How to Hire the Best in the Business

Edition: December 2001 - Vol 9 Number 12
Article#: 1122
Author: Anita Sirianni, The Professional Sales Coach

Hiring salespeople who are motivated and possess the appropriate sales skills is essential to recruiting top performers. However, there are a variety of factors that make finding those superstars difficult.

In his best selling book, ''Building a Winning Team'' Harris Plotkin identifies several factors that lead to a poor selection process. They include:

- Over 90% of all hiring decisions are made by an interview

- A Michigan State University Study indicated interviewing is only 14% accurate in predicting performance

- National Referencing Corporation reported 30 million people secured employment by lying on their resumes

Many organizations make common mistakes when recruiting salespeople. Too many hiring officials either do not know what they want, know what they want and are not sure how to find it, or have a selection process that is counterproductive to the position requirements.

One common mistake is that job requirements for sales positions are often defined in too narrow terms. Managers typically look for industry experience, a proven track record, a particular salary requirement, or a certain educational background. These factors, on their own, are not enough to help you identify superstars. And, matching these qualifications shouldn't be your only hiring goal.

It is true that past performance is an excellent predictor of future behavior. However, it's also true that different environments and sales scenarios require different working styles and skills. With the help of computer assessment instruments, we can evaluate the effectiveness of salespeople before they are hired.

Skill assessment technology measures four areas:
-WILL this person sell? (Attitude)

-WHY will this person sell? (Personal Interests and Values)

-HOW does this person sell? (Behaviors)

-CAN this person sell? (Sales Knowledge)

''Will & Why Will This Person Sell?''
Our values drive our behavior, and our behavior drives our ability to learn, produce, excel, and succeed. An individual's core values will always determine whether or not he or she is likely to be a happy and prosperous salesperson.

Measuring values will reveal what motivates an individual. It exposes the driving factors behind performance. Salespeople are influenced by money. However, money, in and of itself, is not a driving factor. Achieving a certain lifestyle, in accordance with one of the core values discussed below, may be a driving factor -- but if that level of comfort is achieved, and nothing else is motivating the salesperson, then money will not be a successful motivator.

There are six core values that drive the motivation of every individual. How a salesperson measures against these six areas will determine their level of passion to succeed. These six values are:

Theoretical values measure a person's need to know. The higher someone rates in this area, the more emphasis he or she places on learning. Utilitarian values measure an individual's need to have a return on investment- whether that investment is money, time spent on an initiative, or activity. Aesthetic values reflect one's need to seek harmony and form, and to establish subjective standards for evaluating the surrounding world. Social values reflect the need to serve others. When recruiting, you are looking for an individual with moderate social values - someone without extremes on either end.

Individualistic values reflect the measure of belief in one's control over one's own destiny- as well as the destiny of others. Superstar salespeople tend to rate high to very high in this area. Traditional values measure the need to follow a certain belief system or philosophy.

''How Does This Person Sell?''
Behavioral research suggests that the most effective people are those who understand themselves, both strengths and weaknesses, so they can develop strategies to meet the demands of their environment. In addition, managers can more effectively manage their subordinates with similar information.

Understanding how a person will perform a particular task can be accomplished by observing current and past performance. Human behavior comes from 'nurture' (our upbringing) and 'nature' (inherent). You will gain valuable insights into an individual's behavioral style by evaluating these four dimensions:

- How one responds to problems and challenges

- How one influences others to their point of view

- How one responds to the pace of their environment

- How one responds to rules and procedures set by others

Our computer analysis can measure these factors with 87-94% statistical accuracy. However, since human behavior is spoken in the universal language of 'how we act' you can get a good idea of a candidate's behavioral style through observation.

''Can This Person Sell?''
Considering the potential pitfalls in the typical hiring process, understanding a candidate's sales knowledge would be of value in making any job offer. Evaluating sales knowledge is a good indicator of the likelihood or probability of sales success. We utilize a comprehensive instrument that presents 54 different sales scenarios to evaluate sales knowledge. Presenting a variety of real-world sales situations during the interview process is another way to answer 'Can this person sell?'.

Hiring the right people for the right positions is a balance and blend of many factors. Finding and recruiting sales superstars can be more than a guessing game when you use the right techniques, technology and tools.

For a FREE SCOREBOARD Skills Assessment from ANSIR International, fax your request, on company letterhead to: 505-286-5275.

About The Author: Professional Sales Coach, Anita Sirianniis the President of Ansir International, which provides sales training and consulting to many of the country's leading corporations. She has more than 15 years of sales success in the healthcare industry. She can be reached at: 1-800-471-2619 or on the Web at: