For many business owners, hiring their first salesperson can be a frightening prospect. Will he or she understand the intricacies of merchant accounts? Will the cost of hiring someone new be worth it? Will the new hire be able to streamline the company’s credit card processing? Such uncertainties cannot always be answered completely, but some careful planning will make hiring salesperson number one a smoother endeavor.
1) Verify that this is the right time to bring someone on.
For many, a business launch represents the culmination of years of hard work. There may be a tendency to move too quickly in some areas. Alternatively, fear may prevent some entrepreneurs from taking necessary calculated risks. A business owner must try not to bring a salesperson on either too early or too late. Careful evaluation of one’s business plan and budget constraints is an essential step before putting out a call for sales candidates.
2) Decide on the salary and commissions structure.
There are two main ways to pay a salesperson: salary or commissions. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. A salesperson who is paid a hefty salary in lieu of commissions may become complacent and not work hard enough to court new clients. On the other hand, a salesperson who gets the bulk of his or her pay through commissions may become desperate for money and place undue pressure on potential clients as a result. Such pressure could negatively impact a company’s image.
3) Consider candidates with solid past performance.
Business owners may get the best results by selecting proven sales leaders. Someone with a verified history of past sales will undoubtedly perform well. On the other hand, such candidates tend to command higher salaries. A recent college graduate with something to prove might also be a good choice.
4) Quiz each candidate on the technical side of sales.
No matter if a potential salesperson is proven or not, he or she should be fluent in technical aspects such as credit card processing and the structure of merchant accounts. When untrained salespeople are hired, time should be spent training them.