Recruiting might be high on your agenda now due to the recent past. It’s a great place to be, but the marketplace is full of talent. So its crucial to qualify the candidates and challenge them to help you decide on who you want in your team. Whatever you are looking for you cannot afford to hire someone who cannot bring a return on the further investment you are about to make into them. To help with this qualification I have three impactful interview techniques that are crucial to your success.. 

1.Look for tangible responses.

Many a sales manager has told me they hired someone for their 'ability to build relationships'. Okay that’s great but how do you measure that? or do you just take their world for it? Too often it's that very same person who is the subject of my conversation with managers about performance improvement. So, when you are interviewing try asking this.

"That's great so can you give me an example of when your relationship with a client might have saved a potential loss or added more value to your revenue?" and "Do you have any client testimonials to back that?"

Ideally you want the candidate to be able to recall how their relationship with the client is the reason that client buys from them.

The strength of a relationship is best measured when it is tested. If the customer knows that they can source a similar/same service or product elsewhere, yet choose to buy from their current salesperson, the that is when a salespersons relationship comes into play. So, if you sell products or services that can be sought elsewhere then the candidates answer to this question will be telling.

If your candidate can point this put to you then you have a great salesperson.

2. Test their self-awareness.

Self-awareness is crucial for improvement and growth. So, if you want someone who says they want a career or are looking to fast track their way to management. Or are even applying for a management position for the first time, then use a question like this.

"If you were me, how much time would you, give you, to get up to full speed in this role and start to measure you against the rest of the team?"

This question is a challenging one. The candidate might be thrown off guard which is a good way for you to know how they handle unexpected objections. You don't want someone to launch in and tell you what they think you want to hear. You really want to hear them explore. When a salesperson stops to explore in this kind of situation, it shows that they take the questions seriously and they want to answer honestly. So ideally you want your candidate to ask you a question back. Such as.

"Describe up to speed” and, “What's your current induction process?" etc.

Anything that shows they are exploring and not throwing out an answer for the sake of it. Too many salespeople throw out an answer before they understand the objection or the parameters surrounding an objection.

3. Test their commitment to you.

Some salespeople, especially those who like to claim to be great relationships builders, tend to fly the wrong flag. They forget which side their bread is buttered and fall into the habit of blaming their employer for not having what their customer wants. The 'yes' salesperson if you like. This leads to disruption in the team and an impact on the bottom line. Whether through providing extra resource for the customer, or by reducing prices. So, test their commitment to their employer by asking a simple question.

"Have you ever said no to a customer? And why?"

If the candidate answers no to this then ask them; "ok so hypothetically speaking, under what circumstances would you say 'no' to a customer?"

This is a great way to test their commercial acumen. Without this a salesperson wouldn’t really be able to understand the importance of value and hence they wouldn’t be great at negotiation. Negotiation often fails when a salesperson doesn’t really understand the commercial impact on their business.

These work - trust me. I’ve helped hundreds of Sales Managers in this area, and I have emails telling me how these questions have led them to recruiting some great salespeople and sales managers.

Good Luck


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