Weeding Out the Worst

April 2, 2010

About the author: Carl Davidson is president of Sales And Management Solutions, Inc., a New York-based company that specialized in live and video training, coaching, recruiting and lead generation for the water equipment industry. To see a list of products and free sales training videos, visit www.carldavidson.com or call 716-580-3384.

Times have never been better for recruiting great salespeople. Unemployment is higher than it has been and that means more people are looking for fewer positions. There are great salespeople out there but you need to work smart to land the best. Here are some tips on how to find good water equipment salespeople.

A Numbers Game

Many dealers expect to interview one or two applicants and find a good salesperson. This is very unlikely to happen. You will need to interview many candidates to find a winner. Also, do not be discouraged if a salesperson you select fails to start or does not work out. It is all a numbers game, just like selling.

Many Methods

How do you find good candidates? Most good salespeople have jobs. You can meet them by asking others to tell you about a great salesperson who sold them a product. Attend sales training events. Use social websites like Twitter. Search for salespeople in your area by using www.search.twitter.com, search www.linkedin.com and other sites where professionals post information. Try free ads on www.craigslist.org and other free boards. Send a note to all your customers letting them know you are looking. If you stick to the same old sources, you will be interviewing the same old people.

Ideal Candidate

Before you run an ad or interview, make a profile of your ideal candidate based on what has been successful before. Then, you can check to see how well applicants match the profile. Your profile could include points like:

  • Previously sold in-home products;
  • Three to five years of experience;
  • Current income $50,000;
  • Some college but no degree; and
  • Likes working weekends and evenings.

The Offer

Before you run an ad or interview, be sure to work out what you are selling to the candidate. Is it just a job, or is it a stable company, great reputation, future advancement, medical benefits, paid vacations, high income and security? Think from the applicant’s standpoint. What are they looking for and what do you offer?

The Interview

Don’t just wing the interview. Prepare questions and work on your presentation as if you were selling a customer. Remember that you are selling your position and you will have to do a great presentation to land a great salesperson. Try your presentation out on relatives and friends and gauge their reactions.

Clear Goals

Each contact with the applicant should have a clear goal. For example, the goal in the first telephone interview is to excite the candidate enough to have him or her come in for an interview. Do not do the interview over the phone. It is too early in your relationship. You need to sell at this stage. If you feel the individual can sell, use the phone interview to make this candidate want your position. Then, when an applicant comes in for the interview, you can find out more about him or her.

Facing Objections

Recruiting is just like selling: you are going to face objections. If you give up at the first objection, you will fail just like you would in sales. Practice a few common objections that you get and be prepared to use them on a salesperson you think has potential. Some common objections may include:

  • I am looking for a bigger company;
  • I don’t think I’d like to sell water equipment;
  • I have a better offer from someone else; and
  • I am looking for more salary and less commission.

Be prepared to overcome these objections and more if you want to land top salespeople.

Home Demo

As the final step of the interview process, we suggest that you ask the candidate to perform a full demo at his or her home. Observe the demo carefully. Is the candidate excited about your equipment? Make sure that the candidate is comfortable with the process and understands that the position requires working evenings and Saturdays. Make sure that his family is aware of the schedule as well. If you are satisfied with the demo, get the employment agreement signed then and there and set a starting date.

Recruiting takes time and effort but nothing pays a higher yield than a good salesperson. You can make a lot from a good salesperson that sells three systems per week. Now is the time to add a few good salespeople to your team. Using the techniques outlined above will help you weed out the worst and find the best salespeople out there.

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About the Author

Carl Davidson

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