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that you asked for in your ad, and the other doesn’t have a college degree, and only two years of experience, but she has a Rolodex full of established relationships – terrific prospects for your company’s products and services. Who do you want to talk with first?


Of course, it’s the second person; however, you probably won’t even see her. Why? Because she is being screened out since your ad says you are looking for someone with a college degree and five years of experience. On the other hand, if you write a performance-based ad, you’ll focus on what really does matter. Your ad should express a preference for candidates who have existing relationships with people at the right level of an organization, and/or a proven ability to prospect successfully to people at similar levels.


2. EXAMINE RESUMÉS THAT HIGHLIGHT ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND RESULTS.


“Smart salespeople know that results sell,” she suggests. “When these salespeople prospect, they talk to potential prospects about


the results they have produced for other customers. When these same salespeople write resumés, they write about the results they have produced and their other accomplishments (awards, special recognition, etc.) – not the duties they have performed.”


3. CONDUCT 15- TO 20-MINUTE TELEPHONE SCREENING CALLS. When you see a resumé that interests you, schedule a telephone screening call with the job candidate. This will give you an opportunity to ask a list of performance-based questions such as, “Who do you know that might be a good prospect for our company’s products and services? What relationships can you leverage for appointments during your first few weeks on the job? How long did it take before you started making quota consistently in your current (or most recent) sales job?”


4. ASSESS QUALIFIED JOB CANDIDATES.


Now you can gather some objective information about the person. The most effective sales assessment


Diagnosing Cultural Compatibility


During the interview process, sales managers usually check for skills, education, experience, motivation, drive – the basics. But there is one more element that can make a new sales rep successful in YOUR company with YOUR customers: culture.


“Recruiting culturally-compatible salespeople is the fastest way to sales culture transformation,” says a sales expert.


In addition to a normal line of questioning during an interview, he recommends incorporating the following ques- tions into your interview process to discover if the candidate is the right fit for your organization. • What is your understanding of sales culture? • How would you describe the sales culture of your present employer? • Specifically, what do you like best about that sales culture? What do you like the least? • If it were up to you, what kind of sales culture would you develop for a company to be successful in this industry? • What type of behaviors do you exhibit that are exemplary of the sales culture you just described? • What do you know about our sales culture? • We pride ourselves in our sales culture. Why do you think you would fit into this culture? • On a scale of 1 to 10 – with 10 being vital and 1 being unnecessary – how important are these behavioral traits for success in a sales culture: high energy, congeniality, aggressiveness, positive attitude, cooperation, self-reli- ance, “coachability,” resolve, objectivity, and creativity? “This brief list of questions will tie sales culture nicely into the job candidate interview process and allow for a quick diagnosis of chemistry and fit,” says the expert.


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tests examine critical sales performance characteristics that include learning rate, reasoning, or cognitive skills. These assessments should answer questions such as: How do candidates problem solve? Do they ask insightful questions? Are they externally or internally motivated? What is their selling style? Use your own top performers to benchmark.


5. FINALLY, CONDUCT IN- PERSON INTERVIEWS. Focus on performance factors during the interview. Role-play to determine whether the skills that were accessed can translate into real-world situations. “If you ask performance-based questions and clearly outline your expectations for new hire sales performance, you should have more productive communications with your sales job candidates,” says the expert. “This will help you attract fewer poor candidates, as many will de-select themselves. You will also attract more top performers, as they will no longer be screened out by invalid ‘knockout factors.’” 


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