Industry Magazine Get JACK'D Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 25

RECRUITING FOR SUCCESS By: Jack Daly, Bestselling Author I HEAR this question more than any other: “How do you find good salespeople?” Yet, when I dig deep, it’s a rarity when I find someone who is truly “looking”. It’s more like “I want to have more good salespeople,” but there is no plan in place to execute on this most important function. In most businesses, if you want to grow your sales, grow your sales team in quantity and quality. This article focuses on the quantity. This much I know for sure. No matter how terrific a salesperson is, there are only so many calls one can make, so many calls one can take, and so many orders one can write. But if I recruit five, ten, or more salespeople, eventually they will bypass the top performer. As such, we should always be looking to hire more top salespeople. This approach differs significantly compared to the Sales Manager who typically begins the recruiting process “when there is an opening”. In truth, there are always openings for top performers. The first step is to have a list of candidates, in writing, which you have designated as desirables. I believe this list needs to include at least fifteen candidates. When compiling your list, don’t overlook people outside your industry. We have found a greater degree of success taking a top-quartile performer from a different industry and teaching them your business than recruiting an industry-knowledgeable salesperson who has performed in the bottom 50 percent. In fact, several of my clients focus on college-grad-with-sports- competitiveness backgrounds and building them “their way”. Next is to design a courting process, which we believe is a minimum of two touches per month for each person on your list. These can be meals, social activities, industry events, emails, or telephone calls. The best sales performers tend to go where SPRING 2017 they want, when they want, and they tend to initially favor those who have been courting them all along the way. You can’t find them until you define them, which translates into the need for a position profile. I’m not talking about a job description here, but rather a list of the personal characteristics and attributes of what a top sales performer looks like in your company and industry. Build the profile based on what you know of your existing top producers. Also, utilize sales-profiling tools/instruments that, at a minimum, will weed out unqualified candidates. Upon review of the above, now think about our concept of “modeling the master”. The list of tasks above is fairly comparable to what professional recruiters are paid to do. One, they are regularly looking for talent, whether they have a job order or not. Next, they stay in touch regularly with their list of prospects. As well, working with their clients, they develop a profile of the characteristics of the individuals they are assigned to recruit. Next on the recruiting efforts is the interview process. Our experience is that too few interviews are being conducted. That initial interview will typically show candidates in their best light. Try a minimum of three by the person to whom the candidate will report. Additionally, have three other people in the firm interview the candidate, for a total of six interviews. Remember the saying “hire slowly, fire quickly”. Better to invest the time up front to improve your chances of long-term success. When looking for a salesperson, one of my favorite questions is “When did you first get into sales? Share with me one or two success stories.” The key here is I want the candidate to go “pre-resume”. People who are successful have a tendency towards patterns of success. What we are searching for here are those patterns and the display of that all-important competiveness/grit, also known as the winning attitude. Fifty percent or more of success is attitude. Recruit for skills but hire for attitude. When looking for a Sales Manager, one of my favorite questions is “Share with me a couple of your success stories.” If the answers are salesperson success stories, you likely have the wrong candidate. What you are looking for are answers centered on building a top-notch sales team, not individual sales success stories. My final advice here is to consider installing an employee bonus program to help with getting everyone networking for top salespeople. The keys here are having a detailed profile to provide to all and an attractive bonus amount. What I’ve discovered is less than a third of companies have such a bonus program, and those that do frequently aren’t putting enough $$ on the table. I see companies readily invest monies for outside recruiters yet miss investing similarly with their internal colleagues. These people know the industry, know the players, and often have existing relationships with them. Additionally, the payout of the bonus can be tied to and conditioned on the sales production of the new hire. Structured correctly, we have seen these plans “self-fund” and add an air of excitement about the commitment to the company’s growth. This critical activity has to be planned and committed to by the Sales Manager. It requires a significant commitment of time without evidence of an immediate payout. Build and execute such a recruiting plan, however, and watch your business reviews soar. Good Hunting! 25