Sales Tips For Sales Managers – Hiring Sales Representatives in a Down Economy

As the economy trends downward we are seeing multiple companies shrink their sales force and cut the fat in order to save costs. Most companies right now are looking to eliminate their lowest performing sales representatives and even their sales managers to ensure a higher return on investment on their sales team. This scenario leads to hundreds of thousands of sales representatives and other sales professionals hitting the bricks for one of the biggest sales of their life; their employment. So with all the salespeople in the job market today you would think that this makes it easier to recruit top level, high performing sales talent, right? Believe it or not, it actually makes it harder and more time consuming. Not only do you have way more applicants than you would usually have, you have a much higher percentage of underperformers. It takes longer and requires more attention to see past the smoke screen put off by your applicants. Keep in mind that you are interviewing professional, job hungry sales people, even bad ones know what you want to hear.So what sales tips can I share with you to help ensure that you aren’t hiring sales representatives that have been cut due to their performance?  First, you’ll need to look at past sales history. Did this individual obtain their monthly quotas, are there any awards or spiffs that have been given to the individual. Do they have anything to back up their claim that they were a top performer at their last place of employment? Believe it or not, I once ask this question to a sales representative who was interviewing for an online advertising sales job that very question. He opened his wallet and took out a paystub for a $10,000 bi-weekly commission check. This check was 8-10 times what a usual representative would make at the candidates previous employer. Another thing you can do is role play with the sales representative to get an idea of their sales process or sales techniques. I’ve asked sales people to try and sell me the pen that was in their hand. I would off objection after objection and listen to their rebuttals. It also let me know if they were taking the interview seriously, if they wanted to job and how they acted under pressure. As silly as it sounds this was often one of my favorite interview tools for sales people.Even with the most elaborate sales testing or career testing it is absolutely impossible to predict how a sales representative or sales manager will perform in your company. These interviewing techniques for sales representatives only help so much. In the end it will come down to the sales representative’s personal drive, ambition and talent, among other things.  On the other hand these tests will help you discover the sales representatives with “red flags” or obvious warning signs.