A common search for us is helping clients find experienced Field Sales Representatives. Here are 5 of the factors we consider and I want to encourage you to consider these too.
The Position : A Subprime automotive finance company hiring a Field Sales Representative to represent their financing products to automotive dealerships, with F&I Managers their main point of contact.
5 Factors to consider : Experience Work content match Contacts Ability Drive
In our 30 years of experience we have learned to incorporate a blend of these 5 factors .
- Experience can be selling the same product to the same customers or general sales experience that is transferable such as a copier sales person selling to local businesses. The more direct experience the less time in training. With experience there also will be a trail of their performance – good or bad. It is very important that you take the time to verify their past performance. The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Check references and ask for sales performance validation.
- Another very important aspect is making sure that the day to day work content is a match for the candidate’s abilities and desires. Do not discount the importance of their liking the daily work content. Some Sales Reps love the freedom of being in the field and thrive. Others flounder with the task of “initiating” sales. As an example, we have seen companies hire F&I Managers from automotive dealerships to be Field Sales Reps selling to F&I Managers. Makes great sense, however when we study the results we have found that most F&I Managers are terrific with closing but terrible with prospecting. Results are usually not good.
Ask yourself, is your position a “hunting” or “farming” position or some of both? In this example of converting F&I Managers to Field Sales Reps, it is noteworthy that most F&I Manager have no experience initiating sales and cold calling. Because of this, they may do better taking over an existing territory and managing it than building one from scratch. Do you think this way while interviewing ? I want to encourage you to !
- A great fit for an automotive finance company is a Sales Rep with already established contacts in a geographic area. These contacts can save 12 to 18 months “ramp up time”. This is more important for smaller companies that can’t afford to pay a Sales Rep’s salary, expenses and benefits for months while deals are only trickling in. If you do not have a recognized name brand, such as CapOne, it can also be very beneficial to hire a Sales Rep with an existing portfolio of clients. The reason is that the Sales Rep will have the established credibility with the auto dealers and F&I Managers that a new company does not have . This makes it easier to introduce a newer company lacking branding clout.
- And 5) Ability and Drive.
Ability means they are capable of doing the job successfully .
Drive means they have that internal push to be successful.
A lot of ability with no drive is wasted talent. The most common mistake made hiring Sales Reps is hiring someone with sales ability but little drive. These candidates may “blow you away” in the interview but fizzle in the field. Their sales ability shows during the interview, they communicate well, are glib, make great eye contact, ask closing question and get you all excited. But if they lack drive, they will be mediocre at best and need to be pushed to get them past their low comfort level.
The most common hiring mistake we see companies make is hiring people who have the ability to do the job but lack the motivation to thrive.
Remember: The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Check references and ask for sales performance validation. Don’t get “sold” during the interview, you need to verify performance.
To help our clients make successful Sales Rep hires we look for a combination of :
Work content match
I want to encourage you to consider these 5 factors when making hiring decisions.
Don Jasensky is the Founder and President of Automotive Personnel, LLC and has been placing personnel for over 30 years with automotive finance companies, buy here – pay here and new car automotive dealerships. You can reach Don at 216-226-8190 Don@AutomotivePersonnel.Careers
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