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Three Unconventional Approaches to Hiring Sales Reps

Recruitment firms

It’s interesting to note that, while society in general might be questioning the value of majoring in the humanities, major companies are quietly working behind the scenes to snap up students in fields like anthropology and sociology. Google just hired an ethnographer, Intel has an in-house cultural anthropologist, and some reports say that Microsoft is the second-largest anthropologist employer in the world. So what gives?

Many businesses are realizing that the focus of sales — and business itself — should be about giving customers what they truly need in their lives, rather than what the company assumes they want, or hopes that they will eventually come to want with enough marketing. As Business Insider points out, anthropologists and others involved with the social sciences “can arrive at customer insights that big data tends to gloss over, especially around the role that products play in people’s lives.”

This sort of approach to business is something you should consider if you are in the process of hiring sales reps — which most businesses do fairly perpetually. Here are three more offbeat tips for finding the truly best salespeople for your company.

1. Introversion isn’t Always a Bad Thing

It’s no secret that when companies try to find sales people, they often look for the extroverts who are naturally attuned to drawing people into conversation and are confident in their abilities to go forward. While extroverts often are, indeed, the right personality fit for the job, it’s worth examining the value introverts can lend to sales. Introverts are often by nature better listeners than talkers — this can be an invaluable trait when a salesperson is trying to match a service with what their customer truly needs. An extrovert might be so eager to talk that they miss the underlying issue the customer has with the initial offered service.

2. Consider Hiring Sales Reps Outside the Box

Weebly.com doesn’t outsource its call center to Asia — instead, when customers call, they’re likely speaking to a customer service representative that’s working from their living room. The co-founder and COO, Dan Veltri, realized that there was a large-pool of highly qualified stay-at-home parents out there. These employees can be great for sales teams that work largely over the phone and at the computer. Giving them the flexibility their lives need can also lead to a highly loyal sales team that isn’t going to up and leave you in six months for a better position.

3. Hire Someone You Don’t Like

Psychologists have documented an interesting trend among hiring managers: once the base qualifications are taken care of, they tend toward hiring people they’d like to be friends with, thereby potentially excluding more highly qualified candidates. Although it doesn’t make sense to hire someone that is rude or abrasive, it can be detrimental to your overall sales team structure to only hire a certain type of person. Sometimes you need to go against your own gut feeling and hire the person who’s going to offer a different range of opinions and methodology.

Do you have tips for hiring sales reps? Let us know in the comments.

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