Interviewing Sales Reps

You have grown your business as far as you can take it alone, and have decided to hire a sales rep.  You have a few potential reps lined up — but what do you do now?

The interview process is a very important step to insure success for both you and your potential rep.  RepRight has written an article that explains 7 rules for interviewing your reps.  Here are the key points:Job Interview

7 Rules for Interviewing Independent Sales Representatives

1) Talk Less. In the interview, you (the hiring company) need to talk about 10% of the time and expect your candidate to talk 90% of the time….

2) Expect preparedness. If you’ve given your candidate your website or company name, the candidate should come prepared to the interview. That means, the candidate should know who you are ….

3) Talk to at least 5 candidates before you make a decision. And compare them objectively….

4) Do your own homework. What will the commission be? When do you pay? How? What’s the sales cycle? Do you assist with expenses or trade shows?…

5) Project ‘partnership’. The very best sales reps want client ‘partners’. None – as in exactly ZERO of the great reps we know, want a ‘boss’….

6) Get the ‘lay of the land’. Ask questions that help you understand how the rep spends his time now….

7) Layout a big action item. Give the rep a job; a pretty big one. And take one yourself. Agree to meet next day/next week  – whenever is appropriate to review your mutual progress….

Having been ‘interviewed’ numerous times as a sales rep, I don’t think any of the producers who interviewed me were as prepared as this list suggests.  My niche was rather small and the options for good independent sales reps was even smaller — so hiring me was really a no-brainer!

Regardless, out of all the points above, I would guess that #4 is most critical.  As a producer, you MUST have all your ducks in a row before you even think about hiring a sales rep.  And most of these points can be (and should be) covered in a sales rep agreement.

#5 can be a quick deal breaker.  Treating a sales rep like an employee is very demotivating.  Your sales rep is your sales and marketing partner.  If you do not treat them as such, neither one of you will be successful.

No one has ever asked me to do #7 — unless it entailed getting sales for their products!  If the product is a good fit for the sales reps, sales should be the obvious next step.

If hiring sales reps are in your future, I highly recommend your check out our eGuide for more detailed information:

How to Find, Recruit and Manage Sales Reps

 

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