Attracting Talent to Your Online Job Postings
If you‚Äôre on this blog you know that it‚Äôs easy to post jobs on the Internet. Getting noticed by the best sales candidates, however, is another story!
The landscape for marketing job openings with potential candidates has changed dramatically in a few short years as networking, file sharing, and job boards have made a near full transition to being web-based activities. With more jobs than talent nowadays it‚Äôs a candidate-driven world, and that power allows them to sift through job openings by the handful.
This means it‚Äôs time to change the approach if you want to change your job posting from dirt to gold. Here are six ways to put a shine back on your postings:
Target keywords and phrases
First and foremost job browsers need a trail that leads to your posting which is contingent on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Most have skated by with generic job descriptions and a logo, but it‚Äôs an impersonal approach. The correct usage of key terms in both the title and the job description will link your post to the most relevant searches, but you probably already knew that and think you’re implementing appropriately. But being a ‚Äútop‚ÄĚ search result isn’t worth much if the visitor skims over you or is drawn elsewhere. To make the most of what SEO has to offer, dress up the posting and appeal to the person behind the screen with better and more succinct keywords/phrases
Posts are really pitches, are you angling to reel in the right candidate?
The post is your hook, so know what sort of bait to attach. Part of this comes back to good SEO, but it’s also about knowing how to present yourself once the candidate is ‚Äúin‚ÄĚ and looking at your post. Think about being adaptable to any job-seeker that hovers over your post, and that requires a focus on the potential job-seeker, not the job opening. Don‚Äôt lose your recruit because of an inability to ‚Äėwow‚Äô their interest.
Also consider that during the vetting process most employers will monitor a candidate‚Äôs ‚Äúcultural fit‚ÄĚ as much as their credentials. Job seekers are aware of this and it can stiffen the air during initial exchanges. A posting that starts a dialogue is a great method for cutting this sort of tension, and it leaves the candidate without feeling intimidated, bored, or not intrigued by your job opening. If a job-seeker can wade through job boards and search engines, target on your post, and then feel welcomed to the opportunity, then you‚Äôve won the game of attracting talent online.
Don‚Äôt be in a hurry. Trust the online process will work itself out.
No one said this would be a guarantee, but just remember that online is dominating the way candidates search for a job, so continue to maximize your chances with it. Keep in mind that it is possible to over-manage and take up too much of your hiring team‚Äôs time, so don‚Äôt fret too much over short-term hang-ups, just go on to the next posting.
Exit tunnel vision, cast a wide net
Keep the search open and available to the underdogs who may want to take a swing at your opening. Consider this a case of where being too specific can be detrimental. An attractive job posting appeals to many subsets of possible candidates. Even for opportunities that require a refined skillset, consider that recruiting and prospecting requires a willingness to keep an open mind. This also pushes positive SEO fundamentals because it will broaden the search terms.
Don‚Äôt fear that your post is a letter of commitment.
Open up the job requirements, compensation range, and other perks to pique more interest and drive more traffic. Candidates enjoy reading the specifics behind an opportunity, but it remains in your favor to leave some truth to their imagination. Sometimes it‚Äôs the responses to open questions that floor you, not necessarily having ‚Äúthe best resume‚ÄĚ.
Speak the language of the people
A little humor and candid talk never hurt anyone. To invite clicks without coming off too strong, it‚Äôs good form to strike a tone that feels realistic and rewarding. Feed into the individualist mindset of the candidate and showcase some intangible features such as location, work schedules, company culture, and other personal benefits that make your opening seem well-suited to anyone. By keeping the ‚Äėmeat‚Äô of the post more personal, you‚Äôre also granting yourself more space to maximize SEO in other areas and drive traffic to your post.
The Mechanics of Sales Hiring
Who‚Äôs hiring who? In today‚Äôs online-driven job market, who has the more advantageous position between the job-provider and the job-seeker? Both have good tools and resources on the Internet, both are networked, but still too often companies are overmatched by a candidate’s flexibility, and with so many postings on the Internet job-seekers limit applications to jobs that fit their skillset.
This puts pressure on the interviewer and the hiring manager to make a compelling presentation during the interview. With the onus on the company to attract the talent, it‚Äôs smart to leverage your position wherever possible. Here are my tips:
MIND YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
The first thing a candidate is going to research after coming across a job posting is the company website and the layout of the business. How your brand name shows up in search results is the catalyst to gaining the candidate‚Äôs trust, who weigh reviews as equal to personal recommendations. Companies who don‚Äôt pay attention to their online reputation have a problem with losing their prospects before they can even respond.
Also, bad reviews, while difficult to remove, are opportunities to respond with reason and legitimize your appearance as an attractive company to work for. Responses with bad reviews should offer some bit of compassion and courtesy to the reviewer, and then constructive response to the allegation.
