Game Plan Looking for employees who can help increase your sales? Here are a few rules from our Sales Expert that will point you in the right direction.

By Danielle Kennedy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q: How can I recruit good salespeople?

A: Outstanding salespeople come in all shapes and sizes.So your job is to devise a way to find those candidates who walk inthe door primed for success. Don't shoot from the hip. Duringthe hiring process, design a system that improves your chances formaking better choices. The key characteristics to be on the lookoutfor are a willing, trainable salesperson with a strong, disciplinedwork ethic. Sounds impressive, but the trick is finding such aperfect candidate. Here are some rules to follow:

Rule #1: Create a candidate profile. Do your homework.Create a system before you attempt to interview your next prospect.Build a profile of a salesperson who is compatible with yourcompany. Ask yourself the following questions concerning the bestsalespeople you've ever hired:

1. What do my best salespeople do differently than the rest?(For example: Early riser who habitually makes prospecting callsthe first two hours of the day.)
2. What was their level of education?
3. What was their history of employment before joining mycompany?
4. Did they have the ability to work unsupervised?
5. What was their level of sales skill knowledge?
6. What was their level of verbal and written communicationskills?
7. How much sales training did they require?
8. Did they have good organizational skills?
9. How much money did they earn prior to joining my company?
10. Was there a common situation or trait in each of theirbackgrounds that allowed them to come into my company and succeed?(For example: Oldest child in the family? Highly motivated bymoney?)

Tip for new entrepreneurs: Interview some successful rolemodels and ask them the above questions about theirsalespeople.

Rule # 2: Construct interview questions. Design and askinterview questions that will give you more insight into how thecandidate thinks and acts. Then you can determine if they have thevalues and motivation that will complement your company. Createyour own questions based on what you discovered by applying thefirst rule. Here are a few examples:

1. What's your opinion regarding most salespeople?
2. What have you been doing since high school?
3. How do you feel about cold calling and door knocking forbusiness?
4. What are your income goals?
5. Why are you considering sales? Or why are you changingcompanies?
6. What's the strongest asset you bring to this career?
7. How would you handle this situation? (Prepare a sales scenariothat involves a challenge or objection/rejection.)
8. Where do you think you'll find most of your prospects?

Rule # 3: Begin with a resume. No one should beinterviewed until they send you a resume. Then decide if aninterview is appropriate. During the interview, don't betempted to skip certain key questions because you're getting a"good feeling" about the candidate. Stay focused. Askquestions and listen. Remember, the candidate is supposed to sellyou on hiring them. Don't reverse the roles.

Danielle Kennedy is an authority on selling, developing apeak performance attitude and winning customers for life. Call herat (800) 848-8070 or visit for information onconsulting for your business.

The opinions expressed in this column arethose of the author, not of All answers areintended to be general in nature, without regard to specificgeographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied uponafter consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney oraccountant.

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