ACCEPTING CANDIDATES FROM OTHER INDUSTRIES………… WHEN DOES IT WORK?
1. When you’ve verified the candidate has a working knowledge of your product line.
How?….It could be exposure to the business because it was their spouses or father’s occupation or their personal hobby.
2. When the selling cycle, buyers and dollar amounts are similar.
3. When it’s their hobby and they love the product or service. And, of course, they can communicate reasons why you should let them gamble with your dollars.
Can furniture sales people sell landscaping? Can copier reps sell technology? Are retail sales skills transferable into consulting sales?
No problem. The ability to change jobs was never more obvious than from my career. I changed from selling signs to security systems to office copiers to cellular phones to video distribution to management consulting services to outplacement services to recruiting.
If someone has performed as a sales achiever in a different industry and they earnestly want to sell the product you offer for personal reasons, THEY PROBABLY CAN.
If they are being called passionately, they may be a great hire.
AND, if you need to analyze their ability, try this…
Was their background B to B? Some sales people do better with the consumer than to other businesses. Also, consider that many sales people gravitate to B-B because they learned how to sell in a B-C environment and left because of the hours. Get a commitment here that hours won’t be the issue. You’ll probably have to guess for them if they can handle it. Is the guy with three kids who play soccer going to be around on the weekend? Doubt it.
Did they sell 8 or 10 of a product monthly or did they sell a product that’s purchased every three months? Some reps need constant “hits” of success or they lose interest. A long cycle makes them impatient and they lose focus.
Was their product technical with a long learning curve? If so, they may be the patient type who needs a longer selling cycle. They may sell 4 deals a year and do $1,000,000. If you’re asking this person to switch gears and make sales weekly then consider that might not be their style. They won’t close often enough which is necessary in a shorter cycle
Some sales people are strong at creating an emotional buy. That is with a very short selling cycle, sometimes as in office equipment or in home sales, and possibly auto sales.