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Recruiting and Hiring Salespeople: The 5 Minute Interview

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Mar 04, 2021

How important is it that your new salespeople be great on the phone? Assuming the answer is "very important" then your candidate screening process must begin with the 5-minute interview.

In the 6th blog in our series No Assembly Required Hiring, we discuss the importance of an effective phone screen to help identify great sales talent to help eliminate time spent with unqualified candidates. 

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As they say in Sales 101, always ask questions that you know the answers to. In today's world of lead generation, social networking, and email blitz, sales organizations overlook the necessity for great phone skills. Regardless of the origin of the lead, eventually, most B2B salespeople, lenders, advisors, and solutions consultants will have to:

  • Pick up the phone and dial a number
  • Be able to capture a prospect's attention in an instant
  • Engage in a meaningful conversation
  • Demonstrates a high level of trust and confidence
  • Close for a qualified appointment 

If that sounds like something your salespeople ought to be able to do, then make sure you interview for those capabilities. The STAR (Sales Talent Acquisition Routine) Program we implement with our clients has the following initial steps:

  1. Create a profile that will attract the right candidates and discourage the wrong ones
  2. Post the job attraction post(description), and distribute the job attraction post to those engaged in working with you to find qualified candidates
  3. Upon interest from a candidate, review the resume, and if it meets your basic requirements to be employed, test them with the sales specific Objective Management Group Pre-hire assessment
  4. If the assessment comes back as Recommended for hire or Worthy of Consideration, then schedule a 5-minute phone interview with your phone interview specialist

These 4 steps are crucial to your success at hiring more qualified candidates, but none are more important than the phone interview!

WHY? 

Because your salespeople must be great on the phone. And if they must be great on the phone, when do you want to find out that they suck? As soon as possible. An effective phone interview will save you a lot of time interviewing people who are great at the audition but can’t play the role.

Trial the Highly-Predictive  Pre-Hire Sales Assessment

It will help you answer these questions immediately and early in the process:

    • Would I listen to this person if they called me?
    • Will they ask prospects questions?
    • When they face a difficult or challenging prospect, do they rattle easily?
    • Would I meet with this person just based on how they handled the phone call?
    • Did they close me for the next step?

These are all critical findings for you to uncover and the only way to do that is to test their phone skills upfront. This process is not impacted by you already knowing them or if they have a great reputation. It does not matter how many years of experience they have or how often they lead the company in sales. What matters is that when you hire someone, they will be able to pick up the phone, grab a prospect's attention, conduct a conversation, and close for an appointment. That is all you should care about early in the recruiting process.

Have more questions about the 5-minute interview process? Email Tony at tony@anthonycoletraining.com, subject line: 5-Minute Interview, and we will be happy
to conduct a demo 5-minute phone interview.

Click Here for Additional Hiring Tools!

Topics: Interviewing, 5 minute interview, hire better salespeople, assessing sales talent

5 Minute Interview – Hire Salespeople Who Will Sell

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Oct 15, 2020

If your salespeople MUST be great on the -phone then why not find out, as early as you can, how GREAT they are on the phone? If your salespeople have to be like most salespeople, they must:

  • Reach out to prospects in the marketplace by phone. Yes, there is email, and LinkedIn and Facebook etc. but eventually to schedule an appointment, most sales people have to pick up the phone to initiate the relationship or continue the relationship beyond a click on an article.
  • Be able to deal with people who are busy and generally don’t like to talk to salespeople, don’t like being interrupted and are not waiting by the phone waiting for your sales expert to call them.
  • Be able to speak clearly and concisely
  • Communicate exactly why the person on the other end of the phone should keep listening and perhaps invite them to visit
  • Have the skills to take control of a conversation by asking meaningful questions that will cause the other person to stop and really listen
  • Be memorable, engaging, thoughtful and easy to talk to
  • Convince the listener that it would be a mistake to not meet or it would be of great benefit if they did meet

    hiring-great-people_

What is the best way to find all of that out and when is the best time to figure that out? As soon as you can. And that is why we recommend the 5-minute interview.

The interview takes about 7 to 10 minutes, but I want you to tell all candidates that it’s only going to be 5 minutes. Why?

