When you’re hiring for a new salesperson, be sure to understand the skills and qualities you’re looking for in a candidate
Craft a compelling job posting to attract the best candidates and top talent
Review applications carefully, creating a rating standard to compare candidates to your desired skills and experiences before setting up an in-depth interview
While every member of your staff plays a role in your small business’s success, building a team of effective salespeople can be integral to growing your company. After all, these client-facing employees are making sales, forming customer relationships — ideally long-term connections — and playing a part in building your brand’s reputation.
But how do you find the right candidates to fill your open sales positions? Before starting the hiring process, we’ll walk you through the qualities of a good salesperson and how to hire them.
Qualities to Look for in a Great Salesperson
Before writing a job description and launching the interview process, think about the skills you want in a sales rep or sales manager. As a business owner or hiring manager, below are some qualities you’ll want to look for when hiring the best salesperson for the job:
Good communication and interpersonal skills. Good customer service and communication are key to building relationships with clients.
Math skills. An effective salesperson needs to be able to provide accurate quotes to clients.
Tech-savvy. Beyond using email, a good salesperson needs to understand how to use your company’s computer systems and how to write quotes, invoices, and other important documents for clients.
Ability to build brand knowledge. You want to find a sales hire who’s capable of understanding your company and its services or products.
Creative problem-solving skills. Things aren’t always going to happen as planned. Salespeople who can roll with the punches and figure out problems as they arise are more likely to retain customers.
Persistence. The best salespeople have the drive and motivation to continue pursuing clients and potential sales, even when they say no or the process gets dragged out — without being too annoying, of course.
Patience. Working with customers can be difficult. Having patience when working with clients, especially the more problematic ones, helps retain their business.
Active listening skills. When a salesperson actively listens, it means they’re fully focused on clients and their concerns. It’s an excellent way to gain a customer’s trust and their business.
How to Hire a Salesperson
As you start the recruitment process, below are some tips for finding the most qualified candidates for your open sales roles.
Understand What You’re Looking For
It’s important to know what qualities you want in a salesperson before starting the hiring process. We’ve already walked through many of the key qualities and skill sets a talented salesperson should have: good communication and customer service, patience and persistence, math and computer skills, the ability to retain brand information, and more.
These (or any other requirements you have for a new hire) should be at the forefront of your mind as you grow your salesforce. If you’re not actively looking for these skills and qualities, you likely won’t find the right salespeople for your company.
Create an Effective Job Posting
One of the most critical tools you have as a hiring manager is your job posting. The job ad you craft plays an important role in finding the right sales team members and top talent to join your company. Your job posting comes down to good communication, so both you and the applicants are on the same page.
Your job listing is an opportunity to convey everything you want job seekers to know about the position, including your company’s history and mission, a job description, a list of duties and responsibilities, the minimum experience needed, and any required skills or qualities you’re looking for in the right candidate.
By explicitly communicating exactly what you’re looking for in an employee, applicants can compare their own experiences and skills to the role to see if they’d be a good fit. There’s no point in wasting anyone’s time — either yours or the applicant’s. By writing an accurate and compelling job posting, you’ll have a better chance at attracting the right candidates for the job.
Post the Job Where Your Ideal Candidates Are
Once you’ve written your job listing, advertise it where sales candidates will find it. Joblist is one of the most effective online job boards, providing job seekers with personalized job searches based on their desired field and position, location, skills, and experience. Our job board works hard to make sure only qualified candidates find your job posting.
Also, consider submitting your posting to industry-specific organizations and associations. Share your job description with current employees and ask them for referrals, as well. Since they already have an understanding of the company culture, the brand, and the position you’re hiring for, they could know candidates who might be a good fit.
Screen Applicants Thoroughly
Depending on the economy, it’s not unheard of for job openings to receive hundreds — if not thousands — of applicants. That can be overwhelming for any hiring manager. What’s the best way to thoroughly track and screen them all so the best candidates make it to the next step in the hiring process?
Before you read a single resume, create a rating system that allows you to cross-check your job description and requirements against a candidate’s sales job history and cover letter. If an applicant doesn’t obviously match what you’re looking for or contains a glaring turn-off, take them out of consideration.
Once you’ve determined which applicants meet your standards for the position, review that pile of resumes again — this time more in-depth. This includes taking a look at their writing style, formatting, any trends or patterns in their career history, as well as sales skills that jump out at you. As you read candidates’ resumes, make note of any questions you might have for them if you move them forward in the interview process.
Continue reviewing resumes until you’ve created a manageable group of candidates you’re excited about, as well as a “maybe” pile of candidates to consider further in the hiring process if you’re not wowed by anyone you’ve interviewed and a “no” pile.
Before setting up interviews, invite candidates to participate in quick phone calls to further screen applicants.
Ask Insightful Interview Questions
Once you’ve selected your top applicants, prepare your interview questions in advance. You’ll want to ask all your candidates the same questions so you can compare them. At the same time, you’ll need to be ready to follow up with questions on the spot based on their answers.
Also, be sure to ask insightful questions with depth to ensure that you’re hiring the right person. Rather than “yes” or “no” questions, ask more open-ended questions that can show a candidate’s thought and problem-solving process and give a clear picture of their track record as a salesperson.
Hire the Best Candidates
Once you’ve worked your way through the application and interview process, assess everything you’ve learned and hire salespeople who impressed you the most. Whose experience most closely aligns with what you’re looking for? Who do you think can grow and evolve with the job and your company?
Also, if you want to hire the best candidates, you’ll need to offer competitive wages, good benefits, and additional perks. You need to show sales leaders and top candidates that their talents are appreciated.
Find Top Sales Professionals on Joblist
Let Joblist connect you with the top sales professionals in your industry. Through our individualized job searches based on work experience, desired position, location, skills, and other interests, your ad will be shared with the best candidates for the job.