Finding the right salesperson is easy – if you don’t need one.

Finding the right salesperson is easy – if you don’t need one.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

“I need a good salesperson.”

Join the crowd. So does everyone. “No, no, Jeffrey you don’t understand, I really need a good salesperson. My best one just (pick a reason)…

  • Got hired by the competition.
  • Quit.
  • Found a better job.
  • Got married.
  • Had a child.
  • Got complacent and faded away.
  • Couldn’t get along with the rest of the team.
  • Couldn’t get along with some customers.
  • Couldn’t get along with me.

So, if you know of anyone, please let me know.”

Good luck. You’ll never find a good person when you really need them.

Bahakel Communications, one of America’s leading communications companies, owns and operates television stations, radio stations and a cable system. They are a sales driven organization. They (like you) need good salespeople.

How do they find salespeople?
What do they look for in a salesperson?
How do they hire a salesperson?

Here are the results of an intensive meeting with Bahakel Communication’s sales managers and general managers. People who are responsible for recruiting, developing and maintaining a sales force. Some of these are actions, some are interview techniques, some are strategies to use in recruiting, some are tactics to uncover the best candidate. All are good.

1. Always be looking for good people…Don’t wait until you “need” someone.

2. Network for salespeople, don’t advertise the position (unless required by law).

3. Make your business attractive and the right candidates will appear.

4. Seek someone who is of good character.

5. Find out what happened on their last job why are they here?

6. Call the candidate’s previous customers, or the people they served on their last job.

7. Get a sample of their work.

8. Present them with a job description.

9. Tell them exactly what is expected of them.

10. Don’t get sold by the candidate get all the details of their past sales experience no matter how good they look.

11. Get references that are in addition to the one’s provided (call the extra ones not the one’s provided).

12. Don’t over-promise.

13. At some point, sell against the position to see the fortitude of the applicant.

14. Ask the candidate to make (write) a game plan for how they will succeed and ask them to bring it to the second interview.

What are the characteristics to look for in an ideal salesperson?
Here are some to ponder (and perhaps judge your present sales team or yourself against):

  • Already has a positive attitude.
  • Can think and decide.
  • Is hungry.
  • Can communicate well.
  • Asks job related and productivity type questions.
  • Is self motivated.
  • Takes criticism well.
  • Is always learning (training).
  • Has a good track record.
  • Is solution oriented.
  • Looks professional.
  • Is persistent.
  • Has great followup skills (starting with the interview Did they followup with a call and a thank you note?).
  • Is solution oriented.
  • Has some experience in the field.
  • Maintains good eye contact.
  • Has a clean, professional resume.
  • Has a personal business card.
  • Sells himself well but not too much “I me” look for “we”.
  • Does not ask about benefits or salary.
  • Has courage enough to trial close the interviewer.
  • Asking the right questions in an interview is also critical. They will reveal characteristics as well as skill level.
  • Ask some specific “selling situation” questions…What do you say when the prospect says…
  • Ask some real world “customer service” questions…What do you do when the customer has a problem with…
  • Ask about career goals.
  • Ask about personal goals.
  • Ask about a big success, a big failure.
  • Ask about outside interests.
  • Ask what they feel will make them successful, what drives them.

TO THE SALESPERSON WHO’S LOOKING, NOTE WELL: The questions you ask the employer are just as revealing. It’s subtle, but I’d rather have a prospective salesperson ask me about a typical day on the job, something about specific duties, or something about what makes him qualified, than to have him ask about salary, commission or benefits. An employer who’s interested in you will tell you those things. (It’s a buying signal when they do.)

TO THE BOSS, NOTE WELL: If you’re continually losing salespeople, and blaming them for their failure, the fault may not be theirs. Look in the mirror. And, if you’re the one whining about the fact that there are no good salespeople “out there,” the answer is real simple. When you get someone on your team, encourage them, support them and train them.


Always be looking for good people…Don’t wait until you “need” someone.



“Rate the candidate in an interview” form. A guide to help you rate a candidate’s qualifications and traits in an employment interview is yours for the taking. Just go to, click Access GitBit in the top right corner, register  if you’re a first time user and enter the word INTERVIEW in the search box.