  • You want to create an environment that is going to be similar to what they face when they actually call prospects.
  • You want to get a feel for how they respond to pressure and challenging questions:
    • Mary, thanks for calling in, we have about 5 minutes so let’s get started. You saw and read the job attraction post. What makes you think you’re a fit?
      • Mary will give you standard answers about how successful and dedicated she is.
    • To which you replay: Mary I’m going to talk to 3 other people this morning I’m pretty sure I’m going to hear the same thing.
    • The job attraction post requires hunting, so you ask Mary if that describes her.
      • She will give you the right answer and pass the intelligence test with a ‘Yes’.
    • You respond with – how would I know that? If I followed you around for 30 days how many new appointments would we go on?

You get the point. This is uncomfortable for you probably because is sounds so aggressive. Well that is pretty much what the phone call will sound like for Mary, Joe, Bob or Jane when they start making calls for you when you hire them. Again, when do you want to know that they can or cannot handle challenging perhaps difficult prospects?

Finally, you need to find out if your candidate can close. You must close your part of the conversation by informing the candidate that you will be interviewing additional candidates and will be making calls to invite qualified people in for an interview. If they hear from you then they’ve made the cut, if not you wish them the best of success. Stop and wait. If the candidate does anything to continue the conversation or asks something like, what do I have to do to make that cut?, then give them points. Depending on how the resume and the assessment results, you may or may not invite them in. If they do not attempt to close to get invited in for an interview, then chances are they won’t close for an appointment with a prospect.

Click Here for Additional Hiring Tools!

Topics: recruiting sales people, Interviewing, 5 minute interview, hiring better sales people

Be a Rock Among Pillows

Posted by Alex Cole on Fri, Jul 14, 2017

My pup, Rocky, loves to lay on top of pillows. ALL pillows. He doesn’t care if they are round, square, flat, cushy, or even sewn on and attached to the back of the couch- he will find a way to lay on them. And though it irritates me to no end to walk into a room to find all of my decorative pillows haphazardly thrown around, I must appreciate Rocky’s determination. He will do whatever he can to make sure he is on top. He fights, and sometimes literally claws, his way to the peak of that pillow mountain. He epitomizes the great sales candidates you should be looking for- except maybe the dog part.  

Rocky Pillows.png

Great sales candidateswill think the same way Rocky does- they have to be on top. They will do whatever it takes to make sure that they are successful. They will find ways to differentiate themselves amongst their peers. The hardest part, however, is being able to spot those great salespeople without wasting a lot of your, or their, time.

At Hire Better Salespeople, we believe that you should be able to learn everything you need to know within the first 5 minutes of any interview. If you are asking the right questions, you should know how well this person handles themselves on the phone, if they have the strong will and determination you need and if they are a fit for your opportunity. The point of the first interview is not to review a resume or sell them on the details of the position. Instead, it is to drill down on their capability of doing the job you need them to do. If your organization needs a hunter, you must say, “We need someone that is going to hunt and close new business. How do we know this is you?” A great sales candidate will give you a concise answer with facts to support their position. They won’t be flustered by the direct questioning and will have the ability to answer your questions with little hesitation or "word fluff”. You should only have to ask 3 or 4 questions to determine if individuals should move forward in the interviewing process.

Even more importantly, a great salesperson will attempt to close for the next step at the end of the call. Any candidate who asks robust follow-up questions, wants specific details pertaining to the next step or directly states why they are the right fit should immediately advance to the next stage. If a sales candidate doesn’t attempt to close you at the end of the interview, it is very unlikely they will do so with a prospect.

The number one question I ask myself after any interview is this: “Would I like to compete with them in the marketplace?” If the answer is no, strongly consider this individual for a position within your organization. What if they don’t have the specific experience you are looking for? Don’t worry! You can train someone on the technical parts of being a banker or insurance rep, but it’s a lot harder to train them to be a great salesperson. 

So, next time you’re interviewing a sales candidate, remember Rocky and his quest for higher, softer ground and his grit to get there. If you are interested in learning more about how to Hire Better Salespeople, sign up for our free webinar—“Ruff” Realities About Recruiting. During this webinar, you will learn how to hire your next “top dog” using our proven process for searching, evaluating skills using a sales assessment, interviewing, hiring and onboarding new hires.

Webinar Details

Thursday, July 27th, 12-1 pm EST

REGISTER NOW

REGISTER HERE for "Ruff" Realities Recruiting Webinar

 

Topics: 5 minute interview, aquire sales candidates

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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