There is no tougher position to fill than sales. It is the position where people hire with a lot of optimism which is quickly replaced by disappointment. Many candidates who come for sales interviews dress right, say the right thing and appear to be the real deal. They talk of their past records and demonstrate how they will make their past clients buy.

How can you avoid this situation?

First is to be clear what raw material you require for the position. Most firms are always so clear that they want to hire someone who has been developed and perfected by another. They assume that others are so good at getting the right person and developing that person. My observation is that if such a thing happened it is more of an accident than expertise from those you are trying to poach from.

From our 7 years of recruiting sales people we have observed that most likely that candidate you want is not in your industry. In some cases he is not even in sales.

Our sales hiring mantra is hire for drive, train for skill. This is what our selection tools are designed to evaluate – the sales drive. Many people ask us what is this drive. Our answer is always about the results you want in a sales person.

When you get a new sales person you want that person to settle in their role with ease, hit the ground running, start producing within the shortest time and consistently be on an upward trajectory when it comes to performance. People with the high drive deliver these results.

Recently we were filling a sales role for a new FMCG company that has set up shop in the country. They gave us a brief which among other things required the candidate to have proven experience selling fast moving consumer goods. We discussed with them their requirements and we changed this particular qualification from mandatory to an added advantage.

We got many candidates from the FMCG sector and based on the sales drive scores we could not consider. This is inspite of their colorful resumes.

Instead we recommended to them a candidate from financial services sector. She had everything we see in all super salespeople. Our client was not impressed but having burnt their fingers many times with sales hires they were open to our recommendation. Three months down the road they are struggling to deliver stocks that can match her sales volumes.

The secret was the sales drive. In every twenty to thirty people we test we get between on one to three candidates who have the requisite drive for super performers.

Selling skills can be learnt, product knowledge is the easiest to master but sales drive is hard to develop in a person. It is shaped over time by genes, upbringing and life circumstances. While we could help shape it our advice is always hire people with the right sales drive.

=====================================================================================Growth Partners is specialized in helping businesses hire high performing sales people. We use cutting edge sales psychometric tests and selection process that separate great sales talent from the average sales people. Before you hire your next sales person you need to talk to us.

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