For most people, “sales” is a dirty word. And I’ve found in my experience, most small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t like to sell. They view it as doing something “to someone” rather than “for someone”.
So, they often go out and hire someone to do the dirty work for them…in other words, sell for them. However, often times things end up in a bigger mess than ever before.
Why is this?
To be honest, business owners don’t put the time into developing a job description or at least a one-sheet on expectations of the job. So no one is really clear on the expectations-the business owner knows what they expect-in their head, and the salesperson doesn’t have clue what’s expected. What’s their goal? Who should they be calling on? Who’s an ideal prospect for the business? How many calls should they make in a day? Can they work from home? What are the hours? Do they turn in call sheets? All of these questions (plus many more) need to be spelled out for salespeople to be successful.
Secondly, after the salesperson is hired, the business owner is SO grateful to have someone else doing the dirty work of sales, they just kind of let them go, giving their new salesperson lots of rope to do their job…and usually just enough to hang themselves!
And third, the business owner does very little training with the new salesperson. Usually because they are so anxious for the salesperson to start making sales, and they believe that since they weren’t successful at the sales role, the salesperson must know more than they do.
Add all these up and voila-you end up with a big mess!
Here are the 5 Must’s for Hiring the Right Salespeople:
1-Job Description Develop a solid job description for the position-before you even advertise for the job. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Think of it as creating an ideal salesperson profile for your company. What characteristics do they have? What’s their experience? What’s their weekly goal, monthly goal, yearly goal? How will you measure their performance? Can they work from home? Will they turn in call sheets? You must be very clear with YOURSELF on what you are looking for before you even start interviewing for the position.
2-Don’t hire the first person Too often, business owners are so ready to get someone in the position selling, they tend to hire the first or second person that comes along. That’s okay, if you’re sure the first or second person who applies is the best candidate, but I would bet rarely does that happen. Try and get a good selection of resumes for the position. Share your ideal salesperson profile (see #1 above) with friends, family, neighbors, associates to see who they might know or recommend. Have a first interview with at least (I said at least) four or five candidates. Then have the top two or three back again. Have them speak to others in your organization (if you have other team members or employees), or maybe you have a colleague in another business who’s opinion you respect who would be willing to interview the top two candidates. Get as much different perspectives on the candidates as you can.
3-Yes, call references I am always amazed at how many clients I speak with, who are unhappy with their sales hires, who never called a single reference. Not only should you call the references your candidates give you, but also call those that they DON’T give you. For example, if you notice on their resume, they worked at a particular organization that they didn’t give a reference from, try and find someone you may know, or that your colleagues may know who can connect you with someone from that particular company. LinkedIn is a great source for this kind of thing.
4-Train, train, train Make sure you have some kind of plan in place to train your new salesperson. Remember, nobody can sell your product or service like you can. It’s your baby, you created it and really, trust me, even though you think you can’t sell, no one else will be able to talk about it with the passion you can. So even if you think you can’t sell, you must instill all the product knowledge and passion into your new hire. Don’t just turn them loose on the road. And training by the way, means sharing the ideal salesperson profile with your new employee, because they must know what you expect of them! Including giving them some kind of goal(s)!
5-Follow up, offer support and manage them Notice I didn’t say “micro-manage” them. Most good salespeople do not like to be micro-managed, but they do want support, follow up and frequent feedback (both good and constructive) on how they are doing. Don’t just let them go without daily or twice a day check-ins. Communication is crucial in building a successful relationship with your new hire.
Yes, this all takes time, but the pay-off can be tremendous. You don’t want to have a lot of turnover with your salespeople-it’s not good for customer service, relationships or perceptions. Having the right person in your sales position can make a huge boost to your bottom line-if you put in the time and do it right!
|Mandy works with talented, high energy self employed professionals and very small businesses who struggle to market their business effectively, stretch their capacity and play a bigger game. Mandy’s client’s receive proven, specific information on what they need to do to get more clients and grow their business. As a result, those who coach with Mandy increase their business, get more clients and make more money, faster and easier than they ever would have on their own. Sign up for her free Cd “7 Productivity Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs” right down below.|