Continued Q&A from our March 2014 Webinar

We will now continue to address the questions that we were not able to answer during our most recent home improvement webinar. The first question is actually a combination of three separate questions that we received from listeners.

Q: Are some personality types better suited for sales than others? How do you know someone is not overselling (or underselling) themselves? Is there a concrete type of test which can be administered to applicants?

A: All of these questions examine the same dilemma. The underlying genesis of which is “How do I find a superstar salesperson”.  This is like asking how do you achieve “instant success”. What you need to look for is those who qualify to perform the sales role for you, and then through training within your organization teach them skill sets which they don’t have at the moment.

However, some personality types are indeed better suited for this role. Those who enjoy and are able to interact favorably with strangers, at the same time are teachable and fit the job better. The problem is, that during interviews the proper behaviors are not always on display.  This is what we refer to as a “mask”. Most people have experienced mis-hires because they are misled by what they feel are great sales skills, when in fact it may be someone who simply likes to talk. This brings us to the third question regarding concrete tests or evaluations.

Tests are complicated and they are often criticized by state laws which claim they are used as a means to justifiably not hire someone because of age, gender, or race. For the past 35 years we have elected to use a behavioral profile which is self administered (takes about 8-10 minutes to complete on a computer), and helps us to identify the behavior we can anticipate from a new hire. This format produces a 23 page document which analyzes the most common behavior of the individual, the behavior changes which they undergo under extreme stress, and the issues of their behavior which they mask. It is based on the DISC system, and it empowers small business owners to acquire information which in turn helps them to:

  • Decide to hire someone who has the potential and behavior pattern to succeed in the sales role of the company
  • Avoid hiring those who do not have the skill sets or the behavior to meet the needs of the job
  • Aid owners and managers in terminating salespeople with insufficient skills or those who do not fit the organization or marketing style of their company
  • Aid owners and managers in avoiding rushing to rapid judgments, where they often miss applicants who have a strong chance to succeed.

There are four dominant profiles which we recommend for hiring, and one which often tricks interviewers into believing that they are a “born salesperson”, when in fact, they will not ask for the order. There are also other profiles in the mix that are extraordinary fits for different job roles within your company (administrative, marketing, management, etc.)

Q: Many people in the industry purely pay commission and traveling expenses to their reps.  Where do I find these types of people?

A: You did leave out one form of quasi compensation. This industry as an average spends up to $300 to issue a lead. These leads come from all forms of advertising: shows, events, internet marketing, canvassing, etc. – – and by the time these are watered down to an actual appointment for the salesperson, the cost is around $300. It is not uncommon for organizations to issue six leads per week to their salespeople ($1,800). Over a period of four weeks that’s $7,200. Over the course of a year it’s roughly $85,000. That’s what companies are investing in salespeople today. You can add to it the cost of training and other in house expenses that go with payroll.

Some companies offer their reps basic training expenses. A few offer upwards of $500 a week for two weeks of training.  But the truth is, skilled salespeople would prefer an incentive system which enables them to become high earners.

Regardless of whether you were able to attend our last webinar – – you will not want to miss the next webinar because it will address many of your questions that we still have not answered.

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