This article is written by business performance expert Ryan Estis. Delivering more than 75 live events annually, Ryan provides high-impact keynote presentations in partnership with the world’s best brands.
Some people are just naturally good at sales. They have charisma and an outgoing nature that makes them successful in any selling situation.
That may have been true in the past, when developing relationships on the golf course and quoting competitive prices was enough to build trust and win business. But in today’s economy, where buyers are more informed and sophisticated, companies need sales professionals that bring a whole lot more more to the job than charisma and a good track record.
Customer expectations are changing. So is our workforce. Millennials, or people born in the 1980s and ‘90s, are the future. Millennial employees also have different expectations about their work experience.
Here are just a few things that make this next generation unique:
They expect very regular feedback, coaching and career development.
They value flexibility and open-mindedness.
On average, millennial employees are projected to stay with an employer only about two years.
So, knowing that customers are changing and younger employees have unique expectations about work, how can you prepare to hire new college grads that will perform and stick around? Here are three tips.
Hire people who know they want a sales career.
Many college students no longer look at sales as a Plan B career. In fact, around 100 colleges and universities now offer some kind of undergraduate sales curriculum. More and more students are graduating college targeting a sales career — and coming to the table with the skills they need to hit the ground running. I’ve written before about the hyper-prepared students who are coming out of Ohio University’s Schey Sales Centre. Organizations should look for candidates who are excited and informed about working in sales. Candidates who have already learned core sales fundamentals before they graduate will be more ready to make a meaningful contribution right away.
Hire people who are committed to continuous learning.
When I talk to the best sales leaders, they tell me that more than anything else, they’re looking for “students of the industry.” Customers have a lot of information available to them. By the time a customer gets in touch with a sales rep, they expect someone who is extremely informed, and who can act as a trusted consultant. The most successful salespeople are constantly researching and studying their industry and their customers. Look for candidates who are committed to self-development and show up prepared. In the interview, ask candidates about what books and blogs they read. How did they prepare for the interview? How much do they know about sales as a long-term career path?
Hire people who are hungry for opportunity and ready to work hard.
Working in sales isn’t easy. Today’s competition for buyers’ attention and trust is fierce. Look for candidates who have experience overcoming obstacles and using direct feedback to improve and succeed. When met with real resistance or flat-out rejection, how do they respond?
Follow these tips to hire young sales professionals who will thrive at your organization and help build the path toward a successful future.