Gathering > Giving

This statement is going to sound blunt, but gathering information is always more important than giving information in a selling process.  This truth may sound counterintuitive to the stereotypical sales process.  However, it is crucial to understand this approach. The stereotypical thought is that good talkers make good salespeople.  I hear this conventional wisdom every week when dealing with sourcing sales candidates.  It is a well-established belief and it is completely wrong.  Strong salespeople are more closely related to adroit investigators -they ask good questions, pursue the right topics, and drill down on ambiguous responses. The ability to understand this approach is to first realize who is running a qualifying… Read More

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Interviewed By A Robot

You’ve probably used the term “robot” to describe some of the people you have worked with or, in my case, some of the hiring managers with whom I interviewed over the years. But I’m not talking metaphorically now.  This BBC news article introduces (is that the right word?) us to Tengai, the job interview robot. Here is Tengai: If Tengai is here, surely our robot overlords are not far off in the future.  Can you imagine interacting with that robot on a serious job interview?  The European company that has created Tengai explains their thoughts on the robot’s interactions: The firm has spent the past four years building a human-like… Read More

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Creeping Mediocrity In Your Hiring Process

Past behaviors are the best indicator of future success. This point is crucial when hiring salespeople for your team.  The difficulty lies in deducing if the candidate has the right set of skills to be successful in your specific sale. Here’s the ugly truth – “bad” salespeople can still have good interpersonal skills…skills good enough to get past your hiring process. Every sales leader, and I mean every, has a sales hiring horror story.  The sales leader thought they were hiring a superstar and they ended up with a dud.  These fantastic flame-outs are memorable and disappointing for sure.  But there is a more odious error that eats away at… Read More

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4 Pillars Of Successful Sales Selection

Successful sales hiring, in any company, is one of the most difficult tasks in which to achieve repeatable success.  From unexpected outbursts to terminal tardiness to woeful incompetence, every company has a sales hiring horror story regarding employees who interviewed strong but performed poorly. Perhaps a subtle, but more dangerous occurrence is the all-too-common hire who performs their job in the gray twilight of mediocrity.  They never rise to the occasion and they never catastrophically fail.  They interviewed well but now simply perform their role in a nondescript manner within the company. Amass too many of these employees and your company will be overwhelmed with mediocrity…or worse.  How do you… Read More

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Reading Microexpressions A Key To Sales?

In a word…yes. We spend a fair amount of time working with salespeople to access their empathy and read the prospect in a qualifying situation.  This ability is one of the keys to all successful selling. This article from Harvard Business Review provides a thorough breakdown of this topic.  A first pull quote from the article: In my work as a body language researcher and instructor, I’ve long theorized that one of the key differences between exceptional negotiators or salespeople and those who are merely average is the ability to read these microexpressions, gauge visceral reactions to ideas or proposals, then strategically steer them toward a preferred outcome. And why… Read More

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The Most Important Trait In An Interview

Trustworthiness.  It is true.  I have sat through many interviews where I simply did not trust, or believe, what the candidate was telling me.  The Harvard Business Review tip of the day quickly dissects this point. The most important thing to get across in an interview is not that you are smart and motivated – it’s that you are trustworthy. Trustworthiness is the fundamental trait that people automatically look for in others. To be seen as trustworthy, you need to demonstrate warmth and competence. Warmth signals that you have good intentions, and competence signals that you can act on those good intentions. If you follow the usual interview advice and… Read More

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Hiring What You Need To Know

Experience is a tricky component to successful sales hiring in that it is often overvalued.  Don’t get me wrong, it is important, but you never want to overvalue it.  The reason is that you can teach new salespeople about your product or service a lot easier than you can teach them how to sell.  A sports analogy (I know, often overused) – it is far easier to teach a football wide receiver what routes to run in your offense than it is to teach them how to run a 4.3 40 yard dash.  Some will simply never run a 4.3.  This is why talent is far more valuable to successful… Read More

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Interview Question Psychosis

Let me be honest, I have sat in on some interviews that were borderline psychotic.  Questions from left field, overt anger and emotions, lying responses that were easily observed…and those were the good ones.  In all seriousness, interviewing is difficult and being a good interviewer is even more challenging.  Most managers do not spend their time honing their interview skills.  This fact often leads to bizarre questions.  It also leads to bizarre question patterns. Every year there seems to be a list of the oddest interview questions from the year – it is a guilty pleasure of mine to read them.  Perhaps you would enjoy the list also?  To whet… Read More

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3 Years And A Cloud Of Dust

My apologies for co-opting Woody Hayes’ saying, but I am from Ann Arbor and couldn’t stand the guy anyway.  I’m wondering what the Great Recession is going to do to resumes.  What I mean is this – many people have shortened tenures nowadays (especially Gen Y).  3 years is turning into a fairly good tenure for a worker. This recession has cost millions of people their jobs.  Some will have to start their work career over, essentially taking a “lesser” job and working their way up all over again.  In many instances, they will have to jump from job to job to keep moving up during their now condensed work… Read More

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Introverts Make Great Salespeople

You heard me right, that is an indirect quote from this Inc.com article.  This topic comes up often in our sales hiring activities as the conventional wisdom is that extroverts make better salespeople.  Not true.  Successful salespeople have a wide variety of abilities that go far beyond their communication style.  And that is the point here, introvert/extrovert is more of a communication style than anything else.  It is important to know a salesperson’s style, but it is not predictive of sales success. Here is some excellent advice from the article (emphasis mine): “When selling as an introvert, use your abilities as a good researcher to really know audience, know what… Read More

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