Every small business owner reaches the point where it’s detrimental to the business (and to your health) to do everything by yourself. One of the primary areas where most entrepreneurs need help is in the sales department. I know it can be scary handing the sales reins over to a stranger, but how will your business ever grow if you don’t delegate?
The key is finding the right person for your business. Here are six things to look for when hiring a salesperson:
1. Good listener. Great salespeople are great listeners and sell more by talking less. In the interview, is the candidate listening to what you have to say or does he like to hear himself talk?
2. Real deal. Thinking on your feet is a useful trait but not if it means faking it. Customers value authenticity and honesty, so look for a salesperson who’s genuine and would rather admit she doesn’t know something than make something up.
3. Research skills. Provide candidates with a few facts on who they are selling to and see how much can they find out about the company they’re calling on. Make a small project part of the final interview process.
4. Knows the competition. A good candidate will come to the interview knowledgeable about your business and your competition. You want the person working for you to know what he is up against at all times.
5. Street smart and book smart. You want a salesperson who can talk on any topic and is well-read about current events and especially about your industry.
6. Trustworthy. After the interview, jot down your immediate perception of the candidate. A great salesperson doesn’t have to oversell, badger or exaggerate. Use your gut instinct to select someone trustworthy and honest. If you don’t trust your own intuition, bring someone else in on the hiring process.