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Non-stop Talkers Know It All's Listening Sales and Selling Screening Applicants Job Interviews Reference Checking Stereotyping

One of our better sales reps suggested we interview an acquaintance of his for an important sales position. Several of us met with this applicant individually, and then we all went to dinner with him. In both meetings, I found him to be loud, opinionated, and hardly listening, but everyone else thought he was great. They all said this guy is a born salesman. I have real doubts. What can I do?

There is a lingering misconception that great salespeople have the gift of gab, while the truth is that today’s best salespeople have the gift of listening. These successful salespeople focus very carefully on the needs, behaviors, and reactions of their customers, and they are using all of their senses in this process.

At the same time, perhaps the rest of the group believes that this candidate’s strong style is appropriate for your customers, especially in light of the recommendation of one of your better reps. It is also possible the buyers who deal with this applicant react favorably to his forceful approach, or maybe he has built strong relationships with them as a result of quality products, keeping commitments, and overall service.

Although you personally were not impressed with this individual, the best calibration of his sales ability is his sales history. Your own rep has some data on this, and it will be very important for other references to be taken as well. This applicant may be loud, but the references should speak even louder.

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