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How to hire the perfect sales rep

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Last week I had a conversation with a colleague who asked for my help in hiring a new sales rep. She’s looking for an inside rep whose sole function would be to set up appointments.

Now, I’m not a recruiter or a human resources expert. But one thing I do know is that inside reps need to sound good on the telephone. In addition, they must be able to follow directions. I’ve seen too many clients spend far too much time going through resumes and interviewing inappropriate candidates. So I told my colleague the same thing I tell my clients.

When you place your ad, rather than accepting resumes, ask candidates to leave you a voicemail. Set up a dedicated line that will not be answered to record their messages. Make sure applicants have several minutes to leave their contact information. Ask them to convey what made them respond to the ad and add a sentence or two about themselves.

You are looking for applicants who can sound engaging, leave a coherent message and follow directions. Delete any messages that do not sound good to you. If they did not follow your directions or if they sound incoherent, strike them from your list. If an applicant does satisfy your criteria, schedule a meeting. Even if they don’t have a lot of experience, these applicants—with a little training—might just turn out to be the perfect sales reps.

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Wendy Weiss, aka The Queen of Cold Calling, is president of ColdCallingResults.com. She is also the author of Cold Calling for Women and The Sales Winner’s Handbook.