How Understanding Watermelons Can Help You Select Better Salespeople

Recently I visited an old friend and business colleague who taught me the right way to do something I've been doing wrong for a very long time: selecting the sweetest and perfectly ripe watermelon. I love watermelon, especially in the summer. And I often come away from the market with what appears to be the perfect watermelon, only to be disappointed by its mushy texture and its lackluster sweetness.

When you buy as many watermelons as I do, this becomes a real problem because it takes work to select them, carry them home, prepare them, and store them. Don't get me wrong. When I get a great watermelon, it's worth all the work. But when I don't, which had been more often than I care to admit, it's a real pain. So I was happy to get a lesson in the proper selection of this delectable fruit, which is a staple in my refrigerator. 

I was also pleased to know I was doing a few things correctly, although I am ashamed to admit that I had no idea why I was doing some of them.

Many of the clients we help with sales selection tell us they feel this way after we help them strengthen their selection process. They also feel the same way I did about getting it wrong. It's painful! And, unlike watermelons which are pretty cheap, getting sales selection wrong is expensive too.

I was also pleased to know I was doing a few things correctly, although I am ashamed to admit that I had no idea why I was doing some of them.
Here are some of the lessons I learned that apply pretty well to sales selection.

1) Uniformity. The best watermelons are uniform in their shape. Similarly, each of the sales roles in your company requires uniformity in role performance, skills, DNA, and competencies. Do you know what combination creates the best salesperson for your specific roles?

2) Weight. The heavier the watermelon, the riper and delicious it is. We weigh sales candidates on a scale that measures their ability to perform their sales role called Sales Quotient™. The higher the Sales Quotient™, the better the salesperson will perform.

3) Field Spot. While this one was embarrassing to me, it also made me even more passionate about helping our clients avoid the trap of choosing salespeople based on how great they look on the outside. You see, the best watermelons aren't always the best-looking watermelons. The same goes for salespeople. I was guilting of choosing the greenest and shiniest watermelons I could find. Some of them tasted okay but, most of the time, I was disappointed. Now I choose watermelons with the brownish-yellow spot on them because they have been allowed to ripen. Field spot your sales candidates to know they have what they need to have on the inside.

4) The Knock Test. I knocked and knocked and knocked. I had absolutely no idea why I was knocking! Learn how to apply the knock test to sales selection by understanding the criteria you need for each sales role. Then use it to knock out candidates who don't qualify in every stage of your process. The key here is to make sure your process only knocks out the salespeople who can't do the job. Most companies lose more good candidates in their process and end up choosing from a pool of less qualified to unqualified candidates because they knocked out candidates for the wrong reasons.

A full 90% of hiring decisions are made from the interview. The big issue there is that traditional interviewing is only 14% accurate when hiring for sales. That means you're picking the wrong candidate 86% percent of the time when you hire the traditional way.

"Salespeople are different from every other role in your business so if you use the same interviewing methodologies you do to hire every other function in your company you are going to get it wrong."

And according to the data, you will get it wrong 86% of the time. 

If you don't have a scientifically accurate and predictive way to select sales winners for your company, then you are doing what I did with watermelons and getting duds.

Here's how to know if what you are doing is not working well enough:

Your salespeople frequently miss their targets

Your sales managers are still selling to "fill in the gaps" (selling is not managing)

You don't have enough "A" players

Your recruiting process brings in too many of the wrong candidates

Recruiting takes up too much time - yours and your team

You have too much turnover

You have too little turnover (yes, this is a problem)

You wish you could find more candidates like (fill in the blank)

I hope this has helped you choose better salespeople and better watermelons. If you liked the article, I invite you to comment below and share it with others.

If you want a simple and cost-effective way to fix your sales hiring problems and select better salespeople, click here.

If you'd like to learn more about how we help CEOs grow revenue exponentially, schedule a Quick Chat with one of our associates. Heck, I'll even send you a couple of my favorite watermelon recipes!

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 how we help CEOs significantly grow revenue, click here. If you'd like to connect on Linkedin, please send me an invitation.

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