This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Chris Croner. Chris is an entrepreneur and sales psychologist with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He is the founder of SalesDrive which has helped over 1400 companies select and develop high-performance salespeople using their methods and assessment technology.
Chris is also the co-author of the best-selling book, Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again.
I am excited to have Chris on because sales and selling is one of the topics I am very passionate about. Sales are the lifeblood of a business and great salespeople who are devoted to the success of their companies are diamonds in the rough that every entrepreneur should be seeking. Chris has developed the methodology to find and hire them.
www.SalesDrive.info (complimentary assessment)
Chris’s background was in clinical psychology, and he specialized in providing consulting to businesses management. He started at a firm called Whitmer and Associates which specialized in executive assessment. When companies wanted to hire key leaders or new CEO’s, they would hire firms like Whitmer with people Chris that would evaluate them. During this time, he worked to design something as rigorous as the evaluation for executives for salespeople because they are such integral role to the success of a business.
In October of 2002, he began doing that work and then in 2005, he went out on his own and founded SalesDrive and published the first edition of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again in 2006.
For over 20 years, he has been obsessed with studying what makes a great salesperson.
What makes a great salesperson?
- They are hunters who focus on new account acquisition. This is the #1 position companies have a challenge filling.
- They have all the things you would expect relationships skills, good communication skills, etc.
- But there are 3 non-teachable characteristics that are far more important to look for to find a great salesperson.
- #1: The Need for Achievement. They want to do well for the sake of doing well. The naturally want to set the bar high and continue to beat it. They are focused on producing excellence. This is also needed for successful entrepreneurs.
- #2: Competitiveness. They want to be the best. They also want to win the prospect or client over to their point of view.
- #3: They have great optimism and resilience that they will succeed and keep going until they do.
- Those 3 characteristics are what Chris calls Sales “Drive.”
Any other uncommon traits you have found that entrepreneurs should looking for when hiring?
- Thick skin. Can take the rejection.
- It is good if they have 2-3 years of relevant experience at a similar sized company and role. They’ve gone through “Sales 101.”
At the 10 min mark, we talk about how athletes many times lend themselves to the role. But, it is important to look at how they succeeded as athletes and their work ethic compared to their peers as an athlete.
What does it mean to be Driven?
- They must have the 3 elements: Need for achievements, competitiveness, and optimism.
- The one that is most important of the 3 is the Need for Achievement.
- They must have the passion to get every day competing in a incredible tough and hard game in business
- . Research shows that Drive is the easiest thing to fake in an interview, so you must be careful now you interview for it.
Talk to us about personalities. What personality types or combinations work out best?
- DISC is a good general test.
- Chris created the Drive Test specifically for sales.
- Chris shares details about how they setup the Drive Test and it is best to just listen.
I’ve heard you say that resumes lie, and salespeople can do their job in the interview process, tell us more about that and what we should be looking for in the interview process…
- Many people present themselves well but are not a great hunter-salesperson.
- The key is to improve the interview process so that you can discern the difference between what they are telling you that you want to hear vs. who they really are.
- One question you can use when reviewing a resume is the “Magic Wand” question, especially when you seem to get guarded answers. For example, “If you could wave a magic wand and change 3 things about your prior job so that you would have never wanted to leave, what would those be? This opens up to truths you can dig in on.
- You are looking for reliability and consistency through their past.
- The best predictor of future behavior is previous behavior.
- You also want to maintain control of the interview, so come into the interview with your questions written down and then direct the interview.
- It is also your job to be well-prepared. Hiring people is one of the most critical elements to success – don’t wing it. And the cost of a bad hire is tremendous.
Is there a framework that you can share to run a better interview process?
- 3 P’s
- Plan the interview effective and be prepared with questions.
- Probe the past to understand deeply what the candidate has done previously. 2nd, 3rd, 4th level questions. Dig in.
- Patterns. Look for patterns in the interview. Are they responding as well in the beginning of the interview as the end. Are there conflicts/contradictions in their answers.
- Be a little like a prosecutor but ask for their help. “Help me understand….”
- Chris provides a guide with scoring in his book.
Where are the best places to find great salespeople?
- Passive candidates are many times better than active candidates – people that are not looking for a job.
- Make sure they are not a job-hopper.
- Make sure they can show metrics of their success and what they have done.
- They can come from a variety of backgrounds, but are many times attracted entrepreneurial type roles.
- Networking to find them and sharing with others what you are looking for is a great avenue.
- You should always be recruiting and looking.
What about hiring a sales leader or manager? What should an entrepreneur look for there?
- Be careful hiring or rewarding a top performer from an existing team.
- It is different to be successful because of the efforts of others than by your own efforts.
- It is a different type of mindset and focus, because it is not about the leader. It is about the team which a huge shift.
- You will want to hire someone who knows it is not about them, but about helping each individual salesperson succeed and that is their passion.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your own entrepreneur journey?
- The biggest challenge was getting comfort with ambiguity. You have to be comfortable with uncertainty.
- Chris started taking classes at Second City for improve to help him become comfortable with uncertainty and having to deal with the curveballs as they came up and learned to roll with the punches. He used this to help him in his business.
- He learned that market will dictate what it wants, and you must be able to adapt, even if the markets wants something other than you think it does.
Any advice for the entrepreneur when it comes to them selling personally?
- You are the hunter, especially in the beginning.
- Look at it like a process, system.
- You have to not only be a good salesperson but evangelist.
- Focus on the process instead of the goal. Be great at each step.
Best Quote: There are 3 non-teachable characteristics that are far more important to look for to find a great salesperson - the need for achievement, competitiveness, and great optimism.
Chris's Misfit 3:
- You become what you think about. What you spend your time thinking about day to day is what becomes your life.
- Whatever you want in life, work your tail off at it and you will get it. Do whatever it takes and find a way.
- Man’s Search For Meaning: The one freedom no one can take away from you is the ability to control your attitude and the way you respond to things.
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