how to hire an online sales specialist

How do I find just the right person for my Online Sales position?

Many builders ask us that very question. They wonder…

“Do I need a geek? Do they need real estate experience? How do we know who is the best person to hire?”

Let’s face it, this is a unique position that requires a specific skill set. That means you need a hiring process to attract top talent. You don’t necessarily need the candidate with the most experience; rather, the one who possess the greatest drive, the right attitude, and the ability to follow a process to convert more of your prospects to appointments.

In this article we’re sharing the 10-step process that has helped the DYC team hire hundreds of top performing Online Sales Specialists on behalf of our builder partners. First, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

It’s an audition….

Think of this hiring process as more of an audition. Because of the interview structure and what we are asking them to do, we actually get to experience their customer service prowess, communication, response times, etc. in real time. As you take a candidate through the hiring journey, you are getting a sneak peek of how they will treat your customers. They should be the best version of themselves, so pay close attention to their performance.

It’s a virtual process, until the end….

All initial communication should be conducted via phone, text and email. Why? Because this is exactly how your prospects and future customers will interact with this person, so it is crucial that you do the same. DO NOT be tempted to hold an in-person interview prematurely; in fact, the only time you will need to meet the candidate in-person is when he or she is in the final stage of the interview process.

The 10-Step Hiring Process:

1) Post Online

Post the job opening on online job sites such as Indeed.com. Of course, word of mouth from current employees will likely provide referrals, but make sure you follow this same process with every candidate, no matter where they come from.

2) Email Only

Encourage candidates to email their resumes; no calls initially.

3) Send a Questionnaire

When you receive a resume and inquiry from a qualified candidate, reply with an email questionnaire. Half of the applicants will not even fill this out, so it helps to narrow the candidate field.

4) Request a Phone Interview

Once the applicant responds with the completed questionnaire and you are satisfied with the results (pay attention to writing skills), respond with an email requesting a phone interview and ask the person to both email and call/text to confirm a time.

5) Compare Responses

Conduct the phone interview using similar questions as the questionnaire. You will gauge verbal communication and cross-check previous answers.

6) Evaluate Follow-Up

Once the phone interview is complete, advise the applicant that you will be in touch. Allow one day for any email response or thank you from the candidate. Evaluate the candidate’s follow-up process to determine if they have the essential skills and drive. Remember, if they don’t follow up with you, they likely won’t with your prospects.

7) Request DISC Profile

Send a request to your final candidates to take a brief profile test. We leverage the DISC profile – you can get a free version here. The test results will give insight into their work habits and personality. Ask each person to complete the test and email you the results. This step provides another opportunity to assess email communication and response time.

8) Final Phone Interview

Conduct the final phone interview with upper management. Get down to the specifics and, as one of the final steps, role play a call. Give the candidate a simple scenario of finishing a prospect call and asking for an appointment. Listen to how they handle a simple objection. After they finish, give them some pointers and feedback. You aren’t looking for the right answer (they rarely get it) but how coachable they are.

9) Request a Video email

As the final step, ask each candidate to visit http://bombbomb.com/bb/ , register, and then send you a video message with a one-minute description of why he/she will be the best person for the position (offer no further instructions; determine if they can figure it out).

10) Conduct an In-Person Interview

When you feel really good about one or two candidates, bring them in. Have them meet the team and spend some time in the field touring communities and interacting. This will help you identify anything you might have missed in the “virtual” process and see how they interact in a team environment in real life.

The Goal…

When you conduct the hiring process in this manner, you will quickly and efficiently drill down to only the most driven and qualified candidates. We jokingly refer to this as the gauntlet. You might be wondering if all these steps are necessary. The short answer is YES. Remember what you are trying to identify in a future superstar:

  • Are they diligent?
  • Can they communicate well over the phone and email?
  • Are they responsive? Enthusiastic?
  • Can they follow a process?
  • Can they use technology?
  • Do they make you excited?

A few final pointers from our experience:

Job Posting Title:

Title the role “Inside Sales Representative.” This is more recognizable to the general public, whereas Online Sales Specialist or Online Sales Counselor is more of an industry term. Most people understand what inside sales involves.

Break out the Megaphone

We get a lot of 911 calls. “Mike help, we don’t have any candidates…what do we do?” We ask if you have:

  • Posted the job on your website?
  • Shared it internally with your staff?
  • Asked staff to share on their social or linked in profiles?
  • Incentivized staff if they recommend a hire?
  • Shared the position with your network?
  • Boosted the ad on hiring sites?
  • Created a social ad and promoted?
  • Called your industry contacts?
  • Put your marketing hat on?

You can see it takes work, but with a little guerrilla marketing and grassroots PR effort, you’ll get the word out. Your next Online Sales Superstar is out there and probably connected to a current employee or someone you know. Hope is not a strategy, so you’ll need a bulletproof process to make it happen.

 

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