Finding and interviewing sales people and sales managers can be a challenge for a lot of businesses; Sales people are great at selling, that includes themsleves and their achievements.
Quite often you will find people making claims to achievements that make them look like sales superstars and by confidently delivering the claim many of them are taken at face value.
The easiest way to dig deeper and get to the truth of the claim can be achieved with one simple word; It also comes with the benefit of getting an insight into their processes, strategy and their approach towards achieving their sales objectives.
That is the magic word, How! Any and every claim that gets made in the interview should be met with the word how.
How did you achieve that?
How did you win that project?
How many orders did you close to make that target?
How many customers do you manage?
How much is your average order value?
How do you manage your territory?
How many people do you see a week/month?
How many opportunities do you convert to orders?
The list is endless.
“How” is a doing word and behind any achieved target, big project won or delighted customer there was a set of actions, a process and a plan. If someone can’t explain how then I would suggest their claim is false or over exagerated…….
Yes, that’s true people lie in interviews!
Don’t just ask once, ask as many times as you can to either get a full understanding or until they can’t answer the questions. You probably need to ask “how” five times on each topic to get to the truth.
When you get someones CV prior to the interview, read it and highlight any claims that are made by the applicant and prepare your “how” questions. If you don’t get a clear and logical view of how someone achieved what they claimed they achieved then I would question the claim.
Behind every real story there are facts and details and these should flow easily. As sales people we have a habit of remembering vividly the experiences we cherish the most, so recalling detail shouldn’t be an issue, especially if it is a memory of a big order or smashing a big target.
So be brave and challenge what’s put in front of you. You owe it to your business.