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One aspect of Sales that is often overlooked is – can your sales staff actually sell? And – how do you tell before you spend a fortune hiring them for a month or more and finding out they can’t? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think!

The obvious answer to the question is to test them in some way prior to hiring them, and if that’s what you thought then you missed the first step.

saleThe first action step is to determine what kind of salesperson your business requires. Does it require a foot-in-the-door, never-take-no-for-an-answer type, or would a more consultative approach work better with your target market? Do you need a loner who will travel around the countryside selling your products, or a team player who sells from a central location?

Deciding upon the right sales style for your business is the necessary first step in finding the right sales person. Once you have that, there are various ways to test the sales abilities for far less than the cost of hiring them for a few months (not to mention the lost opportunity costs if they fail to sell).

Many people use standard Personality Tests or Profile Tests such as Myers-Briggs or DISC. You may have another favourite, but there are very few that are actually designed for the sales industry.

One of the most comprehensive is found at www.salesinventoryprofile.com – designed by a Psychologist to determine the sales ability of a respondent. For the record I am not affiliated in any way with this site.

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What techniques or tools do you use to test your new sales people?

Another tip that applies to all staff and maybe particularly to sales people is – cultivate a ‘can do’ attitude in everyone who works in your business.

‘Can do’ is more than just being able to perform at the highest levels. It also means being courteous and polite to customers, even when that customer is doing or saying something inappropriate. It means getting along with your fellow team members, and being a positive contributor to the team ethic, allowing that different organisations may have different ideas of what is or isn’t a positive contribution.

Here are some simple questions to share with your team that might help them help clients with a problem:
What isn’t the way you want it to be?
Can you describe the problem for me?
Who first noticed the problem?
Which of our staff have you already spoken to?
When did you buy the item?
When did you first notice the problem?
What, if anything, have you already done to correct that?
How was the item being operated when the problem occurred?

These questions should give you a clear idea of the circumstances surrounding the problem, and allow you to take the appropriate next step, depending upon your company’s policies.

What other questions have you found useful in determining the circumstances of a problem report? For example do you ask (if the item requires power) if it is plugged in? Let us know what your experience dealing with disgruntled clients has been. (Where are all the gruntled clients?)

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