by Wendy Mack & Tracey Wik / December 18, 2018
In previous posts we talked about how to use predictive assessments to help select candidates with the inherent strengths and required skills for specific sales roles. In this post, we’ll share some tips for how to use the concept of selling styles to help recruit top candidates for your selling roles.
When we use the term selling styles, we are simply referring the personality types of different salespeople. Since you can’t know the inherent strengths and true skills of candidates at the recruiting stage, we suggest that you begin the process by looking for people with the selling style that best aligns with your primary sales approach. This begins to build a pipeline of people who will at least want to sell the way you need them to. You can then narrow your pool of candidates to the final few by formally assessing strengths and evaluating skills.
So how do you recruit your pool of candidates in the first place? What makes it more or less likely that a seller will respond to your job posting or take your call? The answer lies in understanding how to explain your company and the specific role using words and terms that trigger a “lean in” response.
We’ve found that the three most important attributes that attract sales talent are:
The importance of these attributes and what sellers may be willing to offer in return varies depending on a salesperson’s selling style. For example, closers who are attracted to new business development roles are often willing to accept risk in order to seize exciting opportunities. Builders who are attracted to account management roles are willing to show you that they are self-disciplined enough to earn independence. Expeditors who are attracted to high velocity transactional sales roles are often willing to demonstrate loyalty to gain security. And wizards who are attracted to consultative sales roles will trade independence and accept some risk if they see the opportunity for professional growth.
Closers are often drawn to the Action Approach to sales and will be energized by roles that involve selling innovative products and services to decision makers who have the power or influence to make large, quick purchase decisions.
Closers are usually high energy, fast paced sellers who leave a job only because incentives or commissions are capped, or because the company they work for is in decline.
When recruiting Closers, we suggest recruiting only experienced salespeople from companies who pay most or all of their compensation on commission or bonus. Good Closers usually have to be found by direct personal contact. Very few successful closing salespeople are looking for a job, which means recruiting a Closer requires a bit of extra effort. With this, it’s helpful to note that risks don’t bother them if a great opportunity comes along. In fact, security is almost irrelevant. This is helpful to keep in mind while communicating with Closers – focus on how the role you’re recruiting for might bring them significant upside opportunity in return for willingness to take risks.
Keywords to help you attract Closer candidates for action-oriented roles include:
Wizards are often drawn to the Consultative Approach to sales. They be energized by roles that involve architecting complex solutions and staying connected with their customers well into the implementation and evaluation phases of their initiatives.
Wizards tend to be a bit more academic than the other selling styles. Often Wizards will closely identify with their specialty or discipline. In many cases, Wizards will work in a variety of roles in that specialty area. For this reason, some firms have successfully recruited Wizards who were once buyers of their services or solutions. If your firm offers extensive classroom training, on-the-job training, and mentorships you might successfully recruit Wizard candidates for your consultative sales jobs directly from universities.
Wizards want opportunity for growth and are willing to accept risks and even give up some degree of independence in order to have a shot at opportunities for advancement. These candidates are usually very image conscious (though often reticent to admit it) and seek an employer that has a prestigious professional image and reputation.
Keywords to help you attract Wizard candidates for consultative sales roles include:
Builders are frequently drawn to selling roles that emphasize the Relationship Approach. They may enjoy sales roles that allow them to work with the same customers over a long period of time and where they are seen as a peer and partner to those who make purchasing decisions.
Builders want independence – the freedom to be their own boss. They will exercise discipline and take responsibility for themselves. They become resistant if management gets too much in their way, or if management tries to change the rules and control their selling environment too much. They’ll be loyal as long as they feel they are treated fairly. When recruiting a Builder, make sure to make these aspects of the role very clear to them.
Many Builders get into sales accidentally. They could just as easily have started in some other business. These candidates typically can be found with competitors, distributors, and working for customers. They also often participate in or are interested in sports because of the competitiveness.
Keywords to help you attract Builder candidates for relationship-focused sales roles include:
Expeditors prefer the Velocity Approach to sales where they get to interact with a lot of people and sell through providing responsive service.
Expeditors want job security and are willing to give loyalty in return. Expeditors often have strong commitments to hobbies as well as moderate to high community interests. Those who get to align their interests with work typically develop a high degree of loyalty to both their company and customers.
To understand Expeditors better, it helps to recognize that they balance career ambition with interest in non-work activities. Expeditors can be willing to work very hard and want to succeed, but they don’t necessarily want to narrowly direct their attention toward their work alone. Focus on communicating the importance of work/life balance or the opportunity to serve people when talking to these candidates.
Keywords to help you attract Expeditor candidates for high velocity sales roles include:
Remember, selling styles can help you attract and motivate certain types of sellers, but sales talent decisions based on style alone can backfire. So, don’t stop at styles. After you attract and recruit candidates, you will want to formally evaluate their strengths and skills using tools such as predictive assessments, behavioral interviews, simulations, and reference checks.
To learn more about selling styles and our Triple Fit framework, download our whitepaper, Strengths Styles and Skills – A Triple Fit Approach to Sales Talent. And sign up for our blog so you don’t miss our upcoming post on starting the year right by attracting the sellers you need for the year ahead.