The sales functions is a critical part of any successful business, with a specific set of skills vital to ensure you hit your sales targets and close deals. That makes it essential to attract and retain the best sales people on the market – but what happens when those sales people turn down your offer?

Rejection can be a tough pill to swallow when you have your heart set on a sales person joining your team, but the experience can make you stronger. Here’s how to use rejection to your advantage when recruiting in sales.

Understand your candidate’s motivation for wanting to work with you

Before you think about why a sales person might have rejected you, think about what made them consider you in the first place. Perhaps you have a competitive salary package or an appealing company culture – did you emphasise this enough in the interview? Know what sets you apart from your competitors and consider new ways to highlight this during the recruitment process.

If you’re not sure why a particular candidate is considering working for your business, you’re missing a key step in your interview process. Always ask why sales people want to work for you, and pay attention to their response. This will help to direct the rest of the recruitment funnel and gives you a clue as to what their career motivations are.

Make sure you are offering a competitive benefits package

Employee benefits have moved from a ‘nice to have’ to an essential part of any employer value proposition. In fact, 92% of employees say that benefits are an important part of their overall job satisfaction and 29% says their current benefits package is a top reason for looking for a new position.

That means your benefits package can make or break how sales people perceive your organisation when they’re looking for new jobs, and indeed how satisfied they are when they work for you. We know that some of the most covetable perks for sales people include a company car, flexible working and recognition, as well as opportunities for further development. If your job offer is rejected, consider whether you’re offering enough of these benefits and if you’re promoting them during interview stage. More than a third of people say that job perks are the most important consideration when accepting a new job, so don’t underestimate how important your benefits are.

Ask candidate for feedback

Rejection challenges you to up your game – if you approach it in the right way. Just like job seekers are often advised to ask for feedback after being rejected from a job, so should sales managers when candidates turn down their offers.

There could be any number of reasons for sales people turning down your job offer. Some of the most common include candidates being offered a better salary and benefits elsewhere, a poor recruitment experience and a bad employer brand and reputation. By asking sales people who reject you what their reasons are for doing so, you’ll have the information you need to improve your chances of securing the next sales superstar. Just make sure you act on the feedback!

Address the counter-offer question from the beginning of process

Counter-offers are the bane of every hiring manager’s job, and this is particularly true of sales, where remuneration-focused candidates can easily be lured back to their current company with offers of more money and opportunities. Rather than ignoring the elephant in the room, address it at the beginning of the recruitment process. Ask sales people what their motivations are for leaving their current role and what makes a new position appealing to them. If their response is focused on money and promotion potential, there may be a risk that they could be enticed back with a counter-offer. Ask them what would happen in this situation – you can’t guarantee any candidate won’t accept a counter-offer, but by addressing it early, you can gain an understanding of what a sales person is truly looking for and why they want a new role.

Check your recruitment process

Candidate experience is key to how your company is perceived. With 83% of people saying a negative experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, it might be that the application and interview experience itself is turning sales people away from your company. Address this by reviewing your recruitment process, removing unnecessary steps and ensuring your communication with candidates is prompt and clear. Provide feedback at every step and let sales people know when they can expect to hear from you and what the next stage of the process is. A quarter of sales people have at least one interview within the first week of looking for a new job, so it pays to be speedy and simple when it comes to hiring. Too many stages may mean your candidate looks elsewhere and drops out mid-way through the funnel.

Let BMS match you with the right candidate

Attracting and retaining top sales talent is tricky, especially when you have setbacks. However, you can use rejection to your advantage when recruiting in sales, particularly if you get help from the experts. Let BMS Performance match you with the best candidates on the market. Find out more about recruiting with us or read our insights on attracting, nurturing and retaining the best candidates.