Many attributes make up a talented sales representative, among which are natural charisma, sociability, comfort when interacting with strangers, empathy, and more than just a little bit of wit. Intelligence is also a given requirement since a proper impression cannot be made without knowing how to approach a potential sale.

However, trying to find the right person can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, as even though a thousand people might apply for such a position, only a handful are truly qualified or even remotely fit for the job.

Salespeople have a complicated job. Although the gist of it is fairly straightforward, which is to convince someone of the benefits of buying a particular product, the actual process of convincing them is not as easy as it would seem. A degree in Psychology would be of great help to such a profession, but if you have one, then you’re probably not going to work as a sales representative in the first place.

According to a 2017 study done by HireRight, an estimated 85% of applicants falsified their resumes in some way or another, whether minor or major. That is an extraordinarily high number, making it clear to employers from around the world on how important it is to test a candidate’s abilities before deciding to hire them.

To make matters worse, a regular interview is often not enough to determine a candidate’s true abilities, as there are right answers to every question, and a potential employee might have learned how to game the test, but not how to do the job.

In fact, a 2019 study conducted by the University of Guelph suggests 100% of respondents would lie or stretch the truth in their favor during an interview. This can lead to tragic hires that lead to a severe loss of revenue and a whole lot of bureaucratic stress.

The best way to determine whether or not a potential candidate is savvy enough to be able to conduct sales on a regular basis without breaking down from pressure is to put them through a sales assessment test, which is essentially a simulated situation in which they have to sell you the product in question.

Each company has a different sales assessment process. Traditionally, sales tests are done in person during the interview, although some rare companies choose to ask for them before they have even met the candidate in person. Regardless of choice, the sales assessment test must absolutely be done before a candidate is hired.

The premise is simple. You greet the candidate, break the ice, find out as much information as possible about them, and then spring the test, putting them under a bit of pressure to see just how calm and collected they can remain. Some companies choose to keep the testing separate from the interview, which means that they book two meetings instead of just one.

Seeing how they approach the sale is important as well, since delivering tailored presentations of the product is key in trying to gain customers. Sales representatives must be both social and able to pick the brain of the consumer in order to glean what exactly it is they want or need so as to use it to their advantage.

How Are Sales Assessment Tests Conducted?

Sales assessment tests consist of two parts, those being the verbal exercise and the written exercise. They are primarily used in order to determine the level of preferred qualities the candidate exhibits, those being, but not limited to:

  • Confidence – Very important for a salesperson, as they have to interact with total strangers and put them at ease, which is impossible if you’re nervous. No product can be sold without clear confidence in its ability to impress.
  • Communication – Being able to clearly communicate the product and its benefits is critical to making a sale, as the consumer has to have a very good understanding of what it can offer them before making a purchase.
  • Presentation – The way in which the product is introduced and presented is highly important, as making a good first impression will take you a long way. Shining the spotlight on the product’s most glaring qualities is half the battle to winning a sale – and a happy customer.
  • Research – Being able to research topics related to the product is a superb quality to display, as a skilled salesperson must always be on their toes and gather as much relevant information as possible when making a pitch. Not only that, but research is also useful when developing outbound strategies, which are the bread and butter of the sales industry.
  • Empathy – A high degree of emotional intelligence and empathy is a tremendous boon when making sales. Getting in the head of your customer and being able to replicate and surf the waves of their emotions is a highly successful sales tactic.

Determining how many of these qualities potential candidates possess is done through testing their verbal abilities, which is commonly prompted through the iconic phrase, “Here is our product. Try and convince me to buy it.” The candidate then has to display their sales skills and make an impromptu presentation about a product they know next to nothing about, which tests more than just their ability to speak.

The written part of a sales assessment can be done through emulating an email conversation string, trying to see how well the candidate answers and how they make use of learned techniques in order to hook the consumer. Some people excel at the verbal test, while some excel at the written one. The best candidates ace both.

Even good impressions can lead you astray, though. Despite data-driven skill assessment tools being way more effective than intuition when it comes to determining a candidate’s potential, it is important to pay close attention to their true character and drive. They could give the impression of having a lot of potential yet might not actually come forth with what was promised.

In fact, a 2018 study performed by CSO Insights shows that approximately 54% of all salespeople meet their sales quota, proving that candidates can very much belie their passion and dedication for the industry despite them not being a good fit.

On the other hand, another study also done by CSO Insights has shown that candidates chosen after being put through data-driven assessment tests were 13% more performant than their traditionally chosen counterparts.

What Is the Best Sales Assessment Test?

There are many ways to conduct a sales assessment test. You could do so traditionally, through developing your own test, and putting it in application during an interview, although you’re highly likely to realize very soon that it is not as effective as you would have wished.

Traditional sales assessment tests could be, for example, putting your candidate through a series of questions:

  • “Tell me about a time when one of your clients was unhappy and how you resolved the issue.”
  • “How long was your worst losing streak, and how did you eventually come out on top?”
  • “Did you ever have difficulty getting along with a coworker, and if yes, then how did you handle it?

A variety of sales assessment tests can be found on the internet, although they often don’t realize the true scope of a salesperson. Only a handful of tests provide an objective, data-driven, and highly informative perspective of a prospective candidate’s talents and abilities.

Here is our recommendation for the best online sales assessment test.

Good Impressions Count

In the field of sales, a good impression counts a lot. If your candidate passes through the interview with flying colors and shows talent when approaching the sales assessment test, then it is a sure sign of their potential to become a superb salesperson.

While they might pick the wrong answers once or twice, being able to recognize talent and nurture it is the mark of a top-tier hiring manager, so keep an open mind when hiring, as even a mediocre candidate has the potential to surprise and make you proud later on.

Photo by Xiaolong Wong on Unsplash