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Ronda Anderson -What makes a good sales person?

Transcript of the interview of Ronda Anderson

David Laroche: According to you, what makes a good seller?

Ronda Anderson: What makes a good sales person?

David Laroche: Yes.

Ronda Anderson: Almost anybody could be a good sales person. The chief characteristic of a good sales person is somebody who is really clear about who they are, the value they're bringing, what they're doing, and who they're speaking to. Those are all qualities that can be developed.

David Laroche: When you work for a company like Monsanto, for example… do you know Monsanto?

Ronda Anderson: Yes.

David Laroche: Maybe it would be hard to have the same values and sell something that may destroy the lives of people.

Ronda Anderson: I share your view that it destroys the lives of people, but underlying that question is the idea that their products destroy the lives of people. That's built into that question.
So if you believe that, you probably wouldn't have applied for a job there to sell what they're doing because there would be an inconsistency in their values and your values, to begin with.
But let's pretend that you had no idea what they did and you desperately needed a job. You ended up in their sales force (I'm not even sure they have one, but let's say they did) as a sales person. In order to be really good, in order to be really effective, what you would have to do is figure out a way to line up your values with their values.
You would have to find out what it was that they did that you could align with provided that the things that they do that you can't align with don't outweigh that.
In any situation, if you're in a company and you don't align with their values, go somewhere else. That's the simplest thing. Go somewhere else.
By the way, there's a direct relationship between your level of personal confidence and personal power which are both a result of clarity and really knowing who you are and being really clear about your own values that gives you a certain level of personal power.
When you've got that kind of clarity and you can stand on center with yourself, you know that you can sell any product.
And so, if you happen to end up in a company whose values you don't align with, it's very easy to take that show on the road and just go somewhere else. You're not at the mercy of the company when you have a strong personal power base.

David Laroche: If I have to hire a sales person, according to you, do I have to find someone who has this personal power or do I have to help him to find who he is?

Ronda Anderson: The answer to that is, if you have a passion and a talent for bringing out other people’s gifts and for helping them develop their personal power, then, by all means, bring somebody on for whom you can provide that.
If that's not what you're up to and you're just looking for somebody who can come in and get the job done, then, hire somebody who’s already developed that.
David Laroche: So it's a good strategy to find someone who doesn't have that because you will…

Ronda Anderson: You'll mold them.

David Laroche: Yes, and maybe he will discover what I am doing, for example.

Ronda Anderson: Yes.

David Laroche: He will maybe be more impactful if he believes a lot in what I'm doing if it works for him.

Ronda Anderson: Yes. That part of that growing up together process creates a certain bond.

David Laroche: To find a good person, what are the criteria if I can help them to build their personal power? How do we find a sales person who will last not only for one month?

Ronda Anderson: The first thing you have to do is that you, the business owner, have to get a clear picture of what is important to you. Especially if your goal is to begin to develop this person, then, you want to make sure that, first of all, you don't hire anybody that you wouldn't take home for a barbecue because you're going to be working with this person day in and day out and you're going to be pouring a lot of your own personal love, attention, and energy into them; and you want to make sure this person is going to reciprocate.
So the first thing is that you need to be really clear as the business owner, “What is important to me?” And you're going to have the tangible and the intangible.
For example, right now, I'm working with a client to build a sales team for him. There are two things that we have to define.
First of all, when you go out to hire a sales person, certain sales skills are very trainable. You can train people to do them. So you almost never want to hire for those skills. You want to screen people in or out as a result of those skills but you don't necessarily want to hire for them. What you want to hire for are the intangible qualities that you can't train.
Those qualities for this particular company are—are they committed? Are they loyal? Do they fit our team culture? Are they looking for a job or are they looking for this job?
There are some intangible things that the candidate has to bring to the party that you can't give them.
What are the intangible things that I can't put into a human being?
A desire to learn, a desire to grow—you can't make somebody else have that; you can't train somebody else to have that. They either have it or they don't.
So you look for these qualities; and then, you say, “Do I want to build a sales person from scratch, in which case, previous experience, prospecting doesn't matter?”
But if you don't want to start at that level, then, that would be one of the criteria that you'd look for. If they already have experience doing certain parts of a similar sales process, then, they may be the ideal candidate. But, mainly, what you're looking for are those intangible things.

David Laroche: How do you know if someone is committed?

Ronda Anderson: There are a number of ways that you can tell. First of all, you would set up your interview process to uncover it.
And in a lot of the questions that you would ask, you would look at past track record. You'd listen to the way they talk about what they've done in the past and what they want to do in the future. You would ask certain interview questions that were designed to uncover not just work but areas in their life where they have or have not demonstrated commitment.
For example, being a good team player is important to a lot of companies that are going to build a scalable sales team where they know there are going to be several sales people working together and they must work together as a team.
So a good screening question for that is, have you ever played competitive sports? And the answer is “yes” or “no.” If they have, “Tell me about it.” The way they describe the sport they played tells me about them.
And then, I'll ask, “Tell me about a time that you failed.”
As an example, a guy told me one time that he played competitive soccer and he was on this team that was the underdog. They weren’t supposed to win but they just went on a streak and they were winning, winning, winning all the way up to the cup. And then, the last minute, the goalie blew it.
That's not a team player. It's not a being a team player when you say, “All the way up to the last minute, somebody on the team caused a loss.”
So listen. The way they describe their experiences tells you about the way they process life and information.

David Laroche: If you want to build a sales team and you find someone very powerful in sales but who is not a team player, what do you think about that? He may be powerful if he's alone.

Ronda Anderson: Exactly. So if you're going to have a sales team that goes out on their own on individual things, then, it may not matter that he's not a good team player. Being a good team player is neither good nor bad. It's like a tool, right?
If you need to hammer a nail in the wall, don't pick up a screwdriver. Choose the right tool.
So if you have a sales person and the sales process is a solitary individual one that doesn't require a lot of teamwork, then, a really good sales person who’s not necessarily a great team player could be okay provided the other value is lined up with you, the business owner.
On the other hand, in a lot of the turnarounds that I've done, the top sales person or the top sales manager had to go because they couldn't be a team player and because it was more important to them to be the best. They didn't just want to be the best like “I want to continue to grow and be my personal best and expand and get better and better.” It was, “I need to be better because I have to beat you.”
There's a difference between wanting to be the best and wanting to be better than everybody else which, by the way, is another key to discovering if somebody’s a team player or not—when they talk about where they rank in a previous sales organization or in a previous competitive environment.

David Laroche: What do you think if someone wants to take the place of the manager?

Ronda Anderson: What do you mean?

David Laroche: If you're interviewing someone and, obviously, he wants to rise in the company? What do you think?

Ronda Anderson: I think that's a wonderful thing. In fact, I far prefer to hire people like that. I would rather take a chance on somebody who has that as a primary motivator and who is probably somebody who wants to grow and expand.
Now, the caveat to that is you listen to their language. Is it somebody who just wants to live in that title and live in that role or is it somebody who wants to contribute at that level?
If a person comes into your company saying, “I think I could make a powerful difference. I know who I am and I know what I bring. I'm willing to start at the bottom but I believe that with the right opportunities and the grooming and getting to know the company and understanding everything, I could make a powerful difference in this organization in these ways,” I love that.
But if you come in and say, “I'll go ahead and start here but I'm going to need to be a manager in six months,” you're not speaking contribution. You're not telling me anything about the value that you want to bring the organization. You're telling me what you want.
Listen to the language and it will tell you how they're oriented.

David Laroche: That's great!

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