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When interviewing candidates for sales, it’s important you’re asking the right questions. Your interview process should identify strengths, weaknesses, preferences and goals so you can staff your organization with the best-fitting sales reps.

Sales skills

These questions help you evaluate how adept your candidate is at selling a product and closing a deal. An ideal candidate should be able to stay up to date with the market, so ask whether they read relevant trade magazines, blogs or regularly checks in with appropriate social media.

You might ask what are three adjectives a former client would use to describe them. Listen for words that indicate helpfulness and their ability to nurture a customer relationship.

Ask how much time they typically spend cultivating those relationships versus hunting for new clients. They should be doing both. Ask how they research prospects before a call to make sure they look for personal commonalities and professional information so they can customize each call.

Inquire about what they think your sales team could do better and what they would do in their first month there. They should demonstrate that they’ve done research, and can think creatively and entrepreneurially.

Situations

These questions should hint at their experience, their persistence and their resilience. Ask how they handle objections and when they stop pursuing a client. The more tenacious and persistent, the better! But they also need to be sensitive to relationships and wearing out their welcome. Six to eight attempts is probably a good target.

Find out about a deal they’ve lost or a losing streak. Could they turn it around and persevere? Can they smile through rejection and bounce back? Ask what they’ve learned from past successes and failures.

Suitability and motivation

Ask questions that can elicit clues about whether they’ll fit into your company culture. For example, do you prioritize making quota every single month or having happy customers? Ask about their thoughts about collaborating with other members of the sales team. Even if your company doesn’t do that, you don’t want to hire someone who’s unwilling to cooperate with others.

Find out what their favorite and least favorite parts of the sales process are. This might hint at strengths and weaknesses, but should also be an opportunity to make sure their process aligns with yours.

Inquire about their motivations and career goals. Why are they in sales? You want to identify a candidate who’s a self-starter and a life-long learner, looking to develop their skills and grow their career.

For more tips on how to pull out the best salespeople in your interview process, contact us today.


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