June 27, 2012
coldcallThere never seem to be enough leads. No matter what you do — appointment setting, networking, referral gathering — you’re always looking for more leads. In our master series, “How to Hire and Onboard Great Sales People,” nearly every business owner and sales manager comes with the intention of hiring an outside sales rep or appointment setter who can sniff out new prospects to fill the pipeline.
Every company wants more skilled sales prospectors, but finding the true hunters requires great interviewing skills.
A rep who says, “Oh yes, I cold call,” isn’t guaranteed to do it. The candidate who assures you, “I know I need to make 50 calls a day,” isn’t guaranteed to pick up the phone. The prospector, who boasts about his Rolodex, can’t guarantee it will turn out qualified prospects.
So what do you do? How can you ferret through these candidates’ promises to find the sales reps who really can uncover new, qualified prospects?
It starts with very specific questions that uncover sales prospecting ability, expertise and motivation.
Describe the strategy and process you use to find new prospects.
How do you determine which companies to approach?
Where do you get your lists for prospecting?
Describe how you get past gatekeepers.
What follow-up approach do you use?
Next, ascertain if your sales candidate will prospect. Many sales reps know how to prospect, but won’t do it. You want to find out what motivates this candidate and if he sincerely will do the prospecting activities.
What support will you need to be successful uncovering new prospects?
How do you motivate yourself to cold call day after day?
What gets in the way of your prospecting? How do you handle that?
Finally, test their prospecting skills. Role-play a cold call where the sales candidate uses the solution he sold most recently. Pretend you’re a prospect that he just reached by phone – and go! Let’s see if he’s as good as he says he is!
When you’re questioning sales candidates about how they sell, you ask questions about every aspect of the sales process. In sales prospecting you want to do the same. Two or three questions won’t divulge ability, expertise or motivation. Spend the time to fully understand your sales candidate’s approach to prospecting and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can separate the imposters from the skilled hunters.
It’s your turn! What techniques do you use to uncover sales candidates’ prospecting ability, expertise and motivation?
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
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