Currently, one of the biggest challenges for companies is finding skilled in-home sales personnel.
Many of your applicants may be unqualified and several may not show up for their in-person interview.
The advances in online recruiting platforms over the last few years have been significant; nevertheless, job postings for in-home sales positions produce numerous kinds of responses, including many resumes that are “time wasters.”
Many respondents posted their resume years ago and do not realize it has been sent to your company.
Some will apply for sales positions without any understanding of what the job requirements entail.
Due to this, it is advisable to cull resumes using keywords from an Internet source.
What to look for
Ask yourself the question: “What type of person and ‘skill sets’ am I looking for?”
Ideally, you would like to attract someone who has relevant experience, preferably in a direct or in-home sales position.
You should look for candidates who are used to challenging situations, working odd hours, and being compensated on an incentive basis.
However, bear in mind that there are many individuals who can succeed in a sales role despite little to no experience, and this can be determined using hiring assessments such as a DISC Profile.
Once you find a suitable candidate, your next step should be to conduct a brief “phone screen” or telephone interview to:
1. Evaluate applicants and form an early assessment of their:
- Sales background and other employment experience;
- Verbal skills;
- Income history and expectations
2. Pique the desirable applicant’s interest by:
- Using a structured script with key questions;
- Communicating that everyone does not qualify for an interview (affirming your interest in them);
- Making the position more professional, desirable, and valuable in their eyes;
- Exhibiting high energy and enthusiasm
Presenting Your “Company Story”
Early in the phone interview, it is critical to present the value of your company, not only against your competitors but compared against other sales positions.
Present a brief but comprehensive differentiation statement about your company. Here are several powerful statements to accomplish this:
“Our company is a recognized leader in (your industry). We are acknowledged for our (custom product offerings, unique training techniques, advanced marketing programs, high customer satisfaction, etc.)”
“The position being offered is based on an increase in homeowner demand for our products and includes comprehensive training, an opportunity for above-average income, and advancement opportunities.”
“Our inquiries come from various sources, and we have a sizable budget directed towards lead generation and development. Compensation depends on the skill level of the individual and is incentive-based. If you are selected for an in-person interview, we will discuss all of this in detail.”
- Do not sell the job over the phone. Sell the idea of the job in a stimulating manner;
- Sell the idea that the live interview is an important factor in selection;
- Continue to use “negative takeaways” when needed (i.e. “If you are invited for a live interview…”)
Too many companies are “settling” for in-home sales personnel today. While the stress of not having enough sales personnel to manage your leads is significant, it is outweighed by the substantial cost of a mis-hire.
Factors that should remove applicants moving to the next stage of the hiring process include:
- Evasive answers regarding previous jobs;
- Low-energy responses;
- Constant interruptions or belligerent attitude;
- Lack of questions that indicate interest in your job opening;
- Expressed concern for being compensated on a commission basis
Setting and Nurturing the Appointment
You may also be failing to set the appointment in a proper manner.
Set your appointments with all qualified applicants as soon as possible.
Appointments beyond 48 hours have a limited probability of taking place.
Don’t allow the applicant to select the interview time; however, note it as a positive sign when they suggest it.
Select the time based on preset available openings. Be firm about when you are available.
Here is an example of a script to deliver when setting the in-person interview:
“I’m glad you sent me your resume because you seem like the type of person we would like to interview; it might be wise for us to meet as soon as possible.
“I can make an appointment for you this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. or tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Which would you prefer?”
If they respond that neither time is workable, ask them why and when they are available.
“Great, (first name), your appointment is set for tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. That’s Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Bring something to take notes on. Our address is (provide address). Do you know where this is, (first name)? I suggest you arrive at least 20 minutes in advance to complete some brief information that will be useful for the interview.
“Please be prompt and ask for (contact person) when you arrive. One last thing. . .
“If we need to get in touch with you prior to this (first name), can we reach you at (phone number given)? Is this your cell phone number? Is (email given) the best email address to get ahold of you?
"Again, your appointment is set for Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and I suggest you arrive at least 20 minutes in advance. We have set this time aside specifically for you; if there is any problem with being available at this time, give us a call in advance. Thank you and I look forward to meeting you then, (first name).
Let them hang up first.
If the number you have for them isn't their cell, be sure to get it.
Prior to the in-person interview send them a brief email and text reminder.
Make sure to reinforce your interest in them without seeming needy.
While this may seem like a time-consuming process, in these times it is critical to treat your in-person sales hires as you would with any lead your company generates.
As a result, you will significantly reduce turnover and mis-hires.