Have you ever interviewed a top seller from another company, but when they start with you they just cannot achieve the same results? This is an important topic in sales management training courses as learning spot a real top seller can have a massive impact on your team. I always like to start by asking the candidate who their biggest 5 clients are. There are many intuitive questions you can ask from there, but here are a few of my favourites:

Which of those accounts did you acquire as new business and which ones did you inherit?

Where did the leads come from?

Who else was involved in closing those deals and what did they do with you?

So, why are these questions key? I have found from experience that certain types of so called top sellers dont deliver the goods. Well, there can be quite simple reasons that they wont deliver as much as you expect:

The Silver Spoon. In the interview this candidate is going to be happy to quote you big figures that they achieved in their previous role, it looks even better when you call to check the figures and it checks out. What no one is going to tell you, unless you ask, is that they inherited an amazing territory. That 500k of business isnt new business, it came from warm calls to existing accounts. Are you planning on handing them a territory with plenty of warm leads and existing accounts, if not they are going to struggle. You should start to hear alarm bells if the candidates top accounts were all inherited, ask more and get to the bottom of it.

The Percentage Man. At interview this candidate sounds great. The big figures sound great, but actually they have only made a percentage of what they should have with the territory they were working. This candidate delivers a percentage of the potential for their current employer and they will do the same for you. These candidates, like the silver spoon candidate dont like to make cold calls so have relied on referrals and company generated leads. Be wary when you ask a candidate about where their leads come from and they talk a lot about referrals or company leads.

The Wing Man. The wing man can find leads, there is no doubt of that. They found lots of leads in their last job that their sales manager had to close. They rely on someone else to close the business and give it back to them to take orders. So they get the credit for the sale and they have a great sounding client list, but are you able to do the same thing for them? If not then they arent going to deliver. Listen carefully to who else was involved in the sales process for their top 5 clients, start to worry if you hear the sales manager talked about often, this candidate is probably a wingman.

One of the biggest secrets in sales management is choosing the right candidate in the first place, the better you staff the easier your job will be.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Haines enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics that effect UK business. Hiring the right person for your sales team is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success, so important that it should be included in all sales management training courses.