How to Hire the Right Salesperson for Your Small Business

Selling is key if you want to stay in business. But as a busy business, you will soon get to the point where you need to get some help to sell more of your services or products. But what is the right way to add a salesperson to your small business.

Hiring a salesperson is important to the long-term success of a business, but you must know what you want. As my friend, Jill Konrath, who's a National Sales Expert, said, "You've got to know what you want to achieve in selling, otherwise your salesperson will have no guidance, and it's a costly mistake." So that this doesn't happen to you, I want to show you a few pointers for hiring a salesperson.

Begin by Knowing What You're Looking for
Before you begin the hunt, decide exactly what kind of sales assistance you need. Are you looking for a consultant who can spend a few hours selling your products or services each week, or someone to commit full-time to your organization? How will you pay them? Commission, salary, or a combination of both? The better you define the role, your needs, and your compensation structure the more likely you are to attract quality talent.

Get Smart
Just like it's a good idea to have a basic understanding of accounting even if you hire an accountant, you should also be comfortable with developing a sales process, if you want to hand it over to a professional. Spend time getting to know your customer. Get clear on your sales cycles. When does the budget's renew for the year? What's the best place to reach them with your marketing message? (i.e. email, phone or social media) Create a document outlining buyer personas, existing customers and target customers can help not only you get a handle on your sales process, but it can also guide your new salesperson.

Be Candid
When you meet with a potential salesperson, be open and honest about your needs. I cannot stress how important it is to find the right fit for your business and goals, and you'll find the right individual only if you share where your company is currently (even if it's not doing so well) and where you want to take it. Then sit back and let him or her talk. You want to find someone who has confidence and ideas about how you can make more money. They should have experience doing that for past employers or clients, and if they've already got contacts in your industry, that's even better.

Check with Your Network
I recently hired a saleswoman who was referred to me by someone who was an expert sales trainer in my professional network. Because our relationship started outside of my seeking to hire someone, I had a better understanding of her personality than if she had been trying to impress me in an interview. If you don't know of anyone who might be a good fit in your sales role, ask your network. That includes online and offline contacts, as well as even friends or family. Explain what you're looking for, and see if anyone can send you a good referral. My new salesperson is amazing, because who knew us both thought we would work well together, and we do. She's killing the game in my business.

You can conduct a probationary period with your new salesperson if you'd like. Work together for 90 days to give them a chance to get to know how you run things and see if they can dig up a few new sales. If you like their work, extend the offer to a permanent one.

It can be a challenge to find and hire a great salesperson, but if you get the right person on your team; you'll grow your business even more. Four hands can get a lot more done than two hands. If you double the number of people out selling for your business, you might just be able to double your revenue too.