When it comes to hiring, Sales Managers have it tougher than most. Why? Because a lot of sales candidates know exactly how to sell themselves. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to be good at selling your products or services.

In fact, the least successful salespeople are often the best at interviewing for sales jobs—after all, they get lots of practice. Here’s one way to uncover an impostor in your sales employee selection: Get granular.

Most sales impostors are great at generalities. You tell them you need a cold caller and they start talking about how persistent they are, how quickly they connect with buyers, how much they love the thrill of the hunt. But they stumble when it comes to specifics. And that’s how to smoke them out:

YOU: How many cold calls do you make a week in your current job?

IMPOSTOR: Hmmm, I’d say about 30.

YOU: And how often do you reach the decision maker?

IMPOSTOR: Oh, boy, about … 15?

YOU: And of those 15, how many agree to an appointment?

IMPOSTOR: Geez, let me think … maybe 50%.

YOU: Really? You convert 50% into appointments? My best guy only does 30%.

IMPOSTOR: Well, no, wait a minute. Maybe a third is more accurate.

This impostor is busted. It’s clear he has no idea what the “right” answer is—because he’s never really done the job. Getting granular forces potential hires to show their cards. If they’re legit, they’ll have no problem discussing numbers that make perfect sense. If they’re pretenders, they’ll avoid the question or resort to generalities. Either way, you win.


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