In the same way companies are treating employees, treat candidates almost like they‚Äôre customers. They‚Äôre presented with job postings in settings that resemble online shopping, and in this scenario they have a buyer‚Äôs advantage because they can openly leverage job postings against each other. A bright online image is necessary to stand out.
PITCH THE JOB AS A COVETED POSITION
This isn‚Äôt a job looking for anyone, it‚Äôs a position that must be attained. Defining and marketing the job in a way that demands an optimal match shifts the pressure to the candidate to meet the expectations.
Group interviews, those that involve multiple candidates, are used to pit the competition between candidates, making your job the winning reward. This is an effective way to drive critical thought and problem solving from the candidates, which makes for a better hiring experience.
GET THE CANDIDATE IN YOUR OFFICE
It‚Äôs your home turf and you play by home team rules. The office setting opens avenues to discuss company specifics, like history and management, which drives interest from the candidate and compels them to consider the opportunity in different ways. The candidate arrives to the interview equally interested in the job and the organizational fit, so culture can influence, as well.
Simply removing the candidate from their phone or laptop can help you drive the conversation and the direction of their thought process. The candidate has skin in the game by getting out of bed and showing up, so take advantage of their commitment to hearing your pitch in person.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN OFFICE, GIVE YOURSELF A PHYSICAL LOCATION
It‚Äôs important to look the part of a legitimate business, and that‚Äôs hard to do without a physical location. Having an address is a simple way of reinforcing to the candidate that they‚Äôre not applying to work for a faceless corporation. Even a P.O. Box that reads normally as an address and resides in a building is a positive first step. If not a P.O. box, consider a mail receiving address in a large office complex. Many businesses find success making money without a physical address, but a lot of people remain in the paradigm of going to work for the collaborative and efficient environment.
It is also possible to perform interviews in a rented office or conference room.
TEST TEST TEST
Sustaining a long-term business means having to test everything associated with your company. Let‚Äôs use a website as an example, when you have visitors it‚Äôs hard to tell what they‚Äôre doing, but with the right test tools you can see where they‚Äôre clicking and then test different methods and different buttons. You have to do the same thing when you‚Äôre hiring. It‚Äôs just another sale and another test of your company‚Äôs health, so to shift the leverage of the interview into your favor, test the content of your pitch, adjust the way the conference rooms look, and finagle with any details you think could swing the interest of the candidate.
As the CEO of a service that bridges companies with candidates, I‚Äôve seen that higher show rates – how often candidates show up to the interview – were common in companies who adopted different methods in their sales recruiting. For example, one strategy was to partner with companies in non-competing industries who are searching for similar people, and by creating these relationships you can preface an interview with the contingency that you can refer them to other companies if they‚Äôre not chosen. This simple change of thinking for the candidate makes the decision to commit to the interview and try their best to present a good image.
USE EMPLOYEES TO SELL THE OPPORTUNITY
Other employees of the company often provide good reference points for candidates to hang onto and grasp the essence of the business. Consider using their presence in the office to sell certain parts about the job and relate to the position of the candidate as an ex-job-seeker.
Video is also a great way to implement employee history and perspective. Anything that can give a glimpse into what it was like for a person to accept the job can settle doubts or concerns from the candidate. The visual medium also provides the candidate a picture of their career path.
We appeared in Business News Daily: How to start a service-based business: 4 tips.
Eventually, you may find that you’ll need to expand your business and hire full-time staff members. Chad Bronstein,¬†CEO of sales rep hiring service Time to Hire, was hesitant to hire at first, but soon realized that he wasn’t able to do everything himself as his business evolved. He warned other entrepreneurs not to get to the point where they’re so overwhelmed that they need to make a rushed ‚ÄĒ and potentially poor ‚ÄĒ hiring decision.
“Building a team is important,” Bronstein said. “I waited too long and was in a situation where I had to hire someone immediately. [I needed] better planning and more time. Try to replicate yourself ‚ÄĒ don’t work in your business but on it.”
We were featured on Gerhard Gschwandtner’s¬†Selling Power Blog last week!
Here is the text from the article:
Sales-commission structures can make or break business growth, yet many companies don‚Äôt give them the attention they deserve.
The key is to design, create, and implement a plan that continually evolves alongside the business. Organizations must have a clear understanding of the goals they‚Äôre trying to achieve and then tightly integrate them into the compensation structure so that it incentivizes actions that, not only promote growth, but have direct positive impact on employee earnings and the organization‚Äôs bottom line.
To get started, organizations need to do a reality check by considering these questions:
- What size is the company?
- How new is the company to the market?
