How to Hire The Right Catering Sales Manager

Now HiringNow that it is full steam ahead with the New Year, many organizations are looking to bring on new Catering Sales Managers to help grow their business. I have been asked a few times this month “What are specific interview questions I should be asking potential CSM’s and how do I know if they are right for the position?”

Here is some food for thought.  When interviewing potential CSM’s, ask questions like:

  • What was your biggest career accomplishment? Note – you do not ask for their biggest “sales” accomplishment. The objective is for the candidate to describe a major sales success without being prompted for a sales related answer
  • How do you identify sales opportunities?
  • How do you land big accounts?
  • Let’s say it’s February and you are well behind your sales goals – what would you do to make up for those sales?

You are listening for a few things with their answers:  S.B.O. – Situation, Behavior and Outcome.

  • Situation – how they recognize sales opportunities
  • Behavior – what actions, activities and tasks they perform to get the sales from uncovered opportunities/leads
  • Outcome – what were the specific results from their behaviors

Specific answers are key. You are listening for real life examples and sales results from their career. You don’t want a candidate to simply philosophize or repeat ideas from a sales training book – you want them to share specific examples of successful salesmanship from their own experience. If they simply philosophize, they may not have done it themselves, or been successful at the sales process.

In addition to interview questions, a Sales Assessment Tool can offer additional support in the hiring process. One assessment, such as the SPQ *Gold ™, available through the MMS Catering Institute™, is a psychological assessment derived from Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Inc (BSRP).  In a 30 year research project involving more than 500,000 sales and non-salespeople, it was identified that there are common conflicts, hesitations and fears associated with making first contact for sales advancement. These assessments can help determine the candidate’s inherent sales capabilities, sales call reluctance and areas for further development.

Lastly, when hiring new team members, be sure they are good fit with the culture of your organization.  Do they exude the same kind of personality, service mentality, work ethic, drive, desire and heart?  You can teach candidates how to do things, but you can’t change who they are, so make sure it’s a good fit.

For any additional questions, or information about the SPQ *Gold™ Assessment, feel free to reach to me directly at

Let’s talk catering!

Tracy Avolio - VP, Client Services, MMS Catering Institute