Sales Management: Select Champions

04/03/2023by dang tin0

Select Champions

Recruitment is the starting point in building a superior sales team. Most problems experienced by sales managers originate in the recruitment of inappropriate people for sales positions in the first place. Selection of the proper salespeople is one of the most difficult tasks you have, but it can account for as much as 90 percent of the success of your sales organization. You therefore need an established selection procedure.

Select Slowly

As Peter Drucker said, “Fast people decisions are almost invariably wrong people decisions.” If you select in haste, you will repent at leisure. Take your time. Poor selection is very expensive. It costs you time, money, aggravation, and the sales that you didn’t get because you hired the wrong person.
Proper selection begins with your thinking through the requirements of the job and writing them down. Think on paper. Go into every recruitment interview with a series of written guidelines that you refer to during the interview and selection process.

Define the Exact Results That You Want

Make a list of what the salesperson will be expected to do, day in and day out, and what sales results the salesperson will be expected to achieve and when. It is amazing how many salespeople are recruited with a confused idea of what the company expects them to do. They then become angry and frustrated. The sales manager becomes angry as well and begins to question his own ability.

Some time ago, I worked with a personnel selection and training company that had just hired a successful, experienced saleswoman. In keeping with their profession, the company’s recruiters had put her through a battery of personality tests and profiles to be absolutely sure that she would be the right candidate. She passed all the tests with flying colors except for one weakness: She was abnormally low in the category of “personal initiative.”
Because she had a stellar track record working for a personnel placement company, my friends decided to hire her anyway. But they had neglected to tell her one important part of the job—that she would be responsible for generating her own leads, making her own appointments, and developing her own client base.

The morning that she began work, her first question was, “Where are my leads?” When she found that she would be responsible for generating her own leads, she was shocked. She almost immediately began to fall apart. By the end of the week, they realized they had made a major mistake and let her go. Lesson learned.
One of the most helpful exercises that I have taught to my clients worldwide is to take a sheet of paper and write out a description of the perfect salesperson or candidate for you and your company. Imagine that there is a Perfect Salesperson Factory and that your sheet of paper is an order form. Once you complete this order form, you can confidently send it to the factory and the factory will send you back the exact person you have described on paper.

Look at Previous Achievement

The greatest single predictor of future performance is past performance. What you are looking for, more than anything else, is someone who has already been successful at the type of job that you are hiring this new person to do.
Ask candidates about their previous performance history. What jobs have they had and how well did they do at those jobs? What was the nature of the business? Was it a tough, competitive sales environment, or was the person selling during a boom time, when there were more buyers than sellers?

Hire for Personality

A famous executive once said, “We don’t hire people and train them to be nice; we just hire nice people.”
The fact is that people don’t change. What you see is what you get. Hiring on the basis of attitude and personality will bring you the best recruitment success. Aptitude is important, but it can often be developed with good training and coaching. But when people have the right attitude and personality, and the necessary amount of energy and ambition, you can teach them what they need to know to be successful in selling. Only hire people who you personally like and enjoy; only hire people who have positive, warm personalities and who are generally cheerful and happy.

The Law of Three

This method will allow you to improve your hiring ability to the 90 percent level. It is a technique that I developed over the years and have taught to many thousands of executives. Some top people in major corporations have told me that it transformed their hiring practices throughout the organization.
When you need a new salesperson, you first interview at least three people for the job before you make any decision at all. If you pay well enough, you’ll have plenty of candidates to choose from, not just anyone who will take the job.
The second part of the Law of Three is to interview the candidate that you like at least three times. Never, never, never hire a person who you have interviewed only once. It is too easy to be caught up in the emotion of talking, laughing, and interacting with a positive prospective salesperson. It can cloud your judgment.

Three Places, Three People

The third part of the Law of Three is to interview the candidate in three different places. Most people have what I call the “chameleon syndrome.” This means that as you move them around, from your office to another office down the hallway, or to a coffee shop across the street, they take on different coloring. They actually change their behavior and personality.

The fourth part of the Law of Three is to have the candidate that you like interviewed by at least three other people in your company. Hewlett-Packard has a hiring policy that involves four different managers and at least seven different interviews. At the end of the process, they come together and vote. If any one of them is not convinced that the interviewee would be a good employee, the selection process is terminated and the candidate rejected.

The final part of the Law of Three is for you to interview at least three references or people that the candidate has worked with in the past. A great question you can ask the candidate is, “I am going to personally phone each of the references that you have provided. Is there anything that I should know before I call and speak to these people?”

You will often be amazed at what people will tell you when you ask that question.
Remember, the more time that you put in at the beginning, the more time you will save in teaching, training, managing, motivating, and coaching after the salesperson begins working for you. Take your time. Go slowly.


1. Make a list, like an order form, describing the ideal sales- person for you and your company. Compare each new candidate against this list.
2. Practice the Law of Three with the next candidate you interview for a sales job, and then practice it continually for the rest of your career.

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