How to Hire Top Sales People

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Sales Recruiters: How to Hire Top Sales People

According to, “80% of all hiring decisions made involving salespeople are mistakes.”

By: Landy Chase

Most of us are familiar with the Pareto Principle. More commonly known as the 80/20 rule, its basic premise is that 80% of any output will be generated by only 20% of the total input utilized.

If you have ever hired and managed sales people, you also know that the Pareto Principle holds true in sales recruitment. Twenty percent of the sales people really do produce eighty percent of the business. They also, by producing excellent results, get the lion’s share of the promotions, job perks, clients, work satisfaction, and, of course, the income.

If 20% of the sales people produce 80% of the business, then the remaining 80% of new hires, collectively, make only 20% of the sales. The conclusion? 80% of all hiring decisions made involving salespeople are mistakes.

Sales Recruiting: Top Seller Traits
Obviously, when it comes to hiring top sales talent, you only want to recruit sales people who are either in the top 20% category already, or have the potential to get there. The question for sales recruiters that begs to be answered is this: what separates the high achievers from the mediocrity of the masses?

The Harvard Business School recently conducted an in-depth study in this area, and they found that top sellers possessed the following character traits:

  • 100% acceptance of responsibility for results
  • Above-average ambition and desire to succeed
  • Above-average willpower and determination; self-discipline is a key;
  • Intensely goal-oriented
  • High level of customer empathy
  • Impeccably honest
  • Does not take “no” personally
  • Has the ability to approach strangers, even when it is uncomfortable to them

The only problem with this data, of course, is that these traits are very difficult to ascertain in a job interview. How can you determine whether the smooth talker in front of you is a future star performer?

Most sales managers require a person to have industry experience as a prerequisite for the job. The translation of “experience required” is “we’re too lazy to train you.” Remember, product knowledge can be learned; soft skills count as well.

Employee motivation, on the other hand, comes from the heart. The self-discipline and desire to be the best isn’t something that you can teach, cajole, or bribe. It is a part of the person’s character, and if it isn’t there, nothing you can say or do is going to produce results. So what you are looking for is a candidate who has a strong work ethic, has a burning desire to succeed, and will make the effort to become a valued, integral part of your work force.

Therefore, drop “experience” from your list of sales recruiting requirements and look for motivated people who can come into your organization and find an environment in which to excel.

As the person making hiring decisions, it pays to remember that 80% of your organization’s sales performance depends on your hiring skill. The other 20% is up to you.

Use Crawford Thomas Recruiting when hunting for your next top sales rep. We’re here to help!

original article here

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Crawford Thomas RecruitingHow to Hire Top Sales People