The sales process starts at the top of the funnel…prospecting. As David Mattson stated in his book The Sandler® Rules, 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them, “You never have to like prospecting…you just have to do it.”
A successful sales candidate will have a very good understanding of the total population of prospects that need to be at the top of the funnel at any point in time.
For example, in the recruiting industry, a recruiter needs to have a population of about 1500 client prospects at any point in time. If a recruiter makes 25 marketing calls each day, each prospective client will be touched once each quarter. These are clients that will potentially give a recruiter an assignment.
The recruiter also knows that the industry average for the number of clients in your funnel that will do business with you any point in time is about 4% or 60 clients. Contingent search assignments are about 25% successful so theoretically, using this formula, a recruiter will make 15 placements a year.
Successful sales candidates should be able to clearly explain their funnel to you and how it relates to their compensation plan.
Most sales reps concentrate on the bottom end of the funnel rather than the top. If a savvy sales professional manages the top of the funnel properly, the bottom will follow.
Most sales slumps can be directly attributed to lack of prospecting three months previously.
So, I would ask the candidate a follow-up question, “Have you ever been in a sales slump?” “What did you attribute the slump to?” “How did you resolve the situation?”
I would be interested in hearing your candidate’s response. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care and have a terrific prospecting week.
Ken Lazar, Principal
Ability Professional Network, LLC
Recruiting Sales and Business Development Professionals