- How big is the company‚Äôs market share?
- How long is the sales cycle?
- What type of growth is the business trying to achieve?
Answering these questions will help determine the optimal commission structure. Remember, it should be aligned it with goals that drive increased profit.
Once these basic questions are answered, organizations should begin outlining a plan in four main areas:
- Strategy:¬†Do you offer increasing commission over time or after a certain number of successful sales? You need to intentionally design the commission plan so it accelerates reps through the ranks.
- Payout structure:¬†Will you pay reps a set rate per close or base pay on profit margin or something else? This depends on your business‚Äôs product/service.
- Performance benchmarks:¬†How will you monitor, manage, and report to your sales team? Are there certain quotas to meet? What are the monthly or quarterly goals? Are sales reps competing against each other?
- Problem procedures:¬†Issues can and will occur. What if two reps determine they have closed the same client? There must be a clear plan in place that eliminates debate or arguments.
Next, the management team needs to clearly communicate what the compensation plan is intending to accomplish. To do this, the plan should be
- well documented and freely available to all staff and potential candidates;
- extremely simple, with no fine print, legal language, or confusing words;
- clear about what needs to be accomplished to reach certain goals;
- fair and enticing to both the employer and employee.
Bonus tip: If the company is new, selling a new product, or entering a new market, it will require above-average compensation to attract the best salespeople. High-performing salespeople understand¬†the value they bring. Before joining a new company, they consider the pros and cons by weighing potential earnings against potential risk.
Finally, organizations must consider the specific elements of a commission structure and calculate the fine details:
How do you figure out the acceptable payment range?
Many companies determine fixed commissions by looking at the cost per good sold and base that against potential profit and earnings. Unfortunately, this approach tends to be complicated, as it can be calculated by using just manufacturing costs or by adding marketing, administrative, and other expenses.
How do you choose a type of commission?
Companies that have room to negotiate price will typically use percentage of profit to drive the highest possible close. Others use a fixed commission per sale, but ideally there should be incentive for improvement by offering a commission ‚Äúladder.‚ÄĚ
Additional considerations while working on a compensation plan:
- Test out multiple structures over a certain time frame.
- Ask candidates or current salespeople what would interest them.
- Track all of the metrics involved in the commission structure.
- Leave room in the budget for spur-of-the-moment sales contests.
By spending the additional time and effort to create a comprehensive plan, organizations can ultimately position themselves for higher growth.
We scored this article in a local magazine, 425business.com.
Here are the salient points of the article:
1.¬†What are the current trends in sales hiring?¬†
There seems to be an overall increase in economic confidence that is causing people to hire more sales staff. Our customers‚Äô revenue has risen about 25 percent over the previous year. As the economy continues to get better and confidence increases, employers will look to hire more salespeople in anticipation of better economic conditions. We‚Äôve seen this type of growth activity in most of the major vertical markets we deal in, particularly door-to-door and home-improvement sales.
2.¬†What makes hiring qualified commission-only applicants so difficult?
Hiring qualified commission-only applicants is difficult for a number of reasons. There are basically three types of people who will take a commission-only position. The first is proven superstar salespeople who can sell anything and will easily land on their feet almost anywhere they end up. The problem is that the vast majority of superstars are already working for someone else. Another type is someone who may be having trouble finding work in their chosen field and is therefore more likely to take a risk on a commission-based position. The third type would be a younger person that‚Äôs just out of school. Because superstars are rare, the qualified pool of candidates can be very small, and the onus is on employers to have a good process in place for hiring new sales reps. Employers need to set up intensive training programs that will quickly give the new rep a leg up and help ensure their success.
3.¬†How can employers improve their recruiting efforts?¬†
A.¬†Practice their pitch carefully. Candidates must be sold on the position without realizing they are being sold. If you come on too strong, it will push the candidate away.
B.¬†Be committed to constant improvement of show rate, which is the percentage of candidates who actually show up for the interview. This is generally where the most improvement is needed. Most recruiters will be lucky to have a show rate of 20-40 percent. Really good recruiters with years of experience can achieve a 60 percent show rate for even the most difficult of jobs such as insurance and pest-control sales. One tactic is to promise the candidate that if the job is not a good fit, you will do your best to find another company that might fit better, and actually partner with other sales organizations for this reason.
C.¬†Systematize the sales process. Don‚Äôt expect sales reps to create their own sales process or plan for your company. It‚Äôs up to you to plan and execute it. Understand that it is hard to hire sales people if you don‚Äôt understand your own sales process. That means you have to put your process into action and prove that it works before training others.
D.¬†Learn how to avoid shooting from the hip when hiring. It‚Äôs easy to make mistakes such as hiring people you like