Be a Contender ~ Get Hired for the Sales Job You Want
by Ken Schmitt and Vicky Willenberg
The pressure is on for Sales Managers to hit a home run when building their sales force.
The cost of hiring (or making the wrong hire) and the fact that 25-40% of Sales Professionals leave within the first 18 months of coming on board, makes the right hire even more essential.
While “culture fit” and “likability” continue to play an important role in the hiring process, technology has transformed the profession and the buyer-seller relationship. To survive in this ever-changing environment, sales professionals need a competitive set of skills, including being adept in understanding specialized data and analytical tasks. More than ever before, hiring managers want Super Star Sales Professionals who stand out and deliver.
Sales Skills Hiring Managers are Looking for…
Hunter Mentality with Farmer Patience
Hiring managers hire salespeople willing to do the work to source new customers and wade through leads identifying the “easy sell” vs a “tough sell”. Relying on connections and referrals is no longer enough. The most successful Sales professionals hunt for new clients and know how foster long-term customer relationships with their customers.
No sale is complete until the follow up strategy is set in motion. Thanks to advancements in sales automation, developing the strategy is much simpler than it has been in the past. Long term nurture, up-selling, and referral campaigns are automatically built into your automated sales funnel. Hiring managers are looking for candidates with the discipline to follow the funnel to completion.
Strong sales professionals know how to stay on their prospects’ radars. When clients go radio silent, it’s best to approach them with a reminder of the timeline they gaveyou when you began working together. Show them you are conscious of their growth goals and timelines to gently bring the plan back to the top of their To Do list. Sales Super Stars know when to politely push-back. There is a difference between picky and unrealistic. Tell prospects you have ‘feet on the ground’ and the advice you give is based on real-time market intel. It should be trusted and followed.
People Skills & Empathy
Just because someone is a ‘born salesman’ doesn’t mean he or she is a good salesperson. Top notch sales professionals relate to their prospects. The key: be a better listener than talker. Recognizing where the client is in the decision-making process and meeting them at that place will move the deal forward. Overselling to a nervous or undecided prospect gets you nothing but a probable cancellation down the line. First and foremost, ask questions — diving deeper into the company’s structure, path, growth plans, sales team structure and how leads are generated. Their answers give a clear picture of where they are in the buying cycle and drives the direction of your pitch. Take detailed notes to insure you are hearing and what they are saying (or think they are saying) and are on the same page.
Product & Service Knowledge
It is a given that a successful salesperson must know their product/service inside and out. More than that, though, they must be able to provide tangible proof that they are worth the client’s time and money. Showcasing your unique value proposition with customer feedback, analytics, and success stories goes a long way. Customers may say you are the most expensive choice. Demonstrate you have the best service and they will get the personal hands-on attention they want, they will tell you this while signing on the dotted line. Listen to their needs and present achievable solutions which prove they are getting what they pay for.
Sales professionals are expected to have a strong work ethic and a go-getter attitude. A trait often overlooked but even more essential to getting the job you want is grit. Grit is “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” according to Angela Lee Duckworth, and means the difference between success and failure for anyone from 5 to 55. Watch to learn more.
The cost of hiring and the complexity of the sales profession continue to rise, making it imperative hiring managers hit a home run with each new hire. Hiring the right sales person is critical and one of the greatest challenges for today’s Sales Manager.
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About the Authors