You’ve been dreaming of starting your own business for years, and you’ve finally been able to take the leap. So far, you’ve found some moderate success, but you’re still a struggling startup with the same growing pains as every other new organization. So you set out to hire some sales people, with the goal of having your sales team bring in new business, that way you can focus on what you do best — your product or service. The problem here is just how tricky it is to find the right salesperson for your team. Let’s face it, a salesperson is a salesperson, so he or she is going to tell you exactly what you want to hear in any interview. It’s your job to read between those lines to find the perfect fit for your business, and product or service.
Reading the resume
Start by being very thorough when reading your potential salesperson’s resume. A lot of experience in the sales field is good, but a lot of job-hops with little time actually spent at each job is a big red flag. You’ll also want to look at the specific types of sales that person has done to make sure that their skill set will align well with your requirements. Sales can vary a great deal between different industries, so you’ll want to ensure that your new hire can bring some great skills to the table.
Ask the right questions
If the resume is a hit, the next step is to call that person in for a face to face interview. This is where you’ll want to ask some specific questions about your potential new hire’s experience, sales training and technique. Unfortunately, sales is so specific that there isn’t one list of magic questions that will work for every industry, so you’ll want to spend some time crafting your very best questions. Ask for specific examples of sales experience and technique, role play in the interview and really spend the time to dive into the person’s specific skills.
Structure pay accordingly
Once you’ve found a salesperson that you’d like to hire, you’ll want to structure compensation in a way that is heavily weighted on performance. It’s not the ideal situation for every salesperson, but a small business without a lot of capital will rely heavily on this position, and performance-based pay just makes a great deal of sense. Keep the starting salary heavy on commissions and try offering a change to salary once that salesperson is proven. A 90-day probationary period would work well to have your new hire show his or her stuff on the sales floor before you switch to a traditional salary-based pay scale.
This article was written by Deborah Flomberg of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.