Never ask a candidate to sell you your product

A very common interview tactic that I see over and over again is the “You want this job? Sell me my product!” I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to tell sales leaders to STOP this practice.

This tactic proves absolutely NOTHING about the candidate and I have no idea why anyone uses this tactic. In fact, it speaks more to the immaturity of the interviewer than it does to the talent of the candidate.

This candidate will have to base their ENTIRE pitch on your marketing materials, website, etc. and do so without any context or training. In addition, a great sales rep will research your company and ask questions and have prepped how the product could be used in your company. There is no opportunity for this. If your website and your marketing materials are SO good at describing the product and making the sale, then the question I have is why do you need this sales person?

You are asking the rep to come to a sales call UNPREPARED, without training, and without having done any research. You are just watching them squirm and struggle and judging them on this.

Again… this says NOTHING about whether or not they will be able to succeed.

Don’t ask them to sell you THEIR product. Don’t ask them to sell you a pencil. Don’t engage in role-play at all. It will not get you any closer to figuring out if they will be successful.

Actually have a conversation with the prospect. See how they engage in real conversation. How they talk about past wins and past losses. How they think about pipeline creation, and follow-up.

It is your job to train them on your product. And most likely, your marketing materials don’t tell the story.

I’ve hired dozens and dozens of successful sales reps and I’ve NEVER asked them to sell me my product BEFORE they were hired.

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