The Hidden Power of the Sales Candidate Follow Up Letter

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 @ 10:11 AM

You receive follow up letters from your sales candidates all the time, right?  And you probably make notes in their files that they sent those nice follow up letters and you might even rank them higher as a result.

When I'm helping clients recruit I get those letters too.  But I'm certain that what you see is very different from what I see because I look at two additional data points when those follow up letters arrive.

First, there is the 3-minute phone interview I just conducted.  How did the candidate score on that?

Second, there is the sales assessment they took and more specifically, any weaknesses they may possess.

I rarely, if ever, receive a follow up letter from a candidate that I had planned to advance to the next step - the face-to-face interview - of the recruiting process.  But I do receive a number of those follow up letters from the candidates that made it as far as they'll ever make it in my process.  Most of those candidates have Need for Approval as a weakness on their assessment.  They need to be liked and they are hoping that the follow up letter will accomplish what their 3-minute phone interview didn't.  The other possibility is that they know they sucked on the phone and they're trying to make up for it.

Yesterday, it just so happened that I got a follow-up letter from a candidate that lacked some specific experience we were looking for, but his letter made the difference.  A rarity.  It doesn't change a thing for me because I still correlate follow-up letters with the candidates who rely on their relationships rather than their skills, and their emails rather than their ability to influence and change minds.

Did you get a follow up letter today?  I'll bet the person you got it from wasn't particularly memorable.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales management, sales candidates, hiring salespeople, sales assessments

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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