To do a good job, candidates worthy of consideration should have the skills to perform the role.  This leads to a job description itemising the skills essential, skills desirable, duties and perhaps something on attitude and personality.

When recruiting sales people, the top performing sales teams do exactly the opposite.  They look for attitude, mindset, personality as the essential competencies.  Very difficult to train or develop an individual on these.  Sales skills on the other hand can be trained quite quickly

Highly successful companies that reduce staff turnover and keep sales staff for the long term do it this way.  It is one of the key secrets to only recruiting profitable sales people.

The other key aspect to reduce reliance on sales competencies is to have a sales system in place that reduces the sales skills needed.

Keeping core competencies to a minimum means you have a much bigger choice of potential recruits.  For example, McDonald restaurants when they recruit have a massive choice.  No restaurant, sales or customer service skills required.  Very large recruitment catchment because they have developed a system reducing core competencies to a minimum.

Many argue that this is Ok when recruiting at the bottom or trainee positions.  We have found that the fast-growing sales companies have much higher percentage of senior people who joined at the bottom level and stayed. In other words, they recruit at trainee level and promote.  It also saves them from limiting their search to people with same industry experience.

Clearly on sales competencies there are always some minimum requirements.  But that can be as little as a natural flair for sales or being a ‘people person’.

The excellent companies have always analysed those who have succeeded in the company and are aware of profiles for specific departments.  When we ask them why they are successful they know what makes the difference.  They usually all have a similar background, interest, which at first glance a nothing to do with the competencies for the job itself.  A skill can often be trained, personality and attitude attributes not so easy.

So, with competencies the golden rules for success are:

  1. Recruit Attitude, mindset and personality before sales skills.
  2. Design a well structured sales system to minimise need for core sales competencies.
  3. If you can train a skill in a reasonable time, do just that.

For a quote on how I can help you to recruit profitable sales people contact Alex McMillan (+44) 07525916574