Sales Assessment Tests – 5 Reasons Why Might Not Be For You

This is not for you.

The first thing I want to get straight is that we want your business. If, in your wisdom, you choose to become a client I give you my personal commitment to deliver the best service possible.

Now that I have made that statement let me be brutally frank. Our service is not for everybody. There, I’ve said it, no b******t and no beating around the bush. We are all hyper busy these days. In the interest of respecting your time I thought I would make very clear some of the reasons why might not be a good choice for you.

  1. We are the wrong choice if you are looking for a sales test that identifies learned aspects of the candidate such as sales skills, product knowledge or industry knowledge. These things can be readily indentified in applicants and are teachable. Furthermore, research shows that sales people rarely fail because they lack in these areas. measures the underlying temperament and motivational style of the candidate. This will usually determine success or failure.
  1. If you equate a long test with ‘comprehensiveness’ or you believe a short test is easily ‘manipulated’ by sales candidates then we are definitely not a good fit. One of the most attractive features of our system is our quick and painless yet very accurate test that typically takes about 10 minutes to complete. But that might not be a feature you feel comfortable with.
  1. In the same vein as point #2, if you equate a very long report on the candidate as more desirable then the brevity and bluntness of our reports will not appeal to you. Our test results are about 3 pages long and are written in a very blunt style for ultimate clarity of message. You might be more comfortable with some of the sales test reports of our competitors that run to over 20 pages and have lots of lines and graphs and ambiguous statements.
  1. Feeling uncomfortable about buying your tests in blocks in order to keep your per test costs low is another area that might give you discomfort. We offer our testing in prepaid blocks and do not offer single assessments. This is very efficient for us and actually saves you quite a bit on a per report basis. In order to alleviate the ‘pain’ of this your tests never expire and you can use them to test people for various roles.
  1. If you are under the impression that our sales assessment is some sort of magic bullet that will solve all of your sales hiring needs, then sorry but we will probably rain on your parade. You can expect us to tell you in no uncertain terms that our test is a hiring tool and not the be all and end all. People are complex creatures so you should plan on using it for what it is and clearly understand what it is not.

I hope I have not given you the impression that we do not wish to hear from you just because some or even all of these items apply to you. Nothing could be further from the truth. I would very much enjoy a frank conversation with you about your sales hiring plans, goals and particularly your challenges. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years. I am happy to share any of our insights if you are interested.

Sales Assessment Tests – Improving the Odds


I’ve heard a lot of managers describe the process of hiring sales people as little more than a ‘crapshoot’. I have never really bought into this view but it does speak to the fact that hiring sales people does have risks. The financial stakes are also really high. Probably far higher than most of us would ever feel comfortable risking in a real game of chance. If you think I am exaggerating just think about the tremendous financial rewards of hiring a winning sales person vs. the huge losses associated with hiring a sales failure.

As a hiring manager you are expected to make a single critical decision about someone you know very little about. If you are right your company will profit handsomely. If your decision is wrong it will cost your company dearly. I don’t know about you but when it is put in writing in this way it sure takes on the feel and aura of gambling.

Faced with a complex and high stakes decision such as this how do you approach it? Do you take your chances, hope for the best and let the chips fall where they may? Perhaps you see yourself in the role of ‘handicapper’ who analyzes every little detail in order to eliminate all the risks? More likely you are somewhere in the middle, having learned from experience that you can’t know everything about sales candidates. You do though, perform your due diligence as best you can with what tools you have.

If you would like to give your sales hiring a valuable edge in order to improve your odds of hiring winners our sales assessment test is a quick and economical solution. How would this work? Used initially to test a sampling of your top performers, we would analyze their test results and identify the traits that they have in common. From this we establish the benchmarks (we actually call them Target Profiles) against which all future sales candidates are compared and rated. The sales candidates who get a high rating (we call this a Suitability Rating) have very high potential for success since they share the traits of your proven sales winners. When you hire these high potential sales candidates you have dramatically improved the odds that they will also be successful.

Will you eliminate failures? No. Will everyone be a top performer? Again, no. Will you improve the odds? Yes! Will you hire more sales winners? You can bet on it!

If you think you are ready to take a chance on using a sales assessment test to improve your hiring odds I would enjoy hearing from you.

Sales Testing – Bitter Truth #2

 images-2   Sales Tests Don’t Always Provide an Easy Answer

One of the reasons why a sales test helps you to hire high potential sales people has a lot to do with the fact that the process of evaluating candidates is simplified and distilled down to its most essential factors.

Does this mean that by using the sales test the answer to the question of who to hire becomes easy or at least easier? For the most part yes this is true. Using a sales test will bring clarity to your hiring decisions that will be absent otherwise. But not always!

