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10 Revealing Interview Questions to Ask Sales Candidates

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Want to improve your interviewing skills when hiring salespeople? Use these questions to get to the heart of their sales experience:

10 Revealing Interview Questions to Ask Sales Candidates
1. What is a qualified buyer to you?
2. What words do you use on a cold call with a Gatekeeper?
3. At what point will you walk away from a sale?
4. What is your process for acquiring referrals?
5. What is the best way to present price to a buyer?
6. What are your 3 favorite questions to ask on a 1st appointment?
7. How do you define a successful 1st appointment with a prospect?
8. What words do you use to close a sale?
9. What would be your ideal relationship with your Sales Manager?
10. How do you acquire leads to fill your pipeline?

Published in: Recruiting & HR, Sales
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10 Revealing Interview Questions to Ask Sales Candidates

  1. 10 INTERVIEW Revealing To Ask Sales Candidates QUESTIONS
  2. What is a QUALIFIED BUYER   to you?  1
  3. A sales rep that doesn’t qualify as a vital part of the sales process will waste valuable time chasing prospects who cannot or will not buy.
  4. “A qualified buyer to me is a prospect who: fits our target market is the decision-maker has the budget to pay for our products/services has an urgency about making a purchase has specific needs we can meet agrees with our terms and conditions.” Good response
  5. What words do you use on a COLD CALL   with a Gatekeeper?  2 Banana?
  6. You do not want to hear: “I would introduce myself and say something about our products or company…”
  7. What you really want are the actual words they use on a cold call. They should deliver them so that it does not sound scripted. Conduct a cold calling role-play. Listen for tone, confidence, value statements and positioning statements – not product pitches or coercive lines to get past the Gatekeeper. Consider this
  8. At what point will you WALK AWAY from a sale?  3
  9. If their response is “never”you might want to keep looking. (not all business is good business)
  10. Persistence is admirable, but experienced salespeople know when to stop wasting time with the wrong buyer and move on. Consider this
  11. What is your process for acquiring…  REFERRALS?  4
  12. In some industries, referral requests are made immediately after the sale. In other cases, only after they’ve been earned.
  13. Be wary of “referral-heavy” sales reps. They may avoid prospecting and only want “warm calls” via referrals. Consider this A good response is: “I set referral appointments with satisfied customers as one part of my new business development strategy.”
  14. to a buyer? What is the best way to   PRESENT PRICE  5
  15. You want to learn how much your candidate understands and follows a sales process. Be wary of salespeople who prematurely present price – especially to unqualified buyers.
  16. A good response is for the price to be wrapped in value using on-target benefit statements rather than the undesirable method: show product – present price – offer discount. CONSIDER THIS
  17. 6 What are your three favorite   Questions   to ask on a first appointment? 
  18. Evaluate your candidates questions: How well-crafted are their questions? Are they relevant? Would they get the prospect talking about their issues and objectives?
  19. GOOD RESPONSE A good response is a set of business- focused, issue-specific questions. Examples: How is <business issue> affecting your production? What solutions have not worked so far? What is the intended outcome for this initiative? Who else is participating with you in making this decision?
  20. 7 How do you define a successful first appointment with a prospect?  
  21. You’re looking for someone who wants to position themself as a trusted business advisor. If their answer is simply “make a sale”, they very well may be overlooking critical financial, business and serviceability issues - reducing trust and affecting sales. (Answers will vary somewhat by industry.)
  22. A good response will indicate that they gather enough information to clearly determine next steps in the sales process - even if that means walking away. Consider this
  23. 8 What words do you use to close a sale? 
  24. It’s surprising how many salespeople don’t have a set of good words to close a sale. Asking your candidate this question gives you a sense of their competency in the last step of the sales process, their confidence level, experience, and communication skills.
  25. A good response will be simple and free from manipulation and focused on facilitating a smooth transition into the customer/vendor relationship. Example: “Let me show you how we do our paperwork.” Consider this
  26. What would be your ideal relationship with your Sales Manager?  9
  27. The employer/employee relationship is critical. This is one of the main reasons why salespeople do well and also why they leave companies – the relationship they have with their boss.
  28. Listen carefully for: How much coaching do they want (if any)? How involved do they want their Sales Manager to be in the sales process? (closing sales for them) What level of autonomy do they want? Consider this
  29. How do you acquire leads to fill your pipeline? 10
  30. Expect your candidate to provide specific answers. Depending on your industry and process, a salesperson that is accustomed to receiving company-generated leads or having first appointments set for them may not fit your needs. Cold calling and networking
  31. A good response contains details for acquiring self-generated leads such as: •  building lists •  acquiring market research •  writing cold call scripts Good response •  methods for making first contact •  nurturing low-urgency prospects •  follow-up frequency
  32. 1. What is a qualified buyer to you? 2. What words do you use on a cold call with a Gatekeeper? 3. At what point will you walk away from a sale? 4. What is your process for acquiring referrals? 5. What is the best way to present price to a buyer? 6. What are your 3 favorite questions to ask on a 1st appointment? 7. How do you define a successful 1st appointment with a prospect? 8. What words do you use to close a sale? 9. What would be your ideal relationship with your Sales Manager? 10. How do you acquire leads to fill your pipeline? recap
  33. For more information about hiring great salespeople: xPotentialSelling.com 866.350.4457

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