Hire a talented salesperson and your revenues can skyrocket. Onboarding the wrong individual, however, is nothing short of costly, time-consuming and demotivating. You can definitively know the difference between the two, however. That's according to Mary Beth Wynn, VP of people for Chicago-based Jellyvision, an employee benefits communications software company. Here's her advice on the clues which indicate a candidate is a solid gold sales team hire.
1. The candidate obeys your application protocol.
Jellyvision wants to see that candidates can write an engaging email cover letter, which indicates they're adept communicators. As such, they tell candidates the company strictly does not want phone calls at any point during the hiring process. Some people--wanting to show they'll do anything to stand out--pick up the phone anyway. "We see this more as a red flag for future difficulty on a team than a sign of a can-do spirit," she says.
2. He brings more than charisma to the table.
Sure, any stellar salesperson must be smart, personable and charming. But he or she also must demonstrate a solid work ethic, show up on time and remain focused. "The folks that have been most successful in our company are the grinders with beastly organizational skills," she says.
3. If she doesn't have a history in sales, she can explain how previous experience has prepared her for the job.
Some of the most successful salespeople have spent years working in other disciplines. So, don't discount someone just because they lack sales experience, but expect a solid candidate to articulate what about his or her past prepped them to kill it in sales.
4. The candidate auditions a sales call as a conversation, not a presentation.
Any effective interaction with a client should involve authenticity and an eagerness to help. It should never feel like a one-sided sales pitch. The person auditioning should be asking questions, gathering information and trying to build a trusting relationship with the prospect.
5. He knows not to ask whether or not he will continue in the hiring process.
In a sales call, you want to ask for the sale. But in an interview, Jellyvision's recruiting team cringes when a candidate outright asks how he performed in the interview or if she will be moving on to the next stage in the hiring process. "It's a socially awkward thing to do and might indicate that a candidate has some not-ideal interpersonal blind spots," she says.
6. The person admits to not knowing the answer to a question.
Instead of blowing smoke, the candidate promises to get back to the hiring team with an answer, and then actually does. The best salespeople are authentic and follow through.
7. The candidate writes to say "thank you."
Good manners matter, especially in sales. "If a person doesn't have the wherewithal to send a quick thank you note after an interview, it indicates that he or she might not be as vigilant about the etiquette necessary to keep a precarious prospect engaged," she says.