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The Sales Evangelist

Brian Keels, Hiring Process Hiring is part of the sales process but businesses know there are things to look for when hiring successful sellers. Getting the right people to join your sales team is one of the most effective ways to boost your sales revenue. 

Brian Keels is a businessman living the life of a busy entrepreneur. In addition to being a happy husband and father, he is also working for a very large enterprise software company. There, he takes on different sales and leadership roles from regional to global levels. He’s done businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Recently, he’s been doing enterprise sales in Barcelona, Spain by day. By night, he is building his own investing business in the U.S. 

Things to look for when hiring successful sellers 

Sales leaders are always looking to hire successful sellers to help increase their revenue. The model in which a business is working is an important consideration when hiring new people. 

Business models vary.  While some are constantly looking for new businesses, others adopt a farming role where they want to sell more within their existing customer base. Another consideration is the size of the business, whether it is a multinational brand or targeting a smaller niche. 

Hire the right behavior 

Of the three things to look for when hiring successful sellers, the first and the most difficult is the right behavior. If you are hiring a salesperson who is to make 50 calls a day, being proactive is important. 

The ideal candidate will need to be someone who can be proactive. They should be able to work without someone having to tell them to pick up the phone and make calls. This is a challenge because no matter how skilled the salesperson, if he doesn’t have the impetus to pick up the phone, smile while talking with the customers, or keep the calls energetic, then he won’t have the behavior be successful in that position. 

Most successful salespeople didn’t have this proactive spirit when they started selling. Proactiveness has to be developed over the years of working in sales. Being proactive is a core strength for sellers. It opens more doors, creates more connections, and can eventually point their customers toward the right decisions. 

At the end of the day, when you consider the sales process, regardless of the products and services you sell, it all comes down to being proactive and having the ability to go out and do what’s needed. 

Whether it’s selling knives door-to-door or selling in an enterprise, a salesperson should be able to design and execute an effective sales process by talking about the value they lend to the consumer through their products. 

As a hiring manager,  a good interview question for potential candidates will give them the opportunity to talk about an experience when they got to be proactive. New sales reps tend to go through trial and error as they gain more experience, so ask about their experiences and what they have done, not what they would do. As they answer, listen carefully as they explain the way they dealt with needing to be proactive. Their answer will help you understand how they will do things in the future.

Look for self-awareness 

There is so much opportunity that comes from being self-aware. The benefits are tied to existing behaviors as well as understanding the candidate’s skills, ambition, and attitude. 

Looking back at the successful people Brian hired in the past, he saw their high sense of self-awareness. Self-awareness is also integral to the type of model the seller is in. 

If you are hiring a salesperson for inside selling, then you might forego knowledge and go for a person who has a higher potential in selling products and services over the phone. As a sales leader, you compensate for that gap and understand that their self-awareness may not come with as much knowledge but they can be supported by the strength of available training programs that are offered to sales reps.  

To see if a candidate is self-aware, you can also ask about the issues they had with quotas and what they did to improve those results. Listen to what they tell you and tune in to the things that they did to address their challenges. When they say that they haven’t had any challenges in the past, then that can set off a big red flag. 

It’s a hard truth in sales that we don’t win all the time. Being able to overcome their issues and how they came through can shows you how self-aware they are. 

People who are self-aware typically know where they need help, they recognize where they are in a specific model and most importantly, they know if they’re ahead or behind the curve. They’ll come to a sales manager with the areas they need support based on the models that they’re in. It helps support the seller and it helps the sales leader be more focused on the areas where they need the most help.  Having a methodology, skill, and an understanding of the product is key to success. 

Considering the scale of their roles 

When hiring a salesperson to consider the scale of their role. If the person is on the enterprise level and they have a knowledge gap, that’s probably going to be an issue. However, if you hire that person knowing they are going to be part of a sales academy program, there is less worry that you’re hiring someone who doesn’t have the full skill set.  You know that it’s coming after the proper training.  

What skills the salesperson needs to have at the point of hire, depends on the role that your candidate will be playing in the company. 

There is a process that you need to follow in sales. You also have to have certain behaviors to convey that you understand what you’re selling. 

It is also equally important to have realistic expectations as a sales leader. Setting your expectations too high causes burnout for new sales reps. This won’t help them reach their goals no matter how much they produce. This isn’t setting them up for success. 

Hire people who can manage themselves 

These people are able to take a specific situation, diagnose and execute planning. No one may be getting the results they’re going for but they can assess, see the need and come up with a solution. Look for candidates who have sales goals who approach you with a plan and don’t need to be told what to do. They can work independently and just do what’s best for their career and their business. 

In the event that they didn’t reach their sales goals, they are able to self-correct and start a new plan. They don’t feel the need to go to their boss every time they have to make sales decisions. They can manage not only themselves but also their situation or their virtual account team. 

The key is understanding that no one is perfect. People are going to step up to the plate, swing, miss, strikeout, and learn what to do the next time they go to bat. 

There are different types of successful sellers out there. Even when we work on a sales team, treat your team at an individual level. Remember that every salesperson has their own environment where they succeed. When your sales team is clicking on all cylinders, it makes every quarterly business review a pleasure to sit in. 

“Things To Look For When Hiring Successful Sellers” episode resources

Connect with Billy Keels via his LinkedIn. You can also check out his site, Billykeels.com. 

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.


About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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