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A Thing Dr
Dr. Dave--Why Use a Sales Selection Test?


Part One

Dr. Dave Barnett


In spite of their growing popularity, many sales managers and recruiters hesitate to use sales selection tests such as SalesMAP(tm). This article and the four subsequent articles which will be published in future issues of The Green Sheet, briefly catalogues the five most popular reasons businesses shy away from sales tests in general. It then attempts to provide answers and rationales for including assessments in the hiring and training strategies of high impact sales organizations. Anyone with a scintilla of sales aptitude knows you have to establish the need for a product before anyone will buy it. So, because I sell sales assessments, permit me to practice a little of the sales gospel I preach. Let's see if I can overcome the top five objections to using sales tests.


Objection #5ó"I don't need a sales test."


Everybody who hires salespeople uses some kind of selection process. It may not be a series of multiple choice questions, but every recruiter applies criteria to the selection of sales talent. The question to ask is whether those criteria and tests are subjective or objective, validated or purely fanciful.

One of my favorite stories is that of retail giant James Cash Penney, and his test for sales managers. Penney would take prospective managers to lunch or dinner and then wait and see if his candidates seasoned their food before tasting it. Any guest who sprinkled salt and pepper before the first mouthful was considered to be a poor problem solver and impetuous. J.C. Penney's test would never make it past EEOC standards today, but his methodology illustrates how recruiters and managers acquire, over a career of hiring decisions, short cuts and informal indicators of talent and potential.

Penney's approach is not unlike one recruiter I know, who told me he never hires anyone with a beard or mustache. That's his entire selection test! Facial hair predicts productivity for this guy! Or, take the example of the HR manager who instructed her interviewers to evaluate candidates by the attention paid to their personal appearance or the kind of car the interviewee drives.

Without objective information such as provided by a validated sales selection test, hiring decisions can degenerate to little more than "gut feeling." While every recruiter develops professional sensitivities, it is important to be clear about the criteria used to evaluate sales candidates.

To see SalesMAP™ or for more information access or call (888) PMI-0003. Watch for future articles in which Dr. Dave will discuss the next top four objections to sales tests.