Business Scoop

Launch of Testing Service helps identify Salespeople

Press Release – Achievement Discoveries

Launch of New Zealand online testing service helps identify the right sales people for retail
Retailers could avoid a lot of pain on the staff turnover, productivity and sales fronts if they became more targeted in recruiting people with the right aptitudes for retail sales, says a leading international careers advisor.

CEO of New Zealand based Achievement Discoveries, Brian Noble, says the research shows that most leaders – which includes store managers – tend to make snap hiring decisions within a few minutes of meeting somebody, which is a mistake.

Speaking on the eve of the launch of a new online test called ‘Natural Gifts & More Pre-Recruitment’ – which is designed to help businesses with high staff turnover better evaluate potential hires – Noble says, “People pride themselves on being able to ‘tell right away if somebody is a fit’, but that’s just not accurate.

“If we were able to make accurate judgements of people, there wouldn’t be such a high turnover of staff and failure rates. For example, people hire people who can’t sell, don’t like selling or they struggle to learn the point-of-sale technology, so they don’t last.

“The consequence is that retailers don’t want to invest in their staff, in terms of training and personal development, because they know staff will probably move on soon and in part they’re right – you can’t train sales people; they’re born, not made,” says Noble.

He says the ability to build rapport with customers and sell product comes down to natural gifts and talents which can only be enhanced with training.

“Many retailers struggle because they employ check-out people instead of sales people, which means they reduce their capability to up-sell, cross-sell and even just close the sale,” he says

There are three key aptitudes that are important when it comes to determining a person’s ability to be a good salesperson.

1. Work orientation

Noble says that retail sales is about getting the customer to buy the product.

“When you have a ‘generalist’ leaning person, you have somebody who naturally wants to get results through other people. They have an innate desire to encourage, promote and get the prospect to reach a buying decision.

“At the opposite end of the spectrum, a person with a specialist orientation will try to push the individual into buying because they are totally focussed on just getting the sale, and that pushes customer away.”

2. High idea speed

Noble says idea speed aptitude enables people who have a mid-range idea speed to quickly come up with multiple ways to sell the product or service.

“They’ll try to sell an item one way, and if that doesn’t work they’ll respond with another idea.”

3. Mid-range conclusion speed

“People with mid-range conclusion speed naturally observe how the customer responds and behaves – what they respond positively towards and what they don’t – and the mid-range conclusion speed person will endeavour to understand the customer and avoiding making snap judgements,” says Noble.

The other critical factor in retail sales is the rising dominance of technology – including retail point of sale solutions like New Zealand’s own Vend software – and the difference between those who are able to learn quickly and cope with regular software updates and improvements, and those that are not.

“If a person has a low conclusion speed it’s usually because they are naturally cautious – they avoid risks and potentially over-think things. This means they may struggle with evolving technology.”

Noble says the cost of replacing staff has been measured at between 160 –180 per cent of a sales person’s annual salary.

“We are churning through sales people because we hire the wrong people and then train the wrong people on our products and services, hoping to make them better sales people. Because what they’re doing is not within their natural gifts, they don’t enjoy the work and are very likely to leave within a short space of time. It becomes very expensive.

“Whereas when you hire a person with a mid-range conclusion speed you’ll find that they won’t make snap judgements. They’re more likely to sell more product to more people, making them all-round profitable and productive – these are the people you should invest in to retain,” says Noble.

Noble says one organisation that Achievement Discoveries worked with reduced their sales staff by 55 per cent, but increased sales by 150 per cent.

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