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Are you struggling to recruit the best sales talent and build a high-performing sales team?
Your competitors are hiring elite salespeople while you’re either stuck with performers that simply don’t care or need to be developed. While an underdeveloped sales team has great potential, as leaders, sometimes we simply don’t have time on our side. That’s why recruiting the most talented closers that can immediately come in and drive revenue and growth for the business is such an important skill.
Finding and hiring the most high-caliber salespeople for your organization can be a challenge. You need to spot talented candidates, engage them and convince them that your company is the right fit for their skills and career goals.
Here, I’ll share the number one secret to recruiting elite salespeople, as well as the proven strategies I’ve used to build a thriving sales organization.
Fill your pipeline with possible talent
Before you can go on a hiring spree of elite salespeople, you need to get them in the door first. Filling your pipeline with quality candidates is crucial to ensuring you find the best candidates during the interview process.
Step one: Leverage multiple channels, such as social media, networking events and industry-specific job boards. You must build a strong employer brand that attracts top talent. Showcase your company culture, values and mission in everything you do to strengthen your presence.
Related: 3 Ways to Be Constantly Recruiting Star Talent Through Social Media
Step two: Don’t wait for the top performers to come to you — proactively reach out to other top performers you and your team discover. The most successful salespeople are likely working and not looking in the marketplace for new opportunities, so they won’t see job postings.
Step three: Tap into the power of your existing team and leverage employee referrals. Encourage your employees to refer their friends and family for job openings, and consider offering a referral bonus to incentivize them. The best talent often comes from within your network, so don’t let that resource go to waste.
The job posting is critical
Be hyper-targeted in your job postings. Use strong and clear language that speaks to the specific skills and experience you’re looking for. You don’t want to waste your time sifting through piles of irrelevant resumes.
An example of what I trained my recruiters to use in the introductory section of any sales job posting is below.
“We are looking to recruit top-performing sales personalities that must have the ability to show a great deal of initiative, persuade and influence others, overcome obstacles, eliminate excuses and produce high-performance sales results.
“Sales experience is not required. Sales ability is. Only apply if you possess these abilities and can prove it.”
Related: Does Your Company’s Branding Really Matter in Recruiting?
The process to separate the top talent
This is where the magic happens.
The recruiter might say, “We’re in the market to find a top performer to serve our x, y, and z market. Before we talk about the details, let me ask you this — the ad specified that we are only recruiting top-performing sales personalities that are persistent, high energy, and can overcome objections. What exactly is it that qualifies you for this?”
If they ask for more details before answering, reposition the question.
You might reply, “Absolutely. It’s a sales position that earns north of $x+/year. If that aligns with what you’re looking for, I certainly want to cover all of the details, but before we get there, can you share what qualifies you as a top-performing sales personality?”
No matter what their response, reply by saying, “Understood. You know, just in the spirit of transparency, this job not only has to be the right fit for us, but it has to be the right fit for you. And with great respect, I’m not really hearing “top performer” from a sales perspective. So, I’m not entirely sure if this job is going to be best suited for you because it does require a great amount of sales ability.”
The key is to deliver this statement in a tone that expresses uncertainty, not necessarily a firm rejection, triggering them to overcome the uncertainty in their ability. The candidate is forced to respond in one or two ways. They either accept the rejection — if so, simply thank them for their time — or they tell you to get your eyes checked because they’re the right fit for the reasons that they explain.
Related: How to Build a World-Class Sales Team
The secret explained
The key secret to discovering elite salespeople lies in throwing a soft rejection at them during the interview process. You’ll want to pay close attention to their response, body language and tone of voice. Elite salespeople will take the rejection as a challenge and will try to overcome it with confidence, creativity and persistence.
Those who respond poorly to rejection, however, may not be the best fit for your sales team. They likely lack the resilience, agility or persistence necessary to succeed in a sales role. They may simply not have the motivation and drive to push through the challenges that come with a high-performing sales job.
Of course, this means most candidates may not pass the test, but those with the right skillset will rise to meet or exceed the standard for elite performers. Now, if you see other success indicators in a worthy candidate, you can always recommend or reconsider the candidate for a more suitable role in another department.
Ultimately, you should expect the best effort out of an interview. If they fail the pre-screen, they won’t magically transform into a rockstar sales performer when hired.
By adopting this single strategy, in combination with other evaluation techniques, you can build a high-performing sales team that drives an immense amount of value to your organization.