Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sales Manager-Are you building your A team?

Are you a sales manager and never seem to find and keep the A players? Are you being sold during the sales interview? That’s what good sales people are supposed to do; sell you on them.

As a sales manager your role is to find, keep and help your people sell. First you do a preliminary interview to establish whether the prospective rep has the attributes that you are looking for. These questions are generally about their strengths and weaknesses, functions and achievements. You now must determine if past successes will be a predictor of future successes at your company.

A sales manager must ask behavioural type questions to learn how a candidate handled certain situations. You might ask “give me an example of how you won a deal from the competition and the steps you took to succeed”. These answers should give you a lot of information about how the sales rep prospects, sales cycle, how they position their company, themselves and buying criteria of their clients.

If, as a sales manager, you are pressed for a question, ask a sales rep why he/she chose the career path that they chose or why they chose to study what they studied in school. Does that sales rep plan or fall into situations?

You also want to know a lot about their work habits. Are they morning people, do they punch the clock at 5 pm, do they return their phone calls in a timely fashion or at all?

You need to match the A player with the other A players on your team without creating a team that looks and sounds just like its manager. You should look for diversity of ideas and people but people that share your ethics and desire to win.

Happy selling

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How to handle a telephone interview

I have noticed an increasing trend with companies and that is the phone interview. The phone interview is normally done with the human resources manager to pre select those sales candidates who will meet face to face with the hiring manager.

These interviews are not to be taken lightly. I have a customer and if human resources says NO, the Sales manager will not meet the candidate. Some of these human resources managers and sales managers have developed a symbiotic relationship and HR knows who’s going to work and who is not.

The first things I advise my sales candidate is if possible do not do the call on your cell phone. They are not 100% reliable yet.

Dress professionally as if you are in a face to face interview “clothes don’t make the man” but it can influence your behaviour and tone. Try standing up-it makes you feel differently than when sitting.

If you are doing the interview from home, get someone to watch the kids.

If you are doing it from work (this does happen) do it behind closed doors.

Have your resume on hand. This will help you remember dates and details. You should prepare for this interview and take it as seriously as a face to face.

If the prospective sales position involves a lot of phone time expect they are evaluating you on how you express yourself on the phone. Does the sales candidate mumble do they project confidence; is the vocabulary professional and clear?

It will be difficult to get “buying signals” from the person interviewing you so you will need to focus on what is being said. Prepare some well thought out questions to get them to speak freely.

Your goal with a telephone interview is to get to the next step; the face to face interview.

Happy selling