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Hiring the Right Salesperson Goes Way Beyond Just Running an Ad and Interviewing

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One of the things that have consistently intrigued me over the course of my career is the lack of effort hiring managers put into finding and grooming Sales Pros. Many companies agree that training is vital to the success of their sales team - even if they don't fully practice what they preach. But too few of those same people allocate the necessary resources to finding the right team member in the first place.

I often hear prospective clients mention that they can't "find the right people". But when I ask them what steps they take to find those people, the problem becomes evident. Filling a sales seat is not a numbers game; you will not be successful by subscribing to the old "throw 'em against the wall and see who sticks" philosophy. Here are 4 quick tips for building a dynamic sales team.

 

Don't find them, attract them!

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The easiest way to find your next sales superstar is to attract them instead of trying to hire them. Keep in mind that the top salespeople already have jobs and, if they don't, they have multiple opportunities coming after them. Establish a company culture that attracts the kind of salespeople that you are looking to bring aboard. Those that select your company will be more productive than if go hunting after them in sales ads.

 

 

Identify your ideal candidate

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Know the attributes that you are looking for in your ideal candidate. Your biggest clues are found within your current sales team. Look at your top producer and ask yourself, "Where did I find them?" "What qualities in them do I desire in potential team members?" This is what you look for again!

You can also benefit from looking at the underperforming members of your team. Make sure you don't hire another round of underperformers by neglecting to assess your current team. If you have to eventually terminate the employment of everyone who came from a specific source, stop hiring from that source!

 

 

Speak their language

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One of the biggest challenges with attracting top salespeople is not understanding what drives them. An example would be titling a sales ad "Looking for a Sales Superstar" instead of "Hiring for Salespeople". The first title suggests that you have a solid team and are looking to selectively add the right person. The latter title shows desperation and will not attract a seasoned professional

 

 

Provide support

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If you've ever had the luxury of having a superstar on your team then you know they require flexibility. That may mean anything from a different pay plan to an adjusted schedule. Think about it...why would an experienced salesperson with documented results accept the same offer as a new salesperson with no track record? Unfortunately too many companies "take a swing" and end up tarnishing their chances of bringing a producer aboard.

These are by no means an all-inclusive list to find a Sales Pro. Other important factors that need to be analyzed include the interview (both phone and in-person), past results, company vision and the opinion of the current team. If at any time you said to yourself "That's a good idea" while reading this article, then we should talk. There are several other strategies that you can implement to build a foundation for a top-tier sales team.

Tamahn Jamison is the President of opportUNITY Development LLC and has 20 years of experience attracting, hiring, training and developing Sales Pros. You can contact him at tamahn@opportunitydevelopmentllc.com.

4 Tips For Naming Your Company

One of the first steps you need to take after deciding what business you want to be in is to choose the right name. In this video I give you 4 simple tips to naming your business.

Tip #1 - Be Original
Tip #2 - What is Your Company About
Tip #3 - Don't Limit Your Growth
Tip #4 - Add a Slogan

Make sure to comment and subscribe to my channel. I can also be reached via the following media:
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2 Simple Steps to Grow Your Business!

I want to share an experience I had yesterday with a dry cleaners. To set the stage, I was using this company exclusively for a few years while working at my previous employer but I hadn't been there for almost 3 years now. So I stop by yesterday morning because I needed some new shirts pressed and returned pretty quickly. As was customary, I pulled up to the drive-through and was promptly greeted by the proprietor. I handed him my shirts and he went to the computer to plug in my phone number. Once he did, there was a short pause of puzzlement followed by him asking me "From Infiniti?". I replied "Yes" and he asked "Do you still work there?". When I told him that I hadn't worked there in a couple of years, he replied "Ok" with a sigh of relief as he now seemed to accept why I hadn't been there in so long. He told me what the charge would be, confirmed a pick-up time that was convenient for me, handed my the receipt and then something totally unexpected happened: he attempted to upsell me! After concluding the transaction, he said "We have some new services that we now offer since the last time you were here" and he began pitching the 4-5 additional revenue streams that had been added. I smiled in acceptance of his sales pitch before heading on with my day.