Sales tests do work and do perform their intended functions. But being the specialized tools that they are, they can only provide insights into the areas that they are designed to measure. Of course people are complicated creatures. You should therefore expect that at certain times the results of the sales test just will not seem to make sense when viewed alongside the other pieces of information that you have gathered about the candidate or who you seem to be seeing in the interview.

These seeming contradictions can take quite a number of different forms. Below are just a few examples.

1.The sales test identifies red flags around the candidate’s motivational style such as disorganization or job turnover that do not show up because they are negated by factors that the sales test does not measure such as education and skills.

2.The flip side to the example above is the candidate who is identified by the sales test as having high potential from the perspective of motivational style yet lacks any of the necessary skills and experience.

3.Role-playing by candidates is common and often sets up a contradiction between the sales test results and what you see in the interview. The very reserved person playing the role of an extrovert and the amiable but non-assertive person trying to appear more assertive are typical examples. In these, and other instances of this, you will get a highly mixed picture of the candidate that will seem to contradict the results of the sales test.

4.The candidate whose test results say he is weak at prospecting yet has a great track record of developing new business. In most instances this is due to having developed new business via other means than true prospecting.

5.The candidate who is described as a high maintenance type who requires a lot of support, direction and guidance yet whose references say he works in a very independent manner. In these instances the candidate usually has worked in the position or industry long enough that the structure that is described as necessary is there via familiarity and experience.

6.This one is very common when interviewing for sales hunters: the extremely outgoing candidate who knows exactly what to say in the interview. They are very outgoing but lack the assertiveness of real hunters. You think you are seeing the tip of the iceberg but if you hire them you will soon discover you saw the whole iceberg.

I could give you several dozen examples like the 6 above where the results of the sales test are actually highly accurate but, due to factors separate from the test results, your instinct tells you that the sales test is wrong.

Here at we’ve been testing sales people for over 30 years and I have to tell you that some of our most loyal clients are those who were initially very skeptical and therefore went against our recommendations. There is an admittedly perverse satisfaction in having a client call you up and say ‘you know that guy who you tested 6 months ago who you told us that we should not hire? Well it turns out you were right and I let him go last week’.

In a previous article I wrote that one of the major but un-measureable benefits of a sales test is not as a selection tool but actually as a rejection tool. The point is that a huge benefit can be found in the fact that the sales test causes you to avoid hiring people that you otherwise might have hired if you had not used the sales test.

People are complex. Using a sales test will mostly make your life as a hiring manager easier but at times things do get a little more complicated. When faced with unanswered questions or contradictory information about a candidate you are being given a clear signal to proceed with caution. Rather than going full speed ahead, take your time or even stop the process in order to just make sure.

Have you ever looked back on a hiring decision and wished that you had stopped and thought about it a little longer?

Sales Testing – Bitter Truth #1

Sales Testing Bitter TruthI’ve heard the phrase ‘if it can’t be measured it does not exist’ more than a few times. It usually comes out of the mouth of a number cruncher/analytical type with whom I am discussing our sales tests and who is trying to come up with some hard numbers to justify in his mind, why he should proceed. Today, while doing research for this article I searched this phrase on Google and learned about something known as the ‘McNamara Fallacy’ described below. If you are patient enough to have read this far you might be asking yourself what the hell all of this has to do with testing sales people. Please hang in just a little longer because it will all tie together momentarily. At least I hope so!

McNamara Fallacy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The McNamara fallacy (also known as quantitative fallacy[1]), named for Robert McNamara, the United States Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968, involves making a decision based solely on quantitative observations (or metrics) and ignoring all others. The reason given is often that these other observations cannot be proven.

The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.

— Daniel Yankelovich “Corporate Priorities: A continuing study of the new demands on business.” (1972)

The connection between implementing sales testing and the McNamara Fallacy relates to the natural, and frankly quite logical, desire of decision makers to base their decision on measureable financial considerations or other hard data. Please understand, I would never suggest that you should purchase ours or any other sales test purely out of the goodness of your heart. Business decisions must make financial sense. When it comes to implementing a sales test there are numerous benefits of sales tests that are quite readily quantified. As well, there are tools such as our cost of failure calculator that provide a very accurate picture of the costs related to the downside of bad hires. But the truth is that a huge financial benefit of using a sales test cannot actually be measured, so according to the ‘if it can’t be measured it does not exist’ folks, any financial gains that accrue from this benefit are non-existent.

A Powerful Rejection Tool

The huge benefit to which I refer is that using the sales test means you have avoided hiring people that you otherwise might have hired if you had not used the sales test. We don’t talk about this much because we usually talk about the more ‘positive’ benefits, such as for example increased sales, lower job turnover and savings of time. In effect, we have tended to present the sales test as a selection tool when in reality it is an extremely powerful rejection tool.

If you could have avoided your last bad hire by using a sales test how much would that have saved you?