Q&A from our March 2014 Webinar

Our most recent webinar was a huge hit! We have been inundated with requests to cover the topic of recruiting and hiring, and as such we made that this program's focus.

We will now address some of the questions that we were not able to answer during the program.

Q: What is the best way to attract salespeople for a small business?

A: If you’re a small business (25 or less salespeople) you’ve probably utilized Craig’s List or similar sites and been inundated with resumes of those which have little value to your business or don’t meet your requirements. A more effective way is to first set up a highly specific job description for the person you want to hire, and reduce it to a simple explanation of the work required and the potential earnings. We call this process the “Who do You Know”. An example of this method is below.

Send it out via e-mail and snail mail to all those with whom your company does business, vendors, banks, even your customers. Post it on your LinkedIn network and share it with your Facebook and Twitter followers. You might even consider sending it to your network of friends. Then remind each of your salespeople about how you would give priority to someone like themselves. This should incentivize them to "spread the word".

Next, set up a recruiting bonus based on points; "x amount of points" for recommending someone for an interview, "y amount of points for the interview", "x amount of points" when/if the individual is hired.  Then convert those points to some form of a bonus which is paid out periodically.  If the hiree remains with your company for a year and sells profitable business, engineer a small bonus for the referring salesperson.

However, you must supplement this with a strong system/method for indoctrination and training, and create an environment which continues to stimulate their interest.

Q: Are some personality types better suited for sales or can they be found in all personality types?  What are some key traits or tips on what to look for?

A: Here are the 3 major keys and they are far from tips:

  1. Can they do the job? This requires that you have an interview process which will uncover their ability to work with the kind of leads your company proffers, the kind and style of the customer base you serve, and the ability to effect decisions from those they present your services to. Here it might be beneficial to have some form of aptitude test and for the moment set aside how much they know about the particular product you sell. You need salespeople who understand how to sell in the home, how to effectively present a product to fit the prospect’s needs and values, and how to reduce this to a short cycle close. A brief series of “aptitude questions” is a start. Do they have some background or experience in selling products to homeowners, understanding presentation methods, and following scripted sales techniques? A caution: we do not recommend hiring from your competitors, this is usually unwise and costly.
  2. Will they do the job? Compensation alone is not the primary driver. You may have individuals in your organization who earn six figures.  This doesn’t mean the new candidate is willing to work as hard, cover evening and weekend appointments, or even do the follow-up that’s necessary when a job is sold. As far as identifying this element, analyze how many jobs they have had in the last decade. There’s a great deal of difference from someone who has had 4 jobs in 20 years than someone who has had 4 in the last 10 years. Establish reasons that they did not stick with the job they’re in or had. Don’t be swayed by excuses such as “When the economy went bad...” or “When a new manager took over and changed policies...” or “How customers have become more price conscience”. These things are happening all the time and it’s how effective the individual is in dealing with them that really determines whether they can perform the task for you or not.
  3. Do they fit the organization and its model of operation? Unfortunately this carries with it some big ifs. For example, if the owner or manager has weak recruiting skills they usually end up hiring weak salespeople. If an owner or manager with a low degree of aggressiveness hires a super aggressive salesperson will the tail wag the dog?  You need to make sure that you establish the "pecking order" in the hiring interview.

We will address more questions in the next blog posting - - and make sure to be on the lookout for more information on our next webinar!

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