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Hire On Attitude Not Skill

| March 11, 2011 | 2 Comments

attitudeHiring the right person with the right attitude is absolutely critical when it comes to driving sales and increasing revenue. It is not something that I believe that can be learnt, it is something you are born with. Most people make the mistake of hiring sales people for their skill and not for their attitude; I know this because I used to be one of those people too.

In fact let’s do an exercise that will best illustrate for you what is most important when hiring, Attitude or Skill? Count the number each letter represents in both words and you will witness it for yourself.

So now that we have established the importance of having a great attitude; how do we determine if someone has the right attitude or not?

Now there are no right or wrong ways to measure this. I am going to share with you the method that has worked extremely well for me.

Step 1

Before you go ahead and place any more ads, call any potential sales consultants or reply to any emails; get a CHECKLIST ready.

That’s right. I am shocked as to how many companies don’t have a checklist ready of the type of sales person they are looking for. What you focus on is what you get, if you don’t know what you want you will never know when you get it. If you spend a bit of time working on your recruitment process, it will pay dividends both short and long term.

As discussed before, the checklist should be focused on Attitude rather than skill, unless your industry or job role requires the sales person to have some experience to abide by industry rules and regulations.

So go ahead now and create a checklist of the top 15 things you are looking for when hiring sales staff for your organisation, in order of importance.

Whether you are interviewing people on the phone, sending them an email or speaking to them face to face, always have your checklist in front of you so that your communication is specific to your requirements.

With this in mind, go ahead and create a set of interview questions according to the checklist. Now, in most cases, by the time you ask this set of questions, you will know whether or not you are hiring the right person, by comparing their answers with your checklist.

The problem with good sales people is they know they have options, and are always looking for the next best opportunity. To hire them is one thing, but to get them to stay within your organisation is another.

Ok, so let’s find out how!

To do this, simply go ahead and ask the consultant somewhere within your recruitment process to write down 35 reasons why they want to be a car salesperson, consultant, telemarketer, or whatever role they are in. Allow up to 15 minutes for this process alone.

I have done this exercise with thousands of sales consultants in the past couple of years. A common theme that I always come across, is that by the time they reach around the 15th reason they usually get stuck.

Why? Because the first 15 reasons are usually surface level, external reasons, which are relatively easy to communicate. By contrast, the final 15 are the core deep motivating drives for why they want to have this position.

By including this exercise in your interview process, several things could happen:

1) No Completion: The sales person fails to come up with the 35 reasons. Any time this happens alarm bells should start ringing. I have never hired someone who has not completed his or her 35 reasons.

It’s real simple: If they can’t come up with enough reasons for why they want to have this certain role then don’t want it badly enough.

2) Repeats: You will also get a lot of people who repeat their answers; they are simply trying to cheat their way through so that they can show you they really want the job. You know what they say: Once a cheater always a cheater.

c) Bad Motivation: This is found in around 20% of cases, so not many, but something to watch out for. You get some salespeople who have the wrong motivation drive for wanting the job. They say things like:

  • I want the job so I can get out of debt
  • So that I can pay the bills
  • So that I can get some experience in the work place

Stay away from salespeople like these, as they tend to crumble under pressure, and leave if the going gets tough.

d) Completion: When you get the form back and look at their reasons and see that this person has written 35 or more excluding the above pit falls; you should know that you’re onto a winner. Do everything you can to ensure that salesperson is hired and managed properly to stay long term.

This exercise is also very effective because it helps you uncover their motivation for wanting the role. This will help you ensure salespeople have the right reasons for committing to the job offer, and will remain grounded in both good and bad times.

Having the right sales staff on your team is absolutely critical to the success of your organisation; the recruitment process should never be taken lightly, nor should you leave anything to chance. You must use every angle, strategy and tool possible to detect whether or not a sales person is qualified to join your work place.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd. A Business and Sales Advisory firm partnering with Australia’s largest and fastest growing companies to further increase their revenue. Visit www.RIDC.com.au for more details)

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  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual office assistant

    Awesome post and never know that we can hire people if they write 35 reasons for a sales job. I too have started with mine so that i can see where i stand.
    Thanks for sharing these info with us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1144560010 Curtis Szajkovics

    Great post. Its alway important to remember you can teach skills, but it is really hard to teach someone an attitude!