Sales individuals have their unique traits and styles. There is no right or wrong way of selling, any technique that is getting results (ethically) is acceptable.
So what is the right way to sell then? Should you as a interviewer discard the sales process completely? How do you figure out if a sales individual is right for your sales team?
Here are 3 techniques that we feel can help you find the right sales individual for your sales team.
Ask the sales individual to do a sales pitch of your product
A lot of sales individuals will hate us for saying this, but organisations around the globe are now expecting sales individuals to do homework and then do a sales pitch of their products. This will probably mean you have to do a quick product introduction session for all interested sales individuals or allow them to get in touch with your support team to better understand what they are expected to pitch.
But a sales individual who is truly passionate about the job and your organisation should be putting in the effort to execute a sales pitch of your product.
Remember, this is not designed to be a test of product/service knowledge. If the sales individual is comfortable selling your product/services on a grass root level. It also shows how capable they are handling objections on services/products they are not completely trained on.
Don't reject someone because they failed at answering product related questions. Instead, figure out if they can think on their feet and if they have the skillset needed to understand your product.
Anyone who fails to invest in this activity is clearly not serious about your job offering.
When was the last time they were impressed by a sales individual?
We are being sold every day and in different ways. When was the last time you were impressed by a sales individual and why?
Ask the sales individual to deconstruct the pitch. See if he understands selling and can also locate where the sales individual was able to handle objections.
Work on not just the good but also the bad of the pitch. It is equally important that your next sales rock star understands what not to do.
You will be surprised the examples some of the top sales individuals will come back to you with. Some will probably start from their homes!
The purpose here is to walk away from just your product and services. This is to see if they truly 'get' sales.
Ask them to sell you something other than your software/services
We have extensively used this methodology during a preliminary screen of applicants. This will help you check basic sales understanding, you can then move into a product pitch if need be.
For example, ask them to read up on help desk software and then in 30 minutes time start putting them in objection handling and selling situations. If you want, you can also see how good they are closing by putting them in situations against the competition etc.
This approach will help your organisation check research skills, speed of learning and also see if the sales individual you are talking to can think on his/her feet.
Make sure the real life situation is not so much about your product/services but about understanding a real world environment. See if the sales individual understands who the competition is and if he is comfortable answering questions on the competition also.
A popular variation of this technique is to ask someone to sell you a car or even a particular cell phone model.
The overall objective is to see how well they respond to resistance and their closing skills.
Remember, if the sales individual is not comfortable with the product you have asked them to sell to you, then switch it around and let them sell you something they are comfortable selling.
There are many other factors you will take into consideration when you are adding a team member to your team.
We have concentrated on the sales aspect of the hiring process as there are many other factors you will also consider like team fit, cultural fit and salary etc also.