ArticlesSales Management

Hiring--A Vital Key In Sales Management Success

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Recently, I was asked to spend some time on the telephone, coaching a client's administrative assistant on how to check out an employment candidate's references. After each in-person or telephone conference, I complete a brief written report going over the information discussed. The information that I gave this worker was so vital to the company's overall sales management success that I felt impelled to share the report in my periodic client e-mailings, feeling that it might be of value to others that I serve. The information is so vital to the management process, I decided to reproduce it here as well.

After over 22 years of advising managers, I'm convinced that the hiring process is the primary key to management success. If you hire right, your job of managing staff is made much easier. Here are the suggestions I made along these lines:


It was good to talk to you yesterday.

As we discussed, the assignment you've been given by management to call each sales support candidate's references, is vital to the company's future sales success. As I teach in my coaching workshop, if you work hard at the hiring process, it makes managing staff members much easier over the long term.

You were right when you commented that calling references "is not that easy." I agree that there is resistance by many business owners and managers to giving out information in today's litigious business environment. However, the process we discussed can help you overcome this refusal to help you complete this important assignment.

The Steps To Checking References:

1. You need to obtain from three to five business references from each of the candidates approved by management.

2. Call the candidate's references and use the following script in your own words to obtain the information needed to make an informed decision in hiring a given candidate:

"We plan on giving (candidate first name) extensive training to help her (him) to be successful in this new position. Could you please help me with several suggestions on areas we need to train (candidate) so she (he) can make a smooth transition?"

3. Next, ask the reference to give you two or three names of other managers or co-workers who could give you insight into helping the candidate make the transition.

4. Then, call the reference's references and use the same script outlined in step two above to elicit additional information about the candidate.

It's so easy to make a couple of calls and then give up on finding information. You really need to work hard at this process to help management make sound decisions about the top candidates for a given position. This assignment is vital to producing consistent sales success.

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge?, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touch?, Bank One, Jefferson Pilot, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publicantions a dividion of Thompson Learning. He has also authored a client acclaimed Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides. To obtain a substantial discount on two of Virden's new manuals, 101 Sales Myths and Organizing For Sales Success, check the listings on The $elling Edge, Inc. website at:

Note: You can contact Virden at:

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