When interviewing candidates most sales managers will
you handle rejection?”
And almost all the candidates will bob their heads
and smile and say something close to this:
“I forget about it and dial the next number.” That’s a typical answer but a good
one. There is always the next
call—even if you sell.
But a lot of these smiling head bobbers never
work. You’ll bring them back for a
second or third interview, hire them, and then soon find out that
they’re not cut out for inside sales.
We’ve seen it all before.
The new employee starts out like a house on fire—dialing and pitching his
heart out—only to end up staring at a number with glazed eyes and dazed
expression. Most of them end up quitting
and you can’t help but wonder if the high rejection factor played a large part.
“What about the next dial?” you might ask.
“Ah, well, this isn’t a good fit for me,” they might
One good way of reducing the chances of hiring
someone who doesn’t work out, or isn’t inside sales material, is to take the
interview process to the next level.
Put them on the phone before the second or third
interview. You’ll find out very
quickly if the candidate is meant to be a “phone person” and how thick his skin is.
Five or ten minutes should do the trick. Bring the candidate on the sales floor,
make a few introductions and then set him loose.
“But I don’t know the pitch,” they might plead.
“Here’s a copy right here,” you say, handing them the
pitch. “Don’t worry about sounding
canned, just have fun.”
I’ve found that the “Put-You-On-The-Phone-Before-We-Hire-You” exercise saves the candidate and the
employer valuable time. There is a
lot of turnover in inside sales, just check out the job listings and
you’ll see the same companies—small, large or mid-size?—advertising each and every week. There’s a good reason for that. Good inside sales people are difficult to find and keep.
One way of retaining new employees is to pair them
up. Pair the rookies
together. They’re nervous,
perhaps brand new to inside sales.
Let them learn from each other, role play, dissect each other’s
pitch. Sometimes a critique goes a
longer way if it’s coming from an equal and not a manager.
The employees that work out best are the ones who are
made comfortable quickly and know exactly what the job entails before they begin. Save yourself time. Try to make your rookies feel as if
they’ve been doing the job forever.