The interview ended and everyone rose to their feet to shake the candidate’s hand and thank them for coming in. As soon as they had left the room, the manager turned to their colleagues and said, “Did you like her?” I am sure this process repeats itself many times over, in thousands of offices all over the country after an interview. We tend to hire people we like, and if this candidate was liked chances are, they moved onto the next round or even got the job. Likeability in sales is key but is it everything?
Studies have shown that people talk to people they like. For a salesperson this is a great trait. It will get you in the door as conversation is the first step towards a sale. Without it you have nothing. There are though other very important traits a salesperson must have to succeed. Trust is at the very top of that list. People buy from Salespeople they trust. Without trust the great conversations can go nowhere and for salespeople that can be an exercise in futility. So as a salesperson how do you earn trust in the process? Trust will be earned along the way by your actions. This might be as simple as returning a phone call when you said you would or following up on an important piece of information without having to be asked a second time. It can be earned via your presentation and with your product knowledge, if what you say corroborates with information the prospect already knows. Being confident but also knowledgeable goes a long way. After all, how must trust do you think you will earn if you cannot answer questions about your own product?
Additionally, the trust of a salesperson goes deeper than the relationship with the prospect/client, it is paramount between the salesperson and the sales leader and their organization. If this is missing the bond required for success is strained and weakened and will generally lead to friction within a team. It is true I believe that with employee’s, trust needs to be developed over time but there is always a starting point and leaders must extend the benefit of the doubt to salespeople particularly if they hired them. Innocent until proven guilty should still rule the roost, as hard as that might be sometimes with leaders often managing up rather than down.
In my career, I have hired multiple individuals into sales roles. At first it was a daunting process. I would receive hundreds of resumes from internal recruiters after briefing them on what I was looking for in a candidate. This process would always produce many potentials for the process as well as others who clearly missed the mark. The most success I had was went I asked my network,“ Do you know of someone who might be a good fit for this role?” Why is this? Your network is usually people you know and more importantly trust. You most likely have history with your network, they know your traits, your strengths, and your weaknesses, they essentially are the bridge between you and a potential candidate. Hiring this way also serves to put a little pressure on your candidate not to let down their referrer in the process. Now not all hires can occur this way. While it is great to know people, you cannot know everyone and at some point, you have to rely on the process of interviewing people you have no connection with and yet make the right choice. This is why you are a sales leader; you are an adult, hired to carry out this process and make the right decision.
The three traits that I was always looking for were, personality, success, and stability. As I have said many times, Sales is an Art form. It is also a personality; without it the profession becomes exceedingly harder but with it there is the power to open doors that were firmly shut. Success is the calling card of a salesperson; without it you are probably not in your role for very long. Why would any leader want to hire only the most successful salespeople? Let us leave retreads to the NFL. And thirdly stability. Have you had 8 jobs in the last 6 years……and what suddenly this is going to be the perfect fit? These three items combined with the opportunity itself are the foundation from which I could always hire and begin to build trust with the salesperson.
In the end making sure that you communicate effectively during the hiring process how important trust is will stand to you as the new hire ramps up in role. If they feel you have their back, it is one less thing for them to have to worry about and until they do something (hopefully not) that draws into question that trust. Trust your own judgement knowing that as an Adult, you hired one.
p.s. Thanks Brian Burns for the Inspiration on this one………….
Roger McNamara Bio:
Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple Industries and across the globe that include : Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $200 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchant pay to accept Credit and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and the associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces in general to be able to better position their products and gain share particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at Guide2Interchange@gmail.com