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Professional Achievement Group, Inc. | Rockville, MD

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Interviewing sales candidates requires completion of a series of steps, each building on the previous one. That's why a “preparation” step is the most important in the interviewing process. Interviews cannot succeed without a solid foundation.

How many times has this happened to you? You got a promising referral, or scheduled a conference call, or showed up at an initial meeting with someone who seemed like a perfect fit for your product, service, or solution. Then, about five minutes into the discussion, you found yourself experiencing a “disconnect” of some kind with that seemingly perfect prospect. And the relationship died.

How many times have prospects told you, “I need more time to make a decision”? Too many?

Just as a salesperson should always be prospecting, a sales manager should continually be recruiting, even when there is no open position. At a trade show, he should be talking to the salespeople at the other booths. He should have a recruiting file and always have a list of possible candidates. He should always be evaluating his sales team - identifying the weakest performer(s) so they can be replaced with stronger people.

Many selling professionals are of the mindset that it’s inappropriate to ask clients for referrals until after the clients have experienced the outcomes promised by the product or service. Their thinking is that if they deliver the intended outcomes, and do so in an exceptional manner, clients will be more willing to provide a name or two when asked.

Have you ever made a prospecting phone call whose central message sounded something like this?

How good would you say you are at listening to your prospects?

Most selling professionals I talk to rate themselves pretty highly in this area. Yet most, sad to say, fail the Tooth Fairy Test.

 

Most of the sales managers that I encounter participate in ‘need-based’ recruiting for salespeople. When they lose a strong performer, plan to expand geographically, or wish to take a new product or service to market, this is when they begin the recruiting process.

With everything else that goes on during the day, your shouldas become a distant memory - lessons that could have been learned, but were lost instead. Invest 89 cents in a spiral notebook and keep it on the corner of your desk. (Alternatively, you can use a visually driven note-taking application, like Pages or NoteBook+ for the iPad.)

With tough competition, many sales professionals are more tempted to offer discounted prices and fees in an attempt to win the business. Have prospects asked you for discounts, promising to give you the business if the discounts are granted?