Should Sales Candidates Admit They Are Motivated by Money?

timtolan Always Be Closing, Compensation/Cash Money, Executive Search, Interviewing, Tim Tolan

YesYes and Yes.

No need to think too much about this one unless sales isn’t your chosen line of work. For sales professionals, answering this question during an interview is a different deal altogether. Good sales people are money motivated – thank God. If you are driven and motivated by money – admit it. Plain and simple, no need to beat around the bush. Especially if you’re vying for a sales or sales leadership role. Put it out there – if you play coy on this one, you’ll send the wrong message to a potential employer.  Companies want to hire sales people who perform and money is the driver – don’t blow it. A wrong answer to this question could be THE END. And if you’re a recruiter – don’t be scared of the answer candidates throw at you with this question. You may not be motivated by money, but you want that rockstar candidate to be.

I believe that good sales people are extremely valuable to any business, and that’s why sales people should be the highest paid people in a company. Let’s face it: nothing happens until something is sold. So, if you believe that (and I certainly do), what’s wrong with admitting what drives you during an interview? You don’t need to act out the famous Jerry McGuire scene to make your point, but if I’m going to present a candidate to one of my clients, and their role is to move the needle on revenue as a sales leader or individual contributor – I need to know that their motivation lines up with the revenue or growth goals of my client company. Translation: sales candidates need to be motivated by the Benjamins.

In the last two years, while many companies tried to keep themselves alive by putting the kibosh on hiring and spending, others focused on top line revenue growth to get them through the financial storms that were (and still are) looming. To that end, many of these companies hired really strong ‘A-Players‘ to ensure their survival. I don’t know about you, but if I’m betting on winning the sales race, I’d rather place my wager on someone who’s driven by money (who’s been there and done that) than on someone who stays mum on the subject. And in a good economy you need great sales people. In a bad economy – you need the very best of the best and they need to be highly motivated. It’s that simple.

If you’re hiring a sales candidate (superstar) hoping they possess the right skills and motivation to succeed, ask them to verify their last three years of sales performance and earnings. If they are an ultimate sales machine, they’ll produce the evidence immediately and spend all the time needed to tell you their story. A superstar wants you to know how great they are. The truly great ones are poised, confident, and highly-driven, and they love to talk about their successes… all day. They will happily show you why they are the best sales talent in the land.

Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….