Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Write Right

Last week I was helping a new hire compose an email and I was shocked at their inability to write.

That could be a warning in this modern age...

Daily Sales Tip: The Ultimate Screening Tool

Writing is a lost art. Yet, we are more dependent on written communication than ever before. Email! Is there anything worse than a poorly written email that is sent to a prospect? It doesn't matter how good your product or service is, your company now looks sloppy and unprofessional.

An effective technique for screening sales talent is the use of the mini-business plan. When the candidate has satisfactorily completed all of the other steps of the pre-offer process, the request is made for a one-page business plan that shows how they would approach the job. I mention three times that I'm only looking for a one-page plan and ask when they can send it to me. It is important that the submission date be asked of the candidate, not the other way around as you will see in a moment.

Of all of the techniques that I have used over the years, this is the one where I have the most candidate fallout and I was always happy to learn that this sales marriage wouldn't work, before it was formulated. This technique allows you to evaluate a number of important areas:

-- Can they communicate in written form coherently? If you were a client receiving this document, what message do you get about its author?
-- Do they understand what the role entails? Since this component is performed late in the process, they should have a clear picture of the job and expectations.
-- Is their approach consistent with the expectations of management? It is best to know now if you don't feel comfortable with their game plan.
-- Can they meet a self-imposed deadline? If the plan is late, the candidate is no longer considered for the role.
-- Can they follow directions? I asked for a one-pager, not an epic.

Having a sales talent screening program has many benefits. The most obvious impact is a longer sales tenure of your sales team, which means an increase in sales performance and a reduction in personnel turnover. This can do nothing short of helping the bottom line of any company.

Source: Lee Salz, president of Sales Architects

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