How do You Tell The Difference Between a Great Seller And a Dud at Interview?

Why is it that when you hire a top seller from another company they sometimes just dont do the same thing in your organisation? This is an important topic in sales management training courses as learning spot a real top seller can have a massive impact on your team. I always like to start by asking the candidate who their biggest 5 clients are. Then find out a little more about those accounts:

Which of those accounts did you acquire as new business and which ones did you inherit?

How did you first acquire those leads?

Who else in your organisation was involved in closing the deal? What role did they play?

So, why are these questions key? Over the years I have profiled certain types of top seller that just dont deliver. Even though the figures they quote at interview can be verified by reference they just cant replicate it and here is why:

The Silver Spoon. This candidate can quote you some amazing results at interview, it looks even better when you call to check the figures and it checks out. If you dont ask though, you will never know they they inherited an amazing area. Not as much of that business came from new business as you might have thought, actually they are an order taker. Are you planning on handing them a territory with plenty of warm leads and existing accounts, if not they are going to struggle. If you find that their top 5 clients have been inherited you might be looking at one of these top seller disappointments.

The Percentage Man. This candidate also comes across really well at interview. The big figures sound great, but actually they have only made a percentage of what they should have with the territory they were working. This candidate delivers a percentage of the potential for their current employer and they will do the same for you. Plenty of company leads and orders from existing customers have made this seller look better than they are. You will spot a percentage man when you ask where his leads came from. If there are a lot of referrals and company leads you should be wary.

The Wing Man. The wing man can find leads, there is no doubt of that. The trouble is they cant close them, their sales manager has to do that. In their current job their sales manager tends to hand them back the account to take the orders. So they get the credit for the sale and they have a great sounding client list, but are you able to do the same thing for them? If not then they arent going to deliver. Make sure you pay attention to those who were involved in closing their big clients, if you hear their sales manager mentioned a lot then this top seller is actually a wingman to the real seller.

Finding the right candidate can make your life as a sales manager so much easier, you dont need a team member that you will need to carry.