My goal with sharing this interaction is that you will see the same two lessons from our encounter that I did:

  1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS. Even if you don't, or can't, take the time to personally get to know your clients, make the best use of your CRM tool. If you don't know what a CRM is, I would recommend starting there. I'm sure he didn't remember that I worked at Infiniti but at some point in the past that information was input into their CRM.
  2. PROVIDE YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS/SERVICES. I was really surprised by the fact that he took the time to actually pitch me on his new services, with a brief example of how I might use each one. Be careful not to add additional products or services just for the sake of adding them. Make sure they are beneficial to your clients as well as compliment your existing business model. It is more profitable to have repeat and referral customers than it is to acquire new ones.

There are two key opportunities that were missed in this interaction as well:

  1. KEEP YOUR CRM UPDATED! Someone did a great job of inputting my employment information previously but he didn't ask me where I worked now so that he could update his records. He could've used that as an opportunity to find out which of his new services I would most likely use in the future.
  2. STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS! If you recall from early on in the narrative, I hadn't been to his cleaners in a few years. The business made no attempt to find out why! No they didn't have my physical or email address but I still use the same telephone number that is in his CRM. Keep in mind that I was getting my clothes cleaned at least bi-monthly yet I never received a call when I stopped coming in. If nothing else, he could've used his new offerings as a reason to reach out and invite me back to his shop.

Take this opportUNITY to learn from what you've just read. If you implement these two simple steps while capitalizing on his two missed opportunities, your business will immediately experience substantial growth. Work smart and SELL, SELL, SELL!

 

 

Tighten Up!

For those of you who know me well, you know that this is one of my favorite phrases. These two words are usually all that is necessary to let someone know that they are not living up to their potential or they are goofing off when it is time to be serious. Based on several recent interactions with local small business, it is necessary for me to tell them to Tighten Up

Let's review a few basics that too many small businesses still don't seem to "get":

Do What You Say You're Going To Do.

If you tell a customer that you are going to call them back or meet them at a pre-arranged time, then do it. Simple, right? Not so much. I have attempted to patronize at least three businesses over the past few weeks who have failed miserably at this task. One business said that they would call me back and never did - even after I gave them a second chance and called them back. Another business scheduled an appointment to provide a service only to reach out to me the morning of to 1)Ask if we were still meeting and 2)Then attempt to reschedule for 2 hours later. And a third business owner reached out to me 45 minutes after our scheduled appointment to inform me that he was on the way. (He had previously told me that he expected to show up early.)

Even more alarming was that all three business came personally recommended from three different sources. Needless to say that I did not give either of those companies my hard earned money.

Spellcheck

It's sad to say that in our age of communicating to each other with a  maximum of 140-characters-at-a-time that too many people are unable to write grammatically correct. Before you start to defend the position of "English is not my strongest subject", understand that as a business owner you may need people around you to compliment your weaknesses. If you are not strong at financials, hire someone who is. If you are struggling to reach new customers, get someone to help you with marketing. If you are writing ANYTHING that a potential customer will see, use spellcheck AND have someone else proofread it! This goes for your website as well. Your website is a validator of your business so if you just throw something together just to show you have a url address, (potential) customers will feel that you will take the same lackluster approach with them.

It is true that you only have one chance to make a first impression. And what do you think that first impression is if you have misspelled words and grammatical errors?

Look Through The Eyes Of Your Customer, Not Your Own

Too many business owners I've encountered think that just because they are "the boss" means they get to do everything their way. For example, just because your favorite color is green doesn't mean that your company color should be green. (Green can invoke a sense of growth with your customers - like the Starbucks brand - when in fact your business may be strongly based on trust and dependability, hence the blue in American Express.) And yes I did deliberately choose the colors Green and Blue as my company colors! 

Other examples of when business owners neglect to research the market before making a decision include: business name, logo creation, use of a favorite song or genre of music in store or on their website and communication methods with customers. The choices you make may invoke a positive feeling for you personally but that doesn't mean they will do the same for your customers. Ample time needs to be spent on market research before introducing your business to the public.

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending how you look at it - if you can just follow these simple steps you will be WAY ahead of your competition and well on your way to success!