A CEO who was attending one of our Leadership Events came up to me at a break to ask a question. We got to talking and I reached for my water glass. He asked me if I knew what was in the water I was drinking. I asked him what he meant and he proceeded to tell me about how he and his wife had spent the last 30 days researching water filters for their new home. He told me how each one filtered out some of the bad stuff and that what surprised him most was that some filters actually added different bad stuff from the bad stuff they were ostensibly filtering out of the water. Yikes! They finally settled on one they were comfortable with and now he was on a mission to make sure he always had good water to drink. He had my attention. I set my water aside and asked him for the names of the highest quality bottled waters and made a mental note to request them for future events.
Then I asked him if he knew what the quality of his sales hiring filtering system was and if he was certain that it was delivering the highest quality sales hires. His eyes grew wide and he said he'd never really thought about sales hiring like that. So I asked him if he wanted to give it some thought and speak to me about it at the next break over lunch. I knew that fixing his sales hiring was one of the top items on his agenda, and he said that he'd welcome the chance to discuss it with me.
We had a lively discussion and I began to think about the similarities between hiring effective, high-quality salespeople and finding high-quality water to drink. Here are some of those thoughts.
Where water comes from determines the mineral content, quality, and taste of the water. You won't find Artesian Spring Water flowing from your tap. The same is true for sourcing salespeople. Good, well-matched, and high-quality sales candidates are not going to flow into your pipeline without an understanding of what a high-quality well-matched candidate is for you. And that matters to your sales hiring success. Just ask a doughnut maker or a pizzeria what makes their deliverables irresistible to customers, and listen to what they say about the water.
Choose Your Filters Wisely
A good water filter will remove contaminants and chemicals like chlorine and fluoride from your water. The better the filter, the fewer the contaminants left for you to drink. Your sales hiring filter should work the same way, removing any applicants with too many issues from your funnel before you even touch them. A good sales-specific assessment (we recommend this one) will tell you which candidates have the fewest and most easily corrected sales issues.
Some companies randomly select candidates they think will be good hires and then only assess their favorites of that bunch. If you did this with your drinking water you'd be drinking hundreds of gallons of bad water before you filtered any at all. Randomly selecting sales candidates to screen is harmful to your process because it discards potentially good candidates from your pipeline. It's also wasteful because really good sales candidates are as hard to come by as water is. (Request the data on effective salespeople here) And the EEOC hates it when employers impose random selection criteria so make sure everyone jumps through the same hoops.
Conduct a Taste Test
Now that you have filtered the best candidates through your hiring funnel, you are ready to meet them, first over the phone and then in person. Each candidate should be able to stand up to your challenging questions and be able to verify the claims they make on their resume.
Once you filter down to the final ideal candidates, choose the one that will work best in your culture and will quench your thirst for revenue and profits.
If you liked the article, I invite you to share it. If you want a simple and cost-effective way to fix your sales hiring problems and select better salespeople, click here.
I help CEOs, presidents, and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. In addition to providing tools, and strategies, and consulting for growth, my company, Align Strategic, also recruits sales and sales leadership talent with guaranteed results. If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it. If you'd like to learn more about sales selection, click here. If you'd like to connect on Linkedin, please send me an invitation.
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