Recruiting the right sales person can be one of the most critical aspects of growing your business. That perfect mix of energy, motivation, enthusiasm, and skill is notoriously tough to find, and even tougher to recruit.

Here are 4 steps to ensuring your search and recruiting process for sales team members yields the best possible results.

1. Stick to the rule of “ABH” – Always Be Hiring
Finding that critical new team member to galvanize your sales isn’t just a matter of hiring a recruiter or posting a job listing. There’s a very good chance that the person you’re looking for is someone you’ve met or encountered outside of a job interview setting. Whether you’re at a sales convention, an airport lounge, or a dinner party, keep in mind that your next star sales person could be in the seat next to you. In particular, watch for skilled people who are selling to you

2. Turn job interviews into valuable conversations.
Job interviews are fraught with importance, and often stress, for both candidates and employers. When you think about it, the interview has all the stress of a first date, and if one party winds up with the wrong impression, the consequences can be dire — hiring someone and finding out three months later that you’ve made a mistake can mean time, money, and revenue down the drain. Rather than the standard “barrage them with questions and see how they react” approach, use casual conversation and guide rather than pepper with questions

3. Look for a candidate who could be your customer (or, at least, understands them).
No matter what you’re selling and to whom you’re selling it, one of the keys to success is understanding why someone would want to buy your product. Effective sales involve knowing how a product can impact the lives and/or businesses of your consumers. The highest performing sales people either live in their customers’ shoes, or are capable of putting themselves there. No one knows your customers better than you, the business owner, so it shouldn’t be too tough to determine whether a candidate “gets” the people you’re selling to.

4. Focus on your product’s value-add, and your company’s mission.
The best sales people aren’t just motivated by money or achievements — they want their work to be driven by a compelling mission, and they want to work for a company with a strong vision. If you can present both or either of these, you’ll have a big leg up over the competition when it comes to attracting (and keeping) the best talent. A strong mission can also benefit your company in many other ways, including retention and motivation of existing employees, as well as yourself.

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