Hiring A New Salesperson? Try Before You Buy

Recruiting, interviewing, and selecting a new salesperson is a very tiring and stressful responsibility. There is a lot riding on this position and if you don’t get it right, you lose a significant amount of time and money. Your strategic plans depend on you getting the right person on your sales team, but you’ve done this before and it didn’t go so well. Salespeople, as you would expect, are very good at knowing how to say the right thing in a job interview and when you’re ready to make your decision, there is always that inner voice telling you, “Self, this is going to be a gamble.” But you’re tired of gambling. The resume appears solid and the references check out and although that is promising, it in no way guarantees success. Well, what if I told you that there is a risk-free way to try-before-you-buy every single sales candidate? 

Most job interviews are structured by employers to learn about what a candidate has done in order to forecast a probability of what their potential is. This standard method is effective up to a point. That’s why employers developed skills tests and assessments for candidates before they make them an offer. In sales, the preferred tool is the personality test. We could argue how effective a personality test is for discovering the right candidate to be on your team, but the most simple and cost-effective way to actually evaluate your candidate is roleplaying with them. Roleplaying is great because it demonstrates in real-time how salespeople perform on their feet as well as the level of sales skills they possess. Best of all, it’s not that difficult to determine how well they have done based simply on your impression. Why? Because you will know instantly the impression the candidate will make on your prospects and customers by the impression they make on you in simulated sales scenarios. Here are the 5 scenarios to roleplay with your sales candidate so you can try em’ before you buy em’.


Getting the meeting – One of the biggest aspects of sales is getting meetings with new potential clients. Have the candidate cold call you to tell you about their product or service and persuade you to have a meeting with them. It may be best for the candidate to pick a product or service they have sold before so they can focus on technique instead of product knowledge. 


Present the product/service – Have the candidate again pick a product or service they are comfortable with and have them spend 3 – 5 minutes discussing the it with you as a potential customer. This should be less about features and benefits selling and more on their presentation skills.


Getting the commitment – We’re not ready to close the deal yet. Get the candidate to persuade you as a potential customer to take to next step in the buying process. This could be scheduling a follow-up meeting, requesting documents, requesting another decision-maker, etc.


Managing an objection  – This is the most crucial scenario to roleplay with a sales candidate. Sales objections are a constant reality and you need to see how the candidate can work through the problem. The candidate doesn’t have to be perfect, but how do they respond to pressure and confrontation? Three objections to roleplay are 1) I think your price is too high, 2)I am happy with my current vendor, & 3) I’d just like to think it over.

Closing the deal – It is critical that this candidate knows how to ask for the sale. It is surprising how often this technique is blown off; especially in interviews. Does that candidate come across as comfortable and confident or is she at a loss for words? This will help you to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

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