Sales Rep 736 X 300 2

Who would ever pay $4 for an ordinary rock? Well, about 1.5 million people. That’s how many “pet rocks” from Rosarito Beach Gary Dalh sold in only 6 months in 1975.

His idea came while his friends were complaining about their pets. Gary joked that the best pet would be a rock. Then he took his idea seriously, presented ordinary rocks as animals, and described all the advantages of having a rock as a pet: You don’t have to walk it, you don’t have to feed it, it doesn’t get sick, it doesn’t die. Many people agreed those rocks were the perfect pets, and Gary managed to sell 1.5 million rocks.

Who wouldn’t want to hire Gary as a sales representative? A great salesperson who brings in peak revenue month after month does much more than make cold calls or follow through. A great sales person understands the needs of the market, is up-to-date with the modern technology, has exemplary communication skills, enters data accurately, and has other specific skills that will benefit your company. (You can read more here about the qualities to look for when hiring a sales rep.)

So how can you recognize sales skills easier among your candidates? The truth is that, no matter what people do for a living, they are selling themselves. Just as the most successful businesses communicate a clear value proposition to their customers, the best sales candidates can communicate a clear personal value proposition to you.  So, the first step is to ask them to describe their personal value proposition (PVP)—what qualities will they bring to the position that will add value to your company?

An example of a personal value proposition (PVP)

My name is Maria and I am an accountant with a love for technology.

It seemed like a natural move for me to go into office management

for a temporary staffing organization and specialize in HR-related roles.

After 20 years of experience in this role,

I enjoy sharing nuggets of wisdom any time I get the chance.

I like to help people hire the best staff and build careers, just like I built mine.

Would you hire him/her? Yes.

Match the candidate’s PVP with your organization’s unique value proposition.

After all, we buy from people, not from companies. This is the philosophy of sales: Sales are not business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), they are human-to-human, #H2H. When sales representatives understand their true value and can express it in a PVP, then expressing their company’s value to others is SO much easier. Prospective sales candidates who can sell themselves in an interview in 3 sentences will know how to sell your products and services, too.

An example of a unique value proposition (UVP)

My name is Claire and I work for eSkill. Companies like [name], [name], [name] appreciate the wide selection and customizability of our pre-employment assessments, which allow them hire high performing employees. Using eSkill assessments, they customize and create any skill testing needed to identify candidates who meet their unique job requirements.

If you are willing to give us 15 minutes, I can show you how, on average, our customers saved 50% of the time they once spent in the pre-employment phase by using our customized assessments. What’s the best way to earn your ear for a few minutes and share how your peers how your peers quickly hire and retain the best staff, all while meeting EEOC compliance?

If PVP = UVP, then Candidate = SELLING SKILLS

If the candidate’s personal value proposition matches your organization’s unique value proposition, make sure you select that candidate. A prospective candidate who can articulate a personal value proposition to sell himself or herself will prove that he or she has the most important selling skill of all: persuasiveness. Sales candidates who can clearly articulate a personal value proposition that shows you how they will solve your company’s challenges are the same people who will be able to clearly articulate how your company can solve your customers’ challenges. They are also more likely to establish a quick rapport with prospective customers because they can articulate why and how your company will benefit theirs.

Selling a service, a product or an idea is about doing the right thing for everyone involved and building win-win relationships. In order to identify these sales skills, you can assess your candidates with a sales job-customized test before the interview. Our skills tests quickly and accurately identify candidates’ actual experience and aptitude for productivity and our behavioral tests can reveal candidates’ ethics, job aptitudes, and cultural fit.

You can use eSkill’s sales assessments and customize them to prompt a candidate to write a PVP targeted to your company. eSkill’s sales assessments can also reveal the sales candidate’s other important skills, such as building relationships, DISC personality knowledge, closing deals skills, and overcoming objections. You can easily find out the truth behind the résumés because you can customize your sales assessments by including contextual and personalized questions such as:

Jim, a software sales rep, has just presented his best software solution,

with several options that he felt best addressed the needs of Jeff, CIO of Widget Manufacturing.

Jim felt the presentation went well, and, at the end, he asked Jeff to purchase the software.

Jeff said that the price was too high. What could this mean and what could Jim do and say in order to close the sale?  

Hypothetical and conceptual questions, such as this one, reveal the ability of the candidate to suggest a plan about how they would accomplish this task and, in doing so, reveal their personal value to your company.

How do you select your sales reps? Do you have any special trick or questions that you apply? Let us know in the comments below.


  • Martin says:

    Great article. I have never thought of requesting the candidate describe his or her personal value to the company. This will surely unfold many personality traits and insights about the candidate.

  • Mark says:

    This is a great advice. Good salespeople will use their selling skills during the interview. They will ask you questions, show their knowledge about your company and have their homework done.

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