Can You Help Me Pull My Foot Out of My Mouth?

The branch manager asked me to do an initial interview with a sales candidate to screen him and see if he should be moved up to the next interview level with her. I learned how quickly someone can eliminate themselves with just the first question.

I asked the man, a recent college grad, why he thought he would be a good salesman. “Because,” he said, “I’m a great talker!”

In five words he persuaded me that he was not a good candidate for the job because he didn’t do his homework and he didn’t understand what sales is about. But I left him with some advice if he should want to continue pursuing a sales career with someone else.

Selling is about listening to the customer I told him. Customers don’t have time for BS, to talk sports, or to debate politics. The only thing they care about is “Do you care about us, our problems, our goals, our struggles?” Your concern is revealed in the homework you do, the questions you ask, how well you listen, and how creative you are in finding solutions for them. Customers are focused on survival, profits, cash flow, and time. They want measurable, quantifiable results in dollars and/or percentages. When you understand what they want, then when it’s your turn to speak, talk about possibilities, probabilities, and guarantees.

If you have a word quota you need to use up before the day ends, share them with your friends at Happy Hour when the workday is over.

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