If profit drives business, what drives profit? Sales.
A sales representative is obviously integral to this. To customers, they become the personification of your company.
This analogy is even more applicable to an outside sales rep. Away from your own establishment, they become the sole representation of your company. They’re your company walking and talking in the field.
This is why finding the right one is so important. If your company was a person, they better be charming, well-dressed, and smooth-talking.
Now for the meat of this pie: how to find the best rep. Let’s jump right into it with tip number one.
1. Set Your Ideal
You’re looking for an outside sales representative. It seems simple enough.
The title is its own description. If you agree with that, you clearly don’t know what you’re looking for. Therefore, setting clear goals is the very first step of the hiring process.
To discover your ideal, evaluate your company and your existing workforce. What does your company need? Who can work well with your current employees?
As an outside sales rep, they should present an appealing profile. To know what that profile looks like on a resume, set your ideals for the following:
- Educational background
- Experience and sales history
- Relevant skills and talents
- Technical knowledge
These standards will make it easier for you to sift through applications. Some the standards like adaptability and people skills, you can’t judge off of a resume. Save those for the interview.
2. Make a Compelling Job Listing
You know what you want to catch; now to set the bait.
Your job listing is essentially an ad. Except, it’s not like attracting customers where anyone will do as long as they purchase. This time, quality trumps quantity.
You’re writing for that ideal candidate. You’re trying to sell your job offer to them. It should be impactful enough to attract attention and informative to keep the attention of truly competent applicants.
For the first half of the sentence: impactful. What should the listing look like?
Make sure your potential applicants even find your listing in the first place. Include keywords applicants would typically search for. These could be casual or shortened lingo like “rep” instead of “representative.”
Your listing should be straightforward and easy to navigate. Don’t bore readers with big blocks of text; instead, use headers and bullet points. And make sure it’s mobile-friendly.
Make sure it looks good and is easy to read. It’s not just an ad for the job, but also for your company. This could be the first and only impression they get if they don’t proceed to look you up.
The second half of the sentence: informative. What should your listing contain?
Your title is important to your visibility, so optimize. Use keywords and check what job titles your competitors are using.
Provide realistic expectations from the job, like work hours and travel requirements. Include the skills they need to have. Even the tools and programs they should be able to use.
This will be the bulk of your information. So, be clear and specific. Try letting other people read it first and ask if they understand.
Don’t copy and paste the company’s description. Describe what a regular workday looks like. Sweeten the pot by including company benefits.
3. Find Them in the Real World
If you want to find an animal, go to their natural habitat. If you’re looking for an outside sales rep, go outside.
Go to Networking Events
While you’re looking for a job candidate, candidates are also looking for jobs. Hence these networking events. These could be as casual as happy-hour meetups or more structured like career fairs.
Scout for Them in Locations They Work At
The best way to judge an outside sales rep is to watch them in action. They meet customers face-to-face in locations depending on what your company deals in. So, look out for conferences, trade shows, and events within your industry.
Ask for Referrals
Talk to people within your industry: clients or other companies you work with. They can recommend sales reps that have convinced them or brokered for them in the past.
Looking for an outside sales representative, IRL is especially effective for finding a manufacturers representative. Outsourcing a sales rep from a manufacturer’s representative firm can better ensure trained and experienced representation.
4. Study Their Applications Thoroughly
You get quite a lot from the written applications potential candidates send in, especially if you require a cover letter. These are some important qualities you can infer from their application alone.
Their Writing Quality
Quality means original, appropriately articulate, and convincing. So no generic cover letter copied off the internet or overused content. Customers can get a feel for your speech style and persuasiveness through the cover letter alone.
You can analyze their sales strategy through the sales achievements on their resumes. However, don’t just look at their sales numbers. Instead, think about whether their methods can work with your company’s marketing strategy.
5. Interview Like a Customer
There’s probably a better way to put this: They should be able to sell themselves to you.
Now that you’ve sold them the job offer, time for them to return the gesture. If they can’t catch your attention, keep it, and convince you to hire them, they won’t be convincing customers either.
This will be your first real look at them. Here are what you should be paying attention to:
Who Stands Out?
First impressions are powerful. Your first impression of them would likely be your customers’ first impression as well. So, again, put yourself in the mind of your customers.
How Do They Present Themselves?
After initial impressions, observe how they continue to hold themselves. Observe their personality, speaking, body language, people skills, and even wardrobe choices. You should be able to picture them representing your brand.
Can They Think Fast and Critically?
The burden of testing this lies on both sides. On your end, you should also be asking questions relevant to their job. You can test how they would respond in the job setting with sales exercises.
Get the Best Representation With an Outside Sales Rep
Your outside sales rep becomes the face of your brand in the real world. To some of your customers, they’re their direct link to your company.
There are more unpredictable circumstances and less backup in the field. Hence, resourcefulness and versatility are a must. If you want to find the sales rep with the best game, you need to up your own recruitment game.
Check out our other guides to bring your company to the next level!