We’ve all seen that scene at the end of the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, where Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character is presenting a sales training workshop and asks a few of the attendees to, “Sell me this pen.”
Are sales tests like that a good idea when recruiting and hiring a sales rep in the market research industry?
A test like that? Probably not. It’s a bit contrived, unrealistic and not in any way tied to your business. However, because so much of the future success of your firm will be tied to this new sales rep, some testing before you make them a job offer is entirely in order.
Here are three simple sales tests that are worth considering…
#1. The telephone skills test.
Since your sales rep will be spending the majority of his or her time on the telephone, make sure that one of your interviews is done via telephone. The fact is, many people who are good communicators in person are not nearly as good on the phone. During your phone interview, it’s less about what they say (in response to your questions) and more about how they say it.
- Do they seem generally comfortable on the phone?
- Are they well spoken?
- Are they compelling?
- Are they being descriptive in the use of their words?
Being good on the telephone is a core competency that every sales rep must have… so test for it.
#2. The writing skills test.
Effective writing is important part of a sales rep’s job. In fact, because of email communication, writing will be their primary form of communication with clients and prospects. So, before they ever have a chance to reach out to one of your prospects, make sure to test their writing during the interview process.
To make this happen, develop a couple of essay-type questions for them to answer on one of their interviews in your office. Make them ‘general’ questions (e.g. about the industry that they’re currently in, the selling process or even something personal) – you do not want them too difficult to answer. What you want to see is how effectively they communicate with the written word.
- Are the answers to the essay questions properly formed and well thought out?
- Are they grammatically correct?
- Are they descriptive with the written word?
- Are they compelling with what they’ve written?
It’s amazing how many smart, talented professionals are horrible writers… so test for it.
#3. The presentation skills test.
Because delivering sales presentations to prospects will be part of their job, you need to make sure your new rep has the skills to do it well. As part of the hiring process, ask your candidate to come in for an interview and be prepared to deliver a presentation of their choosing (whatever they want to talk about is fine). The goal here is to assess their in-person presentation skills.
- Are they prepared? Do they really know the material?
- Are they confident in front of the room?
- Do they actually ‘present’ and not just read the slides?
- Do they engage with the attendees?
- How well do they handle questions and answers?
Delivering a capabilities presentation is a critical part of ‘closing deals’ in the market research industry… so test for it.
Hiring an effective sales rep can significantly improve the trajectory of your business. Hiring an ineffective one will be a colossal waste of time and money. So, before you bring on your next (or first) sales rep, make sure you have the hiring process in place to get it right the first time… and create the sales tests to be sure. Good luck.