Category Archives: Sales

The strengths Interview four-step process from ‘First, Break All the Rules’

Here’s ‘The Art of Interviewing for Talent’ four-step process from First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Make sure the talent interview stands alone. The purpose is to see if the candidate’s recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior match the job. Ask a few open-ended questions and then keep quiet. Let him reveal himself by the choices he makes. What does he enjoy most about selling? How closely does he think people should be supervised? Listen for specifics. Ask him to tell you about the time when he closed a major deal. If the behavior is recurring, he can answer specifically off the top of his head. Clues to talent. There may be an inclination towards certain activities. Two things to notice: – Rapid learning. Does she take to public speaking like a born leader? – Satisfaction. Does he get his kicks from balancing the balance sheet? Know what to listen for. “I love it when…” Take note of what the employee says and after hiring, return to see if that person performed consistently with their original statements. Learn more: StrengthsFinder - Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.

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The three best ways to use the StrengthsFinder assessment for hiring

Q: If I were recruiting for sales, could I use StrengthsFinder as a source to be sure a possible candidate would be a good fit? A: Yes. I do recommend using the StrengthsFinder strengths as part of the hiring process. Here’s how: 1. First in the job description Pick the strengths you’d like to add to the team. Look at the definitions of them and pick descriptive parts of the strength that are ideal. Don’t use the StrengthsFinder words; use the words in the description. For example, if you want WOO, don’t use that word. Use ‘loves the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over.’ People have no idea what the word ‘woo’ means in the StrengthsFinder context. 2. Second in the interview Don’t trust the planned. Trust the spontaneous. The strengths part of recruiting and hiring is best done in the interview when you can see how they spontaneously answer questions. Imagine taking an assessment trying to second-guess what you imagine a potential employer is looking for and tweaking your answers so you get the results you hope. However, in the interview process, you can see what the poet Alan Ginsburg called, ‘first thought best thought’ come into play. If you’re looking for someone with WOO ask them for an example of when they were able to win a skeptical person or a group over even though they didn’t know them. If you’re looking for someone with RELATOR to develop deep-ties to select long-standing clients, ask them for an example of them doing just that. They will either have an example easily come to mind that is vivid, specific and true. Or they’ll fumble and genericize. Either way you’ll get your answer. 3. Once the person is hired Have them take the StrengthsFinder assessment once they’ve been hired, making sure you tell them so you can best help them be their best sales self. They’ll self-assess more honestly now that a job isn’t on the line. Then have a discussion with them about how they can best use their top 5 strengths in the sales role they were hired for.

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What strengths are useful for a salesperson?

Q: What strengths are useful for a salesperson? What would you say are the strengths I’d want to see in their StrengthsFinder top 5 if recruiting for sales? A: It depends on what kind of sales person you want. What kind of salesperson do you need – is it WOO or is it RELATOR? These two strengths are two sides of the sales coin. Is it more important for this person to be able to win over new people, especially suspicious people? For example, telemarketing, cold calling requires people to love winning strangers over. That’s the WOO StrengthsFinder theme. And it helps to have POSITIVITY (upbeat enthusiasm) when dealing with meanness, rudeness and rejection. Or is it more important for that person to cultivate deep and long-lasting relationships with key clients? That’s where RELATOR comes into play. This person is adept at cultivating deep and close relationships. WOO is breadth, RELATOR is depth. That’s just two strengths. A case could be made for every one of the 34 StrengthsFinder strengths being perfect for some aspect of sales. It’s up to you to figure out what would be perfect for the type of sales role you’re looking to fill. 34 are a lot to sift through though. There are two different categories of strengths that particularly relate to selling. What strengths category is most important to focus on for the role you’re trying to fill?

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Five strengths-related strategies to use in hiring instead of the StrengthsFinder assessment

  Q: If I were recruiting for sales, could I use StrengthsFinder as a source to be sure a possible candidate would be a good fit? A: The short answer: No. I don’t recommend using the StrengthsFinder assessment formally for hiring. But I do recommend using the StrengthsFinder strengths as part of the hiring process. What to do instead of asking candidates to complete the StrengthsFinder assessment: 1. Hire the person first Would you rather hire a bad candidate that has the WOO StrengthsFinder theme (if that’s what you want on your team) or a great candidate that doesn’t? If you weed out everyone who doesn’t have the strength you’re looking for you may miss out on the ideal candidate. 2. Find out if the person actually uses the strength A StrengthsFinder strength only works if it’s put into action effectively. You have no idea if a person is using that strength, and how they’re using that strength, until the interview process. 3. Don’t trust the planned, trust the spontaneous The strengths part of recruiting and hiring is best done in an interview. That’s when you can see how they spontaneously answer questions. Imagine taking an assessment trying to second-guess what you imagine a potential employer is looking for and tweaking your answers so you get the results you hope. That’s not good data. But ask someone about an example of when they successfully sold and you’ll find out where their strengths are. Or ask open-ended questions and see what direction they head. 4. Don’t be tempted to hire someone like you Don’t do it, unless you make that choice consciously. Usually a team has a culture, a company has a culture and that’s often reflected in the person in charge. Hire someone similar to the person in charge and everyone will get along easily – they’ll think, “this person is like me” – but there’ll be blind spots. Blind spots aren’t helpful. 5. Don’t be tempted to hire for blind spots on the team Wait, didn’t I just say that’s good? It can be, but not if those strengths are simply not needed in that role. And not if it’s the reason you pass up a great candidate that has similar strengths as you in favor of a mediocre or bad candidate that doesn’t.

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