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Anyone Ever Hire Sales People?

Discussion in 'Business Models, Niches, Industries' started by Allthingznew, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    I'm looking to hire sales people on an independant contractor basis. I have a contract with a no compete clause. I have plenty of experiece interviewing in the past so I'm comfortable with the process.

    What I'd like to know is do you have any tips on what to look for in these people specific to sales? I guess an argument can be made if the can sell themselves to me...

    Anyway I'd appreciate any tips you might have.
     
  2. Redshft
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    Will they be selling a product or a service? Is it a normal good or inferior? Is training going to be offered? If not, previous experience would definately be a must. Try providing them with scenarios of rejection and see how they reply. A good sales rep shouldnt be scared of rejection, in fact, they should reject the FIRST rejection.

    Also see what they would do in scenarios of competition. Such as trying to sell a good to a client that is already using a competitors product.
     
  3. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    Service with a start up. Yes, I definitly need experienced people and will be advertising for such.

    Good points on rejection and selling with competition. Any thing else I should watch for?
     
  4. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Attitude and appearance over experience. You can train for the latter. Frankly, I would rather have an untrained sales person with drive, (so I can train them from the ground up) than mess with sales people who are full of bad habits.

    Read the book Sales Dogs by Blair Singer- great book for owner or sales manager.

    Speaking of which, are you going to be hiring a sales manager or will that be you?

    ...I would focus on objection handling and getting them to know your company and product before they start.
     
  5. Peter2
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    Peter2 Fastane Legend. RIP.

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    I have hired more than 500 sales people and interviewed several thousand. I have also read more than 10,000 sales resumes.

    My conclusion is that most sales people are not sales people. They are order takers.

    You need to start sorting them at the resume level. If they are jumping from job to job frequently, they are not worth your time. This is 80% of all resumes.

    If they are not on time for the interview, you should just send them home again.
    I dont care if there was an accident on the road and traffic was backed up, or it was hard to find my office. No excuse is acceptable.

    Ask them why they are better than the guy sitting in the lobby waiting to interview.

    Ask them why they want to work for your company.

    Ask them what expectations they have.

    This one is a big one. Ask them what they have liked the least at their previous jobs. It will say alot about them as a person depending on how they answer that question.

    Hire them in a two stage interview. If you like them after the first interview, give them an assignement for the second interview, like reading a 300 page sales book or memorizing a 1 hour long sales presentation.

    People will weed themselves out. During the second interview, you quiz them on a few chapters in the book, or tell them to give the presentation that they should have memorized. If they do good, you hire them and if they do bad, you know they are not what you are looking for, since they couldn't be bothered with wasting time reading and learning in order to get a job with you.
     
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  6. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    Thanks, will check the book.

    I am pretty much it right now which is why I need experienced to start. I'll be the Sales Manager until I can develop one.
     
  7. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    Yes! I've used most every concept you mentioned when I hired for the restaurant I managed. Because it was a restaurant and I was dealing with a lot of kids, I would also ask what their bedroom looked like right then. It was funny, it took most of them so much by surprise they couldn't help but answer honestly, (their facial expression was either the I'm busted grin, or the confident smile of someone who just aced the test) which pretty much told me what I could expect from them in the cleanliness department.

    I like the two stage process, and it is true, people will weed themselves out. What do you think about some sort of sales quiz? I've seen a couple, which I have taken and it basically tells me I'm not a sales person find something else to do, which I already know about myself :smxE: but would like to find out about those I interview.

    Since what I am doing is an idea I need to protect, at least until I can get the concept launched, I'm concerned with the hiring process revealing too much info and someone can go duplicate the concept themselves. Is it ok to be general with them until they're hired and I have the protection of the no compete clause?
     
  8. Peter2
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    A quiz can be good if it's very specific to what you are selling.

    You protect yourself by having them sign an application and the non compete, non disclosure agreement before you start the interview. I would say that 99% of the applicants have no problems doing that. The 1 % that say they will not sign right now are the people that will give you lots of trouble in the future if you hire them, so you just thank them for their time and send them home.
     
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  9. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I believe a QUIZ / TEST / QUESTIONNAIRE is in order for ANY job you are hiring.

    A few years back I was looking to hire a programmer and the test I gave really shed light on a lot of things.

    1) How current are the candidates with their field? (Many of the candidates were out of the loop with current technology)
    2) How is their writing skill? (The quiz had several essay questions - candidates would misspell, poor grammar, etc.
    3) Can they follow directions? (The quiz had varying questions - some didn't answer the question properly)

    In my opinion, any job applicant, including sales, should be quizzed; from receptionist to software engineer.

    MJ
     
  10. Rawr
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    Rawr Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    What do you mean by this? What happens when you send out an order taker? How do you differentiate the two?
    If they are a superstar, it doesn't matter where they jumped or how often - if they produce the results, this is fine.
    Very true, but the biggest thing it will say is whether the person has any brains. Stuff like "My boss was a jerk" or "Waking up early" or "Never being late" = not very bright at saying the right thing.
    Excellent idea

    I feel an interview is about a million times better than just looking at the resume - I wish we had pictures allowed like they do in Europe - you can tell a lot by looking at the picture sometimes.


