8 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make While Hiring A Sales Representative

It has been noticed that most of the small businesses tend to fail in their initial years. Not because their product lacks substance or because of poor accounting practices, but due to lack of sales. Maybe as an entrepreneur, you have made wrong decisions in hiring sales representative. This is exactly what is being discussed here. Common mistakes that are made by the entrepreneurs when hiring their first salesperson –


Taking Too Much Time In Hiring.


The fact cannot be denied that hiring a sales representative is a major investment. Owing to this, most of the times, it is being put it off. You think that maybe ‘next quarter’ and before you realize it, a year has gone by. The timeline for hiring a sales representative is not more than 90 days and usually. Entrepreneurs tend to overlook this time period.


Not Knowing What You Are Actually Looking For.


Most of the entrepreneurs tend to believe one-size fits all but that is not the case actually. Most of the times, while looking for new sales representative, entrepreneurs would have HR frame a job description that gets posted on multiple channels. But, the problem here is the description that is way too generic. It eventually results in drawing candidates lacking potential. Or just don’t match the profile and becomes a tiring task to filter the results.


Not Looking For Flaws.


CEO of General Electric, Mr. Jack Welch was fond of playing golf and used to take his potential hires with him to the field. He was aware of the fact that on the course, he would be able to see how a candidate handles himself in a difficult situation. Would he keep his cool or he will freak out?


As an entrepreneur, it is imperative to know about the behavior of the candidate in the stressful situations and it is fair enough. This is the reason that a founder should look less towards his positive elements and more towards the flaws in the candidate’s story and get more into it. If a candidate manages to get himself/herself out of the comfort zone, then you actually get to know the real character of the candidate. Ending up with a candidate who flaunted his smartness in the interview but was not capable of taking the pressure won’t be a nice experience.


Having Unrealistic Expectations.


Majority of the entrepreneurs commit a mistake of expecting the sales representative to hunt, farm, assist and outpace the quota simultaneously. Ideally, the sales representative should be assigned one task and to do that task efficiently. Cut down the number of responsibilities and create realistic expectations.


Not Having A Set Plan.


Normally, the entrepreneurs get over excited about their products and tend to overlook the need of having a set plan. Ethically, a plan has to be there so that the sales representative knows exactly what is anticipated from him in terms of quota, role, and metrics. The best sales representative is the one who is self-motivated and who is eager to know expectations. If we talk particularly about e-commerce portal, then some of the leading names are ASOS, eBay, Target, Amazon, etc.


Asking Routine Questions.


One of the common mistakes by the entrepreneurs is asking the routine questions in the interview. You will find the interviewee giving replies to your questions more fluently because he/she has already rehearsed the answers to the common questions such as –

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What would you do in a particular sales situation?
  • What is your relevant experience?

It’s not that the questions are wrong but they don’t give you the real picture of the candidate. You are the interviewer and it is your task to know the real candidate behind those fluent answers. The best way to do that is to ask them with a simple why let them support their answers with logic. A genuine candidate will be confident enough to provide you with some logic for his/her answer and as for other candidates, you can let them go. There is a need to go beyond their rehearsed answers to have a better understanding of the candidate.


Appointing A Senior Leader.


In order to disrupt the sales of your competitor, most of the entrepreneurs make the mistake of hiring a director of sales. But, this move will give you more pain than joy. The main issue that will arise is that this director is not having experience of selling on the front-line. Secondly, such a candidate will demand an assistant the day he/she joins your company. You should look for the candidates who have a healthy experience in front-line selling and who is ready to get his hands dirty.


Talking Excessively During The Interview.


As an entrepreneur, you may feel like telling everything about your organization during the interview. While it is good that the candidate should know what is your organization all about and what he will be doing, but having said that you have to ensure that you don’t talk more than he does. Ensure that you have given the candidate enough time to answer your questions and elaborate on the answers.

Hiring your first sales representative can be quite challenging for any entrepreneur. Having set plans, making strategic moves and determined to face the stiff competition are the best ways to achieve your goals. Regardless, don’t commit the above-discussed mistakes.


By Hill Callie.

Hill Callie is a writer by profession. She has a knack for coming up with novel ideas. She currently writes for faqtory. She contributes ideas for latest technology and much more. She has also worked for scores of magazines, writing exciting content on various topics.