What factors do you look at when evaluating potential sales people? If you’re like most employers, you weigh the candidate’s experience, track record, and industry contacts. But no matter how carefully you analyze these criteria, sales hiring often remains hit-or-miss. Why? A number of our PRO discussions have revolved around this hiring conundrum. After all, PRO groups are made up of small business owners who meet each month to discuss such problems and brainstorm solutions. One of the ideas to emerge from our PRO meetings is the concept of hiring salespeople on the basis of their sales “type” or personality, rather than experience alone. This means matching the person’s sales personality to the requirements of a particular sales job. As one PRO member tells his new salespeople, “I can’t give you what your mother didn’t give you!” If someone doesn’t have the right personality, no amount of training will make him a star.

To this end, we have identified three types of sales personalities:

The Finder

The Finder is an aggressive go-getter-the classic rainmaker. The Finder loves the thrill of the hunt. Typically, once a sale is clinched, the Finder is off on the trail of his or her next quarry. The Finder is the one you want when your priority is bringing in new accounts-not servicing them long term. Don’t expect the Finder to follow through on service issues; he’ll leave that to others. If you’re hiring Finders, you better have a strong support staff in place. Typically, the Finder is terrific on the road, but may have few allies in-house. If team-building is important to you, think carefully about hiring a Finder. However, what you need is a no-holds barred rainmaker, the Finder is your best choice.

The Minder

The Minder, on the other hand, is a relationship builder. She (or he) is a “people-person” and a problem-solver. The Minder’s goal is not the conquest of a single sale, but rather the forging of mutually beneficial long-term relationships. The Minder is committed to client satisfaction and considers ongoing service part of the sale. If acquiring continued business from existing clients is a large part of your operation, The Minder is the one for you. She will not generate the dazzling production numbers of the Finder, but her persistency ratios tend to be high-and she’s a team player.

The Grinder

As the name implies, the Grinder is a relentless plodder. Rejection won’t stop him. Repetition doesn’t bother him. The Grinder has neither the Finder’s flair nor the Minder’s service standards. However, when it comes to high-volume sales calls-such as grueling door-to-door sales-he is the one who will get the job done.

What “Type” is Right For You?

To identify your ideal sales personality, consider the products or services you sell and the way they are sold. Do you need a bold salesperson? A persistent one? Or someone who is a bit of a service rep, too? In the past, what salespeople got the best results? Once you answer these questions, hiring will become much easier.

Training Your New Hire

Hiring wisely doesn’t mean you can eliminate training. Unfortunately, many small businesses fail to properly prepare their salespeople. Directing trainees to study the product catalog and hang around the office does not equal sales training. Most of the time, all it usually does is program your people for failure. Successful, sales-driven companies have proven sales presentations that work. New salespeople are taught how to give this presentation and answer anticipated objectives. They rehearse until its second nature. Trainees should accompany experienced salespeople on calls, to observe and learn. Eventually, the trainees should begin presenting, while the veteran observes and critiques their performance. Remember: your salesperson represents you and your company. Choose wisely, train thoroughly-and don’t send salespeople into the field until you’re sure they’re read to represent you well.