You’ve hired salespeople to fuel your growth.  You had high expectations but time’s passed and they’re not getting the results you’d hoped for.

It’s all too common a scenario, so what’s gone wrong?

Often it comes down to the wrong person in the role and a lack of structure.

When working with clients we stress that hiring salespeople is a strategic decision.

This is not just about filling a gap and taking anyone you can find.  That thinking will cost you dearly in the long run.

So how should you go about hiring salespeople?  What attributes and skills should you look for?  And how would you know if they’ve got them?

First of all, how clear are you about the role?  What you expect?  Is it realistic?

Is your value proposition clear?  Have you got supporting marketing and sales material?

Do you have a sales management system?  Are you setting realistic KPIs with underlying support for your sales team?

Do you have any experience hiring sales people?  What criteria will you judge them by?

Having sorted out sales management issues over 20 years, these are our main selection criteria.

  • Mindset and self-belief
    Are they confident but not overly so.  Quiet self-belief is key.  Are they proactive and results driven?  It’s very easy to make excuses and blame others for a lack of success.


  • Do their innate skills match the role?
    Sales is about people. And different types of people excel very naturally at different types of sales jobs.Selling low priced commodity items to the “common man” is a very different proposition to selling high priced items to very senior executives where a need to be established before the “selling process” can even begin.Some people excel at prospecting, while others positively hate it. Some are born closers who move their clients towards signing up with no sign of aggression or pushiness. Others are “pleasers” who could be excellent at gaining rapport, determining value, presenting benefits, but never close the sale.


  • Ability to explain complex ideas
    Selling cars or houses is obvious. Selling performance improvement services is not.If solve complex problems, can they articulate your value proposition clearly in terms your prospects relate to?  If you sell complex, high value products and services, can they explain these concepts in an easy to consume way?Highlighting and explaining value to senior executives is very different to dealing with the factory foreman.


  • Communication
    Are they good listeners?  It’s surprising how many salespeople “vomit” all over their prospects, talking over them rather.


  • Questioning skills
    Their ability to delve into a prospect’s issues to establish needs and payoffs which determine value.


  • Ability to prospect
    Will they do whatever tasks necessary to get the job done – including stuff they dislike such as cold calling?


  • Be Accountable
    If you have long sales cycles, can they create a targeted account strategy?  Are they willing to be held accountable?  Meet KPIs?  Not use excuses when things don’t go to plan?

My final piece of advice is hire slow and fire fast.

It should be pretty obvious early on if someone is going to work out or not.  And if there’s doubt, don’t hang onto them.  It’ll set a bad example.  You risk burning prospects and costing you sales.

Want to improve your sales performance?

Our 7 Keys to Expedited Sales™ program will help you bring in more business.

Contact Rashid on 0414 913 334 and we’ll diagnose the specific issues that are undermining results and then coach/mentor/train you close more business.

Share this...