Brilliant salespeople are worth their weight in gold. So why do so many companies have difficulty recruiting brilliant salespeople?

Competition is fierce and usually there are problems with their current hiring process.

A bad hire can cost three times as much as someone’s basic salary, if you get it wrong. So it is vital that you get it right.

Here are some key tips that will help you:

1.Headhunt from the passive candidate market

Whether it’s engaging with a high-quality sales headhunter, or whether your internal recruitment team are responsible for recruitment, you need to headhunt from the passive candidate market

The best candidates DO NOT apply to online job adverts. They don’t need to. They are happy in their current role and they are looked after by their current company. They are also busy people and do not have time to look at online job adverts.

You need to seduce the best talent by approaching them and selling your company and the role. Your opportunity needs to be better than what they have already

2. Have a great story to tell

One of the biggest problems when trying to attract the best salespeople is that your story is just not appealing enough. Sell your company, sell the role, sell your culture. You have to make people WANT to work for your company. If your story is not great, forget it, the best people won’t join you.

3.Make sure your commission plan is attractive and easy to understand

How does your commission scheme compare to your competitors? Do you actually know? You should do, as if your commission scheme is poor, great salespeople will not join you.

Also, Is the commission plan easy to understand? Keep it simple, clear and concise

4.Use behavioural testing in the hiring process

The large majority of companies only assess skills and experience. They do not assess behaviour. As the saying goes, “companies hire on skills or experience and fire on behaviour”. Use behavioural assessment tools such as McQuaig, Myers Briggs or put together your own list of behaviour-centric questions.  You need to know how people behave at work  and learn more about their character traits

5.Ask for a 30/60/90 day sales plan in the interview process

Any great salesperson will be able to write a 30/60/90 day sales plan. This will give you a great insight into their sales thinking and how they will approach the first 90 days in your business

6.Ask the candidate to meet other members of the team

Get the opinion of other people in the sales team. See what the consensus is on each candidate. Two or three opinions are much more valuable than one. Your current team members will also like it as they feel included in the recruitment process and that their opinion is valued.

7.Ask for proof of earnings

That’s right. Ask candidates to show proof of their earnings and commission payments. Ask for pay slips or other documents. The best salespeople will have no hesitation in showing these documents. Poor salespeople will make excuses as to why they can’t show you their proof of earnings

8. Take at least two references

You should speak to at least two previous employers and verify what the candidate has told you about their sales performance, tenure, ability to fit into a team and career progression.


If you would like help recruiting brilliant salespeople, please contact Philip Butler on 07912 997190 / philip.butler@collingwoodsearch.com