The term “sales athlete” has come to be a metaphor for the best candidates. In the sports world athletes are driven, determined to win, go beyond the required, and are team players and leaders.
Going beyond the quantitative results and really understanding the qualitative record of “how” they achieve what they do is key to finding the right hire. This can be a hard lesson to learn for both the recruiter and hiring manager as not all athletes compete in the same way.
Here are 5 areas to discuss with your athlete / candidate that will help you hire the real MVP:
1. Failing to close the championship of big deals. What did they learn from those experiences and what did they do to improve and be more competitive?
2. Practice Makes Perfect. Discuss the types of training they have gone through, what have they done to hone their skills and stay at the top of their game?
3. Teamwork and Team Leadership. Ask for an example of a successful team they were a member of and the roles they played on that team? What was the outcome? Does their view of the team go beyond the sales organization?
4. Coach-ability. Most all great athletes are coach-able, they understand the need for on-going improvement and will be receptive to those who offer help and advice. Ask for some examples of when a coach /sales leader helped them improve. Who were some of their most effective coaches and why?
5. Game Preparation. Top athletes have a plan for each game …. They know the competition and they know what they need to do to win. How do they prospect for leads? How do they prepare for a sales call? How do they close the sale?
While understanding the "result metrics" of successful sales athlete / candidates is critical, understanding “how they play the game” will provide insights into strategic thinking, work ethics, motivation, teamwork, cultural fit, promote –ability and long-term success in your organization.