As you see, I don’t place a lot of importance on an outgoing personality. That means two things: 1) having one isn’t any guarantee of success, and 2) not having one won’t prevent you from being an effective salesperson. I’m also a far bigger believer in assertiveness than aggressiveness—to me, that’s the difference between intelligently and creatively presenting your side of the story and blindly pushing your agenda. I love the combination of assertiveness and ego drive. Those two attributes, along with empathy, idea orientation, and abstract reasoning ability—the intelligence factors—are by far the most important part of this recipe. And again, you can test to see if an individual has these attributes.
Yes, No, and Maybe
The good news is that Caliper can help you to avoid obvious hiring mistakes—although I should amend that to say it makes obvious what you wouldn’t have known otherwise. You can be fooled in an interview by a person who can talk all the talk. You’re a lot less likely to be fooled if you use Caliper as the final stage of the hiring process. (Key point: The Caliper Profile costs $295. It’s not something you use on every applicant, like the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test. It’s also far more comprehensive and accurate than any of the “sales tests” you can buy online for $14.95!)
Some more good news is that Caliper can also help you in a “maybe” situation. For example: a candidate who doesn’t quite match up with my recipe or a current salesperson who isn’t quite meeting your expectations. In either case, Caliper can show you exactly what’s missing. And with that knowledge, you can often build a sales/sales management plan to compensate.
I’m working with a young man right now who has too much aggressiveness and not enough empathy—he’s also the son of the owner. We spend most of our coaching time talking about what he’s hearing from the people he’s talking to; trying to improve his listening skills as a first step toward building his empathy. We’re also working on his aggressiveness by limiting his goals on each individual sales contact. In other words, I’m not pushing him to close the sale every time he talks with someone, just to make a little progress toward that goal. I don’t expect this young man to become a great salesperson, but I do think he can become an effective salesperson, and perhaps more importantly, an effective sales manager when it’s his turn to run the family business.
You can learn more about Caliper at www.caliperonline.com. Alternately, you can just get in touch with me. I can set up a Caliper Profile for you, and I can help you to understand the results, all for the same $295 you’d pay Caliper directly.
Dave Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Cary, NC; a sales and marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of the graphic arts industry. Contact Dave by phone at 800-325-9634 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.davefellman.com. See the ad for Dave’s products and services in Quick Printing and on MyPrintResource.com.