21ST Century Sales – Can you increase the chances of employing people who can actually Sell?

sales chickadee



Today there are normally two ways of looking for staff, either by advertising yourself or using a recruitment company/employment agency. There is always the “friend of a friend” method of recruiting but the rules for engaging any member of staff should apply in all three cases. A typical scenario when searching for new sales staff (in fact any staff) is figuring out the need for hiring someone new, writing an advert which is placed in the local paper or online and waiting for responses. Alternatively you ring an agency which takes down information about what you are looking for in an employee and they go off and look for someone for you. All this takes time and effort on your part. Some of this is essential as a precursor to hiring; some is not.

Starting off with a rough idea of what you are looking for in the needed position, you write a job description and then make several attempts to write an advert which will attract the right “caliber” of applicant.

Let’s take Real Estate as an example. A typical advert for a real estate sales person looks like this:

Real Estate Sales

  • Are you passionate about real estate?
  • Are you self motivated, well presented and reliable?
  • Are you a good communicator?
  • Do you want to be respected and appreciated?
  • Do you want to be part of a team?
  • Do you want great sales support?
  • Would you like to pay NO franchise fees?

Applications come flooding in! They say things like “five years selling software”, “highly motivated and a self starter”, “a degree in Computer Science”, “retail selling experience”!

You think this is great until you have to start creating a shortlist of people you may be interested in. You don’t have time to go through them all, but what choice do you have? Maybe you should have hired a professional after all?

So, what does reading all those CV’s tell you?

  • They’re often not independent, objective and possibly incomplete
  • They describe what someone thinks you should know
  • Maybe it’s been polished by a recruitment company
  • It’s what they did in the past. It’s not about what they can do in the future
  • NONE of it means they can and will sell real estate
  • It’s boring and it’s wasting your time!
  • They can’t validate an individual’s potential. At best they contain clues that require interpretation
  • If a candidate has no previous selling experience just what is it in their résumé that will identify their selling potential?
  • If you have a great quantity of them you will spend huge amounts of time reading and studying information that is often of marginal value

Conclusion: RÉSUMÉS Drive Poor Recruitment Practices!

Having spent all that time and money trying to hire someone yourself you decide to use the services of an expert. So you spend even more time going through yellow pages or word of mouth to find a suitable recruitment company that says they will do it all for you. I know from personal experience (on both sides of the fence) this is not always the case! There are many excellent recruitment companies around (I’ve worked in at least four myself) but psychometric testing is not always used and if it is, it’s used as a last check rather than a way of creating the shortlist.

First of all they will want to clarify in their minds exactly what you need. They will develop an advert to attract the most suitable candidates for the role, a unique marketing campaign is created and appropriate candidates targeted. Typically, a tailored marketing campaign can involve a range of specialist services such as:

  • Database Targeting
  • Online & Print Advertising
  • Media & Strategy
  • Candidate Referral Program
  • Head Hunting—Strategic Roles

Then they qualify; drawing upon a broad list of potential candidates. The recruitment consultant will then conduct telephone interviews that will consist of qualifying questions designed to indicate suitability for the position.

Then they justify—up to around 8-10 appropriately skilled candidates will be shortlisted for face-to-face interviews. Alternatively, overseas or interstate candidates will be extensively interviewed by phone or video conferencing sessions.

Then they verify—a complete background check will be conducted on the most highly rated candidates to confirm their qualifications and professional work history, as well as clarification of residency status and criminal history.

Then we have simplify—a shortlist of 2-3 highly suitable candidates will then be submitted to the client for the purposes of the formal interview process.

Next comes satisfy—should a candidate meet with your expectations and an offer of employment is made (subject to references), the recruitment consultant will conduct two final reference checks and submit the results to you.

Almost finished—the employment offer is confirmed in conjunction with the candidate’s acceptance. As the contract of employment is finalized, the candidate is prepared for the resignation process.

Finally—an appraisal with yourself and the successful candidate is conducted 6 weeks into the probation period to determine success.


Question: What’s wrong with all this information?               

Answer: Everything!

The failure of a high percentage of new start sales people in the first six months is alarming. This failure can cost you, the business owner, up to $20,000 dollars in direct or indirect expenses like training, printing etc for each unsuitable candidate chosen and then there’s the lost sales opportunities! It all adds up when you think about it in these terms.

Even worse, reading résumés can mean throwing away the sales stars of tomorrow because their résumés are poor, or don’t have the right clues, or maybe (and here’s the big one) there’s nothing in their past worth putting in a résumé. We all know great real estate sales people whose past gave NO clue to their future sales potential!

There is an easy solution to this problem!

Using a specialized psychometric testing process which is done before you even get to see résumés allows you to go about the business of making money without the frustrations associated with hiring new employees.

  • Emotionally engaging advertising will attract candidates to your company.
  • The advert drives candidates to the testing website so the first result of this is that you see if the candidate is motivated enough to complete the registration and then complete the test.
  • Candidates must complete tests taking up to forty five minutes.
  • Only candidates who really want your job will complete this process.
  • You end up with reports based on automated, online, multi-search functions; sorted firstly by their SCORE!
  • No need to read dozens of RÉSUMÉS, or go by “gut feeling” and first impressions!
  • You manage and select candidates easily and decisively online, so personalities don’t come into it.
  • You find people who can sell based on their score, nothing more!

You can then read the CV and set up interviews with people you know are able to sell, fit in with the management style for your organization and feel confident about the choices you make as they are based on extensive research and backed up by results.

The bottom line is that specialized psychometric testing undergone right at the beginning of the recruitment process saves you time, money, frustration and ultimately gives you sales people who can sell and who will achieve BETTER SALES RESULTS.

no to resumes



Author: Lesley MacKenzie

WHO CAN SELL? Find out by emailing lesley@salesinventoryprofile.com

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives—William James US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 – 1910)