Finding great sales reps — reps with the ability to take your business to the next level — is awfully hard to do. How can you possibly size up a sales candidate in a series of interviews? How can you really know how hard a complete stranger is willing to work, how he responds under pressure, how he handles adversity? How can you evaluate her creativity, organizational skills, and ability to learn and adapt to ever-changing situations?
It’s not easy, which is why sales recruiting and training usually becomes an exceedingly expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Here are a few ways to recruit sales talent that may ease the burden considerably:
1. Hire Smart
A man I knew who ran a very successful building supplies business always hired the smartest people he could find. His sales force included former college professors, CPAs, and anybody who did anything as long as they were off-the-charts brilliant. His attitude was, people smart enough to split atoms could learn how to sell lumber and drywall. It worked.
2. I’ll Take It! – and You
When you open your wallet, open your eyes to the recruiting opportunity! Over the years I’ve encountered many star sales reps that were hired because they sold something to the owner or a key executive. The person who impresses the hell out of you while selling you a car, a pair of shoes, or an insurance policy could be your next superstar.
3. Eat It Up
Waiters and waitresses often have sales talent that they themselves aren’t even aware of. Restaurant staffers deal with every type of person under the sun, think on their feet literally and figuratively, juggle problems, provide stellar service, and work extremely hard. These are all very important attributes of successful sales reps. In addition, people in these jobs are usually money-motivated, which helps enormously in a commission sales environment.
4. Have a Little Class
Similarly, the teaching profession is a veritable galaxy of potential sales stars. Excellent teachers have patience, communication skills, and exemplary persuasive powers. They can apply those rare skills to selling complex products and services, and make five times a teacher’s income — to say nothing of what they can do to transform your business.
5. The Customer Is Sometimes Right
Companies always think about turning prospects into customers … but how about turning customers into sales reps? A good customer genuinely likes you and values what you do. These are terrific “intangible” assets for any sales rep — but can take years for a new hire to acquire. And, a customer understands your business and can talk about your products and services from the customer’s perspective. Can you think of a stronger sales pitch than, “I liked buying this so much I decided to devote my career to selling it”? In sales, it’s not always what you say or even how you say it, it’s who’s saying it that really counts.
By: Brad Shorr