Getting Candidates Interested in Your Commission Only Sales Jobs
November 2, 2015 - How To Hire Sales People, Must Read, Recruiting
November 2, 2015 - How To Hire Sales People, Must Read, Recruiting
At Time To Hire, our goal is to get good candidates to call you about your commission only sales jobs. Although we’re a lead service to help you find the perfect sales candidate, we know there’s more support you need.
As your phone starts ringing, you’ll need to schedule your potential sales reps into individual or group interviews.
Before you can do that, you’ll need to ask the right questions to screen candidates, and also give them the information they need to decide if the job is a good fit for them. If you’re not used to it, taking those calls can be tough – It can be tricky to get all your information across and screen candidates at the same time as answering awkward questions.
For example, what do you say when someone inevitably asks, “Is this position commission only?” Gulp. How do you respond to this? If you’re honest and immediately tell them that it is a commission only sales role, most candidates won’t be interested. They won’t take the time to find out what’s involved in the role or what their other benefits may be – They’ll put down the phone and you’ve lost them for good.
We know this is an issue many sales hiring managers and HR professionals face. We spoke with a professional sales recruiting manager with over 40 years of experience. We put together this guide exploring the mechanics of taking candidate phone calls and what you can say to increase their chances of coming to interview.
Your only goal when taking calls is screening a potential sales candidate and scheduling the good ones in for an in-person interview. The candidate will ask questions to decide if they want to meet with you. Remember – You’re making a sale when you’re hiring for a commission only sales position!
If you can persuade the sales candidate to come to interview, they’ll have to practice and take the time to come into your office. This means they have a stake in this transaction. Once they have “skin in the game”, they are much more likely to listen to your entire presentation about the position.
It’s vital to be there and answer the phone when it starts ringing. Most candidates won’t leave a voice message, and even if they do, phone tag is often fruitless. Automated call attendants, voicemail, or spending too much time on hold could hurt your campaign – You need to make it as easy as possible for your sales candidates. They should be able to dial your number and have a person answer, every time, without exception. Even if you can’t answer the phone yourself, get one of your trusted colleagues to help out.
Always create and follow a screening script for when candidates call for sales positions. Follow the script even if you know what to say – It will make sure you don’t miss out on important questions and will remind you of key talking points.
Keep refining and tweaking your script and your process. Once you have a perfect script, others will be able to take candidate calls for you.
Stay calm, cool, and collected on the phone. If you seem desperate to fill the sales position, you’ll find it much more difficult to hire high-quality candidates. The candidate must believe the sales position is more important to them than it is to you.
You’ll get much further by being friendly, flexible, and approachable than by being combative or dismissive. Many people who call may not be interested in a commission only sales role and some people won’t want to continue the conversation after finding out.
Your goal is to schedule the candidate for an in-person interview, not to answer all of their questions over the phone. You will need to control the conversation and gently push them towards an in-person meeting. Here are some examples of how you can do that.
“Thanks for calling back, we’re contacting you because your resume matches what we’re looking for and I wanted to talk to you and share some background about our business and our roles. I’m currently scheduling appointments and setting up interviews for tomorrow.”
“I’ll ask you some questions about your sales background and see if this might work for you. I’ll arrange for an interview tomorrow and we can discuss everything in person then, does that sound good?”
I’d like to answer all your questions, however I’m busy with all the calls coming in from candidates right now. Can you meet tomorrow at 11 and we’ll go over everything in detail?”
“Great, you sound like you have the kind of experience we’re interested in. Let me tell you a bit about us but it’s going to have to be brief because I have a lot of calls coming in today. Can we arrange a time to meet tomorrow?”
Wherever possible, schedule your interviews for the same or the following day. The longer you wait, the more alternative offers your sales candidates will see – Their interest will wane. You’re looking for people who can make a quick decision and follow through on it – That’s a positive trait in the sales field.
An example response for “Can we just meet next week?”- Our business is exploding and we need people to start right away. I’m looking for salespeople who can make decisions right away and someone that won’t hesitate.”
After asking some quick questions about their sales background, give a brief overview of your sales business. Let them know what you do, share some brief company information, and your sales process. Tell them about leads, how you generate them, and how much money they could make.
“Our highest sales person is going to make x amount this month, the average sales rep makes x amount a month, and obviously we’re looking for someone who has strong sales abilities, is a self-starter and a hard-worker, does that sound like you x?”
Example Response to “Yes!” – “Great, it sounds like we have some common interest. “I have either 10am tomorrow or 3pm the following day. Which is best for you?”Only offer them two times.
This is how you control the conversation and avoid the trap of giving away all the information about the company and position up front. The candidate must feel some curiosity about the position or they won’t show up to the interview.
Alternate response: “I’d like to meet, can you tell me more about the compensation?” Answer: “I’d be happy to – that’s part of what we’ll cover in our interview tomorrow. I just don’t have time today with so many calls coming in.”
In general, use this only if you aren’t able to take the calls yourself or to handle overflow calls. Anything is better than callers going to voicemail! Example: “Hi John. Mr. Smith is busy taking other calls right now and has asked me to schedule interviews. He does have time tomorrow to meet with you, either at 10am or 2pm. Which works for you?” If they ask any questions, the response would be: “I don’t know enough about the position, but I do know that people seem very successful here. Can you meet at one of those times tomorrow?”
If you have to answer this question directly, most sales candidates will lose interest – They just won’t show up. Again, you need to get them to come to your office to meet with you in person. For most commission only sales positions, you’re better off sidestepping the question and closing them on the interview. If you do need to answer, here are some possible responses.
“Well, I could give you a base and you could go out and do some cold calling and generate your own leads. Instead of doing it this way, we actually provide our sales reps with warm leads. Would you rather have warm leads to call, or would you rather generate your own leads?”
“That’s a great question! Were you looking for a commission only position?” No? “Well, we have multiple pay plans for our reps and we can go over those options when you come in for an interview. We’ll tour our facilities, show you the opportunities and answer any questions you have in detail. If it seems like a match for both of us, we’ll find out which direction and compensation plan are right for you. Does that sound good?”
“We have a variety of compensation plans and tailor our final offer for each candidate. When you come in for the interview, we’ll discuss those options in more detail, explain what we do and show you around the business.”
Don’t expect to become an expert overnight. Keep working on your technique and realize that you may not be successful your first time. If you have any additional tips on improving how to get more candidates to show up for commission only positions, please let us know!
Want us to find the best commission only sales reps on your behalf and reduce your time to hire? Get in touch now.