Trio offer suggestions on hiring top salesmen

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 April, 2001, 12:00am

How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer

By Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein and Patrick Sweeney

Published by McGraw-Hill

This book could be quite handy for those who intend to hire sales personnel for their organisations.

The authors tackle simple questions that differentiate a top-quality salesman from an ordinary one.

Written by three top executives from Caliper, the world's leading human-resources assessment and consulting firm, the book talks about how to hire, develop, train, motivate and retain top sales performers.

For more than four decades, Caliper has helped more than 25,000 companies worldwide effectively to identify the most promising applicants and develop their existing staff.

The authors share their tried-and-true job-matching system, which incorporates the Caliper Profile - a precise psychological assessment test.

The book begins by identifying the five proven qualities that predict whether an individual can succeed in sales. It then offers insights into interviewing, job-matching, team-building and leadership.

The book also tackles topics such as how to understand the strengths and limitations of each member of a sales team; how knowing the key qualities that distinguish top salespeople can guide you when hiring; how to develop the potential of the existing members of your team; how to make investments in marginal producers pay off; and why knowing the strengths and limitations of salespeople during training can make a difference in their long-term performance.

The authors suggest that the key reason for high turnover, poor productivity and the fact that 20 per cent of the salespeople sell 80 per cent of what is sold is the inappropriate approach management takes to hiring salespeople.

Both the warm-body approach and the use of invalid hiring criteria lead to hiring inappropriate people, who are guaranteed to be unproductive and will turn over quickly at a great cost to themselves and their employers.

'All the key sales dynamics central to success - empathy, ego-drive, service motivation, conscientiousness and ego-strength - do not mean that the individual will be effective in your specific sales job,' write the authors.

If we look at individuals from the perspective of vocational guidance, we will find that the driven, empathetic individual possessing ego-strength should be in a career in which successful persuasion is central to success.

Though it is obvious that all sales jobs involve, at their core, the ability to persuade, the breadth of these jobs is limitless.

Sales job range from quick-closing, hard-selling to short-term. Commission only positions to the opposite extreme where the persuasive element is camouflaged and only takes place once or twice a year at the end of a long process.