    Edit: If you are looking for some interesting questions, one that I've been asked was "What's more important - people, or money?" I replied that without people there would be no money, so the former. I do wonder if anyone just yelled out "cash!" :D

    I don't know if you are living in an "at-will state", but if not, something like a 30 day trial period could help you get rid of bad employees without problems. Put that into the agreement.
     
  11. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    Good question to add.

    A trial period is a good idea. Also this statement made me think if maybe I should consider a quota in the agreement as well?
     
  12. Peter2
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    You don't need a trial period since they are not going to be an employee, but you do need them to sign an independent contractor agreement. You also need to make sure they meet all criteria to qualify as an independent contractor according to government rules and regulations.

    No one is really going to check if they do or don't, but eventually you will have an independent contractor that will try to collect unemployment after you terminate them, and that will open up a case of worms unless they clearly can't be classified as employees.
     
  13. Peter2
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    Order takers don't know how to ask for the order. They don't know how to overcome objections, and they give up too fast.

    A salesperson will ask for the order at least 10 times before they leave their appointment. They have an answer for every single objection, and they refuse to give up until they get the order.

    I have had order takers earning $50,000/year, while my good sales people earn $50,000/month, while selling the same product in the same territory.

    Order takers will blame the company, the leads, the products and everything they can think of.

    Sales people will look in the mirror and only blame themselves when they don't get the order.

    As far as jumping from job to job is concerned. The people that jump from job to job are the order takers that can't make a living selling. They always blame the company they worked for, but never themselves. If they where good, they wouldn't have to be looking for the next best thing all the time.
     
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  14. tbsells
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    I've hired real estate sales people and personal assistants for about 10 years. I absolutely 100% agree with Peter2 on this. The info he provided is to good and valuable to be free. If you don't agree with what he said, you better think again.:icon_super:
     
  15. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    Yes, ok I was just reading about the qualifications for an independant contractor in Diane's book she gave us, shout out to Diane!

    I haven't seen any kind of quota in the template agreements I've looked at. Should I consider a minimum quota of some kind?
     
  16. Peter2
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    No. Do not have written quotas for independent contractors. It may get you in trouble with their IC classification.
     
  17. Allthingznew
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    Allthingznew Contributor

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    K thx, good to know.
     
  18. Rawr
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    Rawr Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Thanks Peter, great info as always.

    How do you guys typically manage your sales people? Do you give them a month or two to show results before you can them? How many warnings should I give a person before letting them go? Do you advocate keeping work and becoming friends with employees completely separated to prevent any lawsuits?

    I am trying to get a sense of management in advance so I know what I am doing once I am there.
     
  19. cantwait2
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    good advice in this thread...listen carefully as it's very expensive learning this the hard way...
     
  20. ianmc
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    Rawr, in my experience how long it takes for a salesperson to be productive is relative to the product/service they are selling Some of our marketing is done at a high level in our larger customers organizations. The sales cycle on these accounts are typically 90 to 120 days. The sales people that are working those accounts I expect them to close within that time period. I have other sales people that are selling at grass roots. They should be "black inking" in the same amount of time. As to work and friendship, that is very dicey (hard to fire a friend, and the work/personal line gets blurred). I try to manage my folks as if they were my most valuable assets in my company (they are!). I'll empathize to a certain degree with their non work situations, but in order for them and the company to survive results are the ultimate bottom line. Outside of our general manager whom I've known for 25 years, I don't typically socialize with our employees. It keeps it a lot simpler that way.
     
  21. carlhuber
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    Well, that depends on what you're looking for. Of course never hire someone who doesn't have drive and ambition. But sometimes it can be wise to hire people who can come in with preexisting connections. It depends entirely on the reasons you're hiring. I know in the marketing industry, sales people will get hired a lot because of their portfolio of client connections in addition to their attitude/experience. Like, "who can you call up on Day 1 and say, 'Hey, Remember me?'"
     
  22. camski
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    try using the STAR (acronym) method of interviewing. Ask them to tell you about a specific time when they overcame an objection and ask them to be very specific. What you are looking for is a SITUATION (S) that they were in. then you want the TASK (T) ACTION (A) that they took to overcome that objection and finally you are looking for the RESULT (R) that came from those actions. Many of you were probably interviewed using this technique, you can tell when they start a sentence with "tell me about a time" . This can also be adapted to anything other topic you want to cover (when they sold something/ closed a deal/ handled a conflict/ whatever). If they mis one of the STAR componenets then it is important that you probe for these. If they cannot answer in this form they probably arent worth even inviting back for round 2
     
  23. camski
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    Selling doesnt start until someone says NO.
     

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