by Pam Lontos
As a top salesperson, why does Mary have at least four times more customers than any other salesperson?
As a woman executive, how do you find top-billers like Mary, who will make you and your company a lot of money? Follow these techniques:
- Run an ad in the newspaper that scares away non-assertive people and attracts those who want to make money.
- Don’t rely on resumes. The person who cannot sell may write a beautiful sounding resume. A good salesperson usually sells herself so well that she can get the job without a resume.
- Take interview calls yourself, and listen for energy in their voices. Do they sound like people you would want to meet and spend time with? If not, neither will your customers.
- Don’t offer them an interview while they are on the phone. Wait and see if they ask for one. If they don’t, they won’t be asking for the order, either.
- Tell them that you’re busy and need them to call back. If they don’t call back or call back late, you found out how they will treat your customers.
- Ask questions that require them to sell, such as “What do you say when the customer tells you they’ll think about it?” or “I want a discount.” When you ask only broad questions such as, “What are your goals?” candidates who can’t sell might sound great by saying, “I want to be your top-biller,” or “I love calling on new accounts.” They know just what to say to get the job but not what to do afterwards.
- Tell them you will get back with them in a few weeks after all your other interviews. Look for someone who will say, “Wait. You don’t need to interview anyone else. I’m the person you need.” This is a closer. If they don’t do this, you at least want someone who will call you back and ask for the job. If they wait for you to get back with them, they will do this with the customers who say, “Let me think about it and call you.”
- Continually interview applicants even when you don’t have an opening. Hiring under desperate conditions often leads to settling for less than the best. On-going recruiting enables you to have several good applicants to call if a vacancy occurs.
- Don’t make previous industry experience a prerequisite. Often someone from your industry will show you that they were a top biller. You hire them and then have to fire them several months later because they couldn’t bring in any new business. They did not have good sales ability, only a good account list. I once hired a woman with no sales experience who was given a list of the other salesperson’s castoffs. In less than six months she was the top-biller. When she was asked how she did it, she replied, “Pam gave me a good list.”
- Look for people with good people skills. It is easier to teach about your industry than it is to change a personality. Good people skills with some sales training will produce a super star for you.
- Go on your “gut” feelings after all the above evaluations check out. If you like being with, and talking with, the person, so will your customers. People buy from people they like. Don’t dismiss nervousness just because they are on an interview. Remember, a tough customer is more difficult than an interview.
- Ask a lot of questions and look for relaxed and quick replies. You need someone who can think quickly on their feet when the customer suddenly throws them an objection.
- Make sure they listen well and don’t talk too much. Good salespeople ask a lot of questions and then listen. They can then use what they found out about the customer to sell him. They should be doing this with you on the interview.Copyright © 1997 by Pam Lontos. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.With 25 years experience in sales and sales management, Pam Lontos rose from selling health club memberships to Vice President of Disney Broadcasting, where she increased sales 500% in one year. Today, Pam combines her experience with a creative approach to sales training and motivation which consistently produces measurable and dramatic results for her clients. You can contact Pam at:
Lontos Sales & Motivation, Inc.
P.O. Box 617553
Orlando, FL 32861