Sales hiring managers often find themselves looking for new sales reps behind the same old doors. But chances are – every other sales manager is looking in the same places.
How can a hiring team find potential sales reps no one is talking to? By looking at sales candidates with unconventional backgrounds. Here are three industries that often have candidates with untapped sales potential:
Specifically, consider candidates currently working at restaurants and bars. People who are successful waiters and bartenders tend to be natural extroverts. It’s easy for them to talk to strangers, and they’ve already learned valuable sales skills such as listening and asking questions. Also, many view their current role as a stepping stone in their careers and not a long-term option. This means they might be easier to recruit and jump at the chance for a new opportunity.
Patience is often tied to persistence, and the best teachers typically have an incredible amount of patience – which could help make them more resilient to hearing “no” until they get a “yes”. Teachers are also comfortable talking in front of people they don’t know (after all, they get a new class of kids every year), and have well-honed presentation skills. They’re also excellent at asking questions – a trait that all great salespeople possess.
Teachers who are facing burnout, or who are looking for opportunities to make a higher income, could be easier to recruit. If you can find a teacher who is ready for a career transition, it may be a good time to take a chance.
Recruiters and sourcers are already sellers – with a different title. Their job is to convince a candidate that he or she may be a great fit for a new role – and that’s not easy. They are often very good at conducting research, using technology, being proactive and multi-tasking. They are problem-solvers; they can find opportunities even when there seem to be none. Additionally, they are comfortable talking to many people in one day and asking questions, all skills that top salespeople possess.
Like teachers, recruiters and sourcers often face burnout early in their career. It’s a high volume and often thankless profession, which makes them ripe for learning about new careers.
The best salespeople have often started their careers in other industries. By the time they enter sales, they’re able to hit the ground running. One of the best sales reps I had the good fortune to recruit came from the landscaping industry. He was a project manager with a degree in landscape architecture. This rep knew he wanted more in his career, and he was able to see the possibilities tech sales presented for him.
If you’re open to candidates with different and often unexpected experiences, you will find gems to take your team to the next level. Sales candidates with unconventional backgrounds can have highly transferrable skills that will translate well into the service and sales environment – if you know what to look for.
Want tips on vetting and interviewing sales candidates? Check out Hiring Managers: What to Look for in a Sales Resume