Industry Magazine Get JACK'D Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 25
By: Jack Daly,
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
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
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!