns about selling anything will have no problems with learning a new sales approach. He will not flinch if more work is needed to accomplish a sale.

Granted, your prospective salesperson might need to do “some math” to determine if he’ll make an adequate commission selling your products.

But the math is one thing. His attitude and belief in himself as a salesperson is quite another.

Keep a close eye on his responses and it will serve you well in making your decision.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


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