Good salespeople are essential to any business, however they appear to be few and far between. Recent research by Cranfield Management School suggests that a massive 90% of sales staff have difficulties creating an effective pitch.
“Top quality salespeople are focused. They know how to identify and target potential customers effectively, whilst understanding which customers will have the authority, money, and need to buy the product from them” says David Thorp, director of research and professional development for the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
They can also create strong relations with customers, a key component to having good customer retention. Having good staff is something that is worth investing good time and money into, as they are invaluable and can add a great deal to your organisation’s bottom line, rather than poor sales staff who can cause more harm than help.
What skills and qualities should you look for?
There are a number of common qualities to look for in good sales staff. It is essential that they have tons of enthusiasm along with an incredibly positive and upbeat outlook, “the glass must always be half full” stresses Thorp.
You want someone who is immediately likeable, adept at building relationships and bringing people round to their way of thinking. They also need to be good at problem solving, able to listen to the client’s needs and address them accordingly.
You want to avoid someone who’s too pushy, doesn’t match clients to the correct product or service, or does not look further ahead than that one sale.
It is crucial that any and all new recruits understand your specific sales strategy, for example someone who excels at single sales may not necessarily have the skills needed to build long-term relationships with valued clients.
Having good sector knowledge and business contacts are also important, as these will allow any new recruit to confidently move into their new role.
Choosing your salesperson
“A good place to start is to ask members of your existing team if they know any potential recruits, but you can also look using a combination of newspapers, trade magazines, specialist recruitment agencies and websites” advises Thorp.
However, it is not recommended you approach potential recruits working for clients or suppliers, as this could easily damage your business relationships. Stealing staff from your competitors may seem a good move, but is likely to also affect your business’s reputation.
When placing job adverts or going through a recruitment agency, be clear about what skills, qualities and experience you’re after. A good applicant will be willing to take the time to show you how their abilities can match directly to your requirements.
Any good salesperson should be able to present themselves well, if your first impression of someone at the interview is that you don’t like them, then there’s a high chance the customers won’t either.
But you’ll need more than one way to sort the good from the bad. Look for a track record, and use an interview format that allows you to check if they have a real grasp on the sales process.
It’s important to remember that having good sales staff won’t only improve your business in terms of sales, but it will also create a much more cost effective business.
If you would like help with your recruitment process, please contact HR Service Centre on 0845 606 9640 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org