Most sales managers struggle and fail to ask the right sales aptitude questions of their potential new hires.
Then they sit with dead weight down the line because their team is not hitting its number.
80% of your sales team is hitting only 42% of its target.
As sales managers one of our biggest challenges is that we don’t interrogate our potential new hires deeply enough.
Even if we use some kind of psychographic tool (and most of us don’t) to shortlist the our perfect candidate it’s still a bit of a luck shot to pick a winner, isn’t it?
In my own experience when hiring sales staff I’ve picked what I thought were race horses, only to end up with donkeys.
And then, folks that I thought would never cut it in this game, shine like crazy and hit their number on a regular basis.
Go figure that out. Hiring is definitely part science, part art, part gut and a whole lot of luck.
After asking all the usual sales aptitude questions, I generally throw in a bunch more. Some of them are eccentric but they get to the nub of the matter for me: Does this person have the courage, resilience and attitude to stick it out over the long haul?
3 Sales Aptitude Questions Sales Managers Could Ask
- Tell me about the books you’ve read over the last 3 months? This helps me ascertain whether has a broad knowledge of the world, philosophy and life. In my experience I find that readers with a broad general knowledge have more depth and understanding of the way things are. We’re not sending robots that can parrot the seven steps of selling in the field, after all.
- Tell me who inspires you the most in your life and why? This allows me to find out what’s important to the person. It also gives me an idea of how good he/is at articulating an abstract idea. Sales professionals need to be good a developing a argument, defending it and selling it, after all. If they want to hit their sales number, that is.
- Why are you actually here today, sitting in front of me? This is when they look at me as if I’m stupid. They think, “Duh, I’m here for a job.” The question is actually quite nuanced, though. I’m trying to find out if the person is only here for a pay cheque or if he/she wants to work for something bigger than just pay. I understand very well that ultimately most sales professionals are not driven by money as much as they say they are. If they were, they’d hit their sales targets 100% of the time. When they’re facing rejection after rejection, disdain from their peers and the wrath of their employer, they need something to hang onto if they’re going to get through the tough times. They need belief and a reason to carry on.
These are my sales aptitude questions. I’m sure you can think of many more to ask your potential new hire.
The point of asking left field questions is to find out the whole person, rattle the person a bit so that you can see how he/she reacts under fire and to find out what the intent is. Do they want to come to work for you because they’re only about the money they can make? Or do they come to create something exceptional for themselves and your company.