How to Hire the Perfect Sales Representative

Last week I had a conversation with a colleague who asked for my help in hiring a new sales representative. She’s looking for an inside sales representative whose sole function would be to set appointments.

I’m not a recruiter and I’m not a human resources expert. One thing I do know, however, is that inside sales representatives need to sound good on the telephone. I told my colleague the same thing that I tell all of my clients – – and now I’d like to share that advice with you.

I’ve seen too many of my clients spend far too much time going through resumes and interviewing inappropriate people. Don’t get me wrong, resumes can be an excellent screening tool, but above all, inside sales representatives need to sound good on the telephone. They also need to be coherent and engaging. In addition, you want to hire someone that can follow directions.

Here was my advice to my colleague: When you place your ad, rather than having applicants respond with a resume, have them respond to a dedicated voice mail. Setup a voice mail line that will not be answered, but that will simply record these responses. Make sure that applicants have several minutes in which they can leave their message. Ask them to leave their contact information, what made them respond to the ad and a sentence or two about themselves.

You are looking for the applicants who: 1.) Sound engaging, 2.) Can leave a coherent message and 3.) Can follow directions. Delete any messages from candidates who do not sound good to you and/or who are not following the directions or leaving a coherent message.

[Note to sales representatives who find themselves responding to a voice mail: Take time to figure out your message before you leave it. This could be your only/last chance at this opportunity.]

If you find some candidates who are engaging on the telephone, can leave coherent messages and who can follow directions, even if they don’t have a lot of experience you can train them to schedule appointments. It is much easier to train someone to schedule appointments than it is to train someone to be engaging, coherent and follow directions.

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