Building the best sales team can be a challenging task for any sales leader or sales manager. Finding the right kinds of sales people is more important than simply finding sales people.
The purpose of this post is to share some best practices and questions for sales interviewing. Additionally, you can take these sales interview questions and convert them into sales training topics for your existing sales team.
While trying to build the ideal sales team for your company, you should keep in mind the Five Cs.
Making cold calls, opening yourself to rejection, facing deadlines and closing deals can be a scary process. Thus, the most courageous thing a salesperson can do is learn to be honest with a prospect.
As I have already mentioned in previous articles, building genuine relationships based on mutual respect with a prospect is crucial. The best sales team understands its ability to be candid and open. Even when their viewpoints are different, this will help them win more deals.
If you want to test the courage of your tentative sales team members, you can ask the following questions:
- What would you do if your boss asked you to do something you know isn’t in the best interest of a deal?
- Can you share an experience where you had to stand up to someone who probably had some level of authority higher than yours?
- Can you tell me about a time when you walked away from a deal because you knew it was not a good deal for yourself or your company?
Two ways to win
Remember, there are two ways to win as a sales person in each deal. One is closing the deal, of course that’s a big win. The other way to win more deals in sales is to know when to walk away.
The win here is that you realize this is not a customer you or the company wants. Also, it’s a win because it allows a sales rep to focus on the better deal in their pipeline that are the right customers.
This is not always easy to do, and it does take courage. Now, some people will fake courage. This is often phrased as “fake it til you make it,” but what does that really mean?
Let’s explore that topic more in our 2nd C.
When I talk about confidence, I do not mean a “I know it all” attitude. In sales, true confidence is:
- identifying your own value,
- identifying the value of your product or service and
- communicating that to your prospects and customers without sounding arrogant or condescending.
In other words, confidence in sales is about being totally honest with your customers and trusting your own abilities. This will strengthen not only your sales performance, but also your team.
Moreover, this will help your prospects and customers “fall in trust” with you as a human and resource they want to work with. You can test the confidence of your sales team with the following questions:
- When was the last time you pushed yourself outside your comfort zone?
- How many times does it take you to do something new to feel confident about it? Can you provide an example?
- What is one thing you are most confident about in your life? When did you reach this level of confidence?
The best sales team is open to be coached. Coaching is a tool that every sales manager should always have in their tool box, and coachability is a quality every salesperson should possess.
A true salesperson feels fortunate there are others willing to help them improve, and comfortable relinquishing control and allowing others to guide them. Part of the problem with coaching isn’t the inability of the sales rep to be coached, but the lack of coaching ability by the manager.
If that is the case, the best thing to do is take your sales management and coaching skills to the next level with training based on data-driven and results oriented coaching.
Staying focused is one of the hardest things in sales. People are not going to feel the same each and every day. Things big and small affect us in ways we can understand, and ways we cannot.
Maintaining consistency in your work ethic, in your sales tactics, and your sales process is one of the biggest challenges people face. The key to consistency is to figure out how to deliver the same performance every day, regardless of how you’re feeling.
This is where the value of sales scripts are the most helpful. And remember, when we say sales script we understand there is a difference between following a sales script as a best practice, and sounding scripted.
Nobody should ever sound scripted. Authenticity of the sales rep is critical to their success. Improve your team’s consistency by asking these questions:
- What is one of your favorite regular routines you follow?
- Have you ever changed a regular or routine process in an effort to make it better? How did you like the results of the change?
Remember that salespeople are not problem solvers but change agents. Every member of your team must listen to other people’s problems and try to understand their pain to provide guidance on a different and better way of doing things. This is what is meant by empathy in sales.
Salespeople need to go beyond empathy and have compassion. The best sales team should truly listen to a prospect complaining about, say, their unintuitive CRM, and focus on the more human element behind this grievance.
Decisions are based on emotions, and when we spend time listening to how someone feels about a situation, that is true compassion and empathy. It then allows for a more meaningful, direct, open, and honest conversation between the salesperson and the prospect or customer.
Salespeople who have compassion can understand the problems behind the problems, which enables them to relate to prospects on a deep level and build a valuable rapport. When considering who to hire or which company to choose in your job search, it’s easy to fall back on resumes, metrics, and standard bullshit interview questions.
However, try to look at the person. Get into their psyche. Dig into their soul and inner being. Do they seem courageous? Confident? Do you think they will help you and your organization? Will they help your career and personal brand grow?
Do they view coaching as a privilege or a burden? Will they be able to do what it takes to remain consistent day in and day out? Do they practice compassion? Look for well-rounded and eager to learn candidates and build a successful sales team.
Still unsure how to build a great sales team? I am always open to a free “pick your brain” conversation. I won’t charge you to chat for a few minutes to bounce ideas, here’s my legit cell phone, 415.596.9149, text me quickly first so I know it’s not a spam call.
For additional insights and expert guidance on SKO planning, consider visiting The Harris Consulting Group.