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Decoding the Language of Success

How to identify your ideal sales candidate

The language a sales candidate uses can reveal much about their potential fit and future success within your team. Interpreting a sales candidate’s natural language during interviews offers insights into identifying those who will positively (or negatively) communicate with your clients.

The power of natural language in sales

When interviewing candidates for a sales position, it’s crucial to go beyond surface-level listening, paying close attention to their choice of words, the connotations behind those words, and the positive implications their language may carry for your business. The natural language they use—those spontaneous sizzle words and phrases—can be incredibly telling.

Words like “absolutely,” “synergy,” “growth,” “potential,” “brainstorming,” and “listening” are not just buzzwords; they reflect a candidate’s understanding of essential sales and relationship-building concepts. When I am interviewing candidates for my clients, I keep a running list of their language with positive and negative overtones, and the ease with which they use them.

Here’s how you can read between the lines for positive sales hiring.

Step 1: Setting the stage

Create a comfortable environment conducive to open, genuine conversation. This setting encourages candidates to drop their guard and speak freely, providing you with a clearer view of their authentic communication style.

Step 2: Listening for sizzle words & actions

During the interview, note the spontaneous use of key phrases that resonate with successful sales strategies. For example, a candidate who frequently uses “transparency” and “trust” likely values building strong client relationships. Similarly, mentions of “growth” and “potential” indicate a forward-thinking and ambitious mindset.

When evaluating candidates for a sales role, it’s equally important to observe their body language, ensuring it aligns positively with their verbal communication. Positive physical cues, such as open posture, steady eye contact, and genuine smiles, can significantly reinforce the sincerity and confidence behind their words. Future clients will pick up on this before this future hire even speaks.

Step 3: Assessing growth & ambition

Pay close attention to expressions of personal and professional growth. Phrases like “I want to do more,” “I want to learn more,” and “I will…” signify a motivated individual driven by self-improvement and success.

Step 4: Understanding client-friendly communication

Reflect on whether the candidate’s way of speaking is relatable and engaging from a client’s perspective. Can you envision them representing your brand and connecting effectively with your clientele?

Step 5: Role-playing for real-world application

Implement a scenario relevant to your sales process and observe how the candidate applies their natural language practically. This exercise can highlight their ability to navigate real-life sales situations while maintaining a client-focused approach.

Additionally, pay attention to the organization of their thoughts during this scenario. A well-structured response, clear articulation, and logical progression of ideas can indicate a candidate’s ability to think critically and communicate effectively in high-pressure sales environments.

Step 6: Reviewing & reflecting

Post-interview, review the frequency and context of the sizzle words used. Did they contribute meaningfully to the conversation, or were they merely surface-level? This reflection helps determine if the candidate’s communication style aligns with your company’s values and client needs.

AI TIP: You can upload the transcript of your virtual interview screening into your favorite AI software and prompt, “I want you to analyze the language of this candidate for an HR and sales perspective. What type of communicator are they? Do you identify any potential challenges in their communication style with wedding or corporate clients of [name of your company].”

Step 7: Making the decision

As a sales coach, I know that adjusting a new hire’s language post-recruitment can be a challenging endeavor; reteaching positive language and reshaping communication habits often represent a steep hill to climb. It is much easier to hire a candidate who speaks positively naturally and as an established habit.

Combine your linguistic observations with the candidate’s overall qualifications and cultural fit. The right candidate should exhibit a communication style that complements your team’s approach and enhances your brand’s relationship with clients.

Choosing the right sales candidate extends beyond their resume; it’s about finding someone whose natural language reflects the core values and goals of your event business. By focusing on the nuanced ways candidates express themselves, you can uncover valuable insights into their potential to thrive within your team and contribute to your company’s success. 

Remember: Hire Hard; Manage Easy. 

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