We tend to test the prospective rep’s work ethic, sales training, negotiation ability, closing skills, etc.
One thing that most interviewers overlook is details about their “book of business”. You should always probe their “book of business”.
A “book of business” is the type of client and industry’s that they know that they can immediately take your products or services to. You should be asking questions like, “Who are the first twelve customers you can take our products or services too?” “Which prospective businesses do you bring with you?”
You don’t only want a person who states that they can prospect or work the phones to get clients. Everyone will say that.
If they have a good track record in sales then they will have a list of clients and industry leads to immediately tap into. That is one measurable proof of successful selling experience.
Don’t neglect to ask about their book of business. You might find that reps with similar experience and quality could be separated in value (to your business) by a good book of business.
Consider the value of the rep’s book of business before agreeing on employment terms. It makes sense to minimise the employment risk. Any relatively seasoned rep who has a weak book of business probably has limited networking skills or is a weak salesperson.
Add this valuable question to your hiring toolkit. And not only for sales rep posts.
Good advice to sales reps – don’t forget to demonstrate and articulate your book of business to a prospective employer.