Companies have systems and processes for accounting, shipping, and marketing. It's time to get a system in place for hiring top guns. These high flying sales folks will make you money, regardless of the economy.
Stop using the excuse that it's hard to hire good salespeople because they interview well and are charming. Sharpen your hiring process, become even better at interviewing and take the first step in making your life easier as a business owner or sales manager.
Here are four ways to make sure your company wins the race for finding and keeping the best.
Practice What You Preach: Always Be Prospecting
Top sales people prospect on a consistent basis because they know prospecting is a process not an event. Sales managers need to take that same thought and set aside time each month to prospect and interview sales talent. It's time to practice what you preach and calendar block your schedule for people prospecting.
There is substantial research which shows that emotional intelligence is often more important than IQ for success in sales and sales leadership. How many of you are testing or interviewing for emotional intelligence? Here are three emotional intelligence skills you may want to consider.
Assertiveness: A salesperson can look and act like the hard driving type and score low in assertiveness. Don't confuse style with soft skills. Salespeople scoring low in assertiveness waste a lot of time working on unqualified opportunities because they don't know how to state what they need from the prospect.
For example, most salespeople know that they need to get some type of budget before they can put together a proposal. However, when the prospect says, "Just put something together," the low assertive salesperson does just that. The result is usually a practice proposal or one that needs to be redone after the prospect reviews it and says, "That's out of our budget range."
Empathy: Salespeople with good empathy turn off the WIFM channel (what's in it for me). They are extremely good at putting themselves in their customer's shoes which builds credibility and likeability. Being interested in their clients and prospects isn't an act; it's a part of who they are. Empathy is often referred to as the ability to read people and adapt. It is also a key quality in good leaders because they understand what motivates each person on their team.
Flexibility: Ever worked with a salesperson or sales manager who is not open to new ideas? It's not a good attribute in a world gone flat because new information is coming in at a faster pace than ever before. We work with one firm where they hold a strategic planning session every eight weeks due to the innovation and change that occurs in their industry. Do you think rigid, inflexible salespeople make it in that fast moving culture?
Check and Hire for Values
You can hire a selling machine; however, if the machine doesn't fit into your company culture, you will spend your time picking up pieces of morale and motivation. Let say teamwork is core value for your company. Make sure potential sales candidates can give examples from their previous work of how they played well with other salespeople and departments.
One of the interview questions I ask is, "Tell me about a time when you helped one of your peers or another department and received no recognition or reward." Their answer tells me if they are selfless or self serving.
Invest Your Time Wisely
Once you've hired that top performer, put in systems and processes to keep them motivated and on a continuous journey of development. It always goes back to a few basics, one being recognition. A sales manager's weekly 'to-do' list should include the names of people to recognize specifically during the week. This includes members of the sales team and other members of the corporate team that help create a positive customer experience. Private recognition is nice. Public recognition is even better.
Design your sales meetings so they are money making meetings. Don't just show up and run a roll call meeting. Take time to plan the meeting so each salesperson walks away with a gold nugget to help them be more successful that week.
Now go find the top sales guns in your industry or part of the world. They will keep your sales organization flying high.
Thanks to Colleen Stanley / Sales Resources / CityCom Marketing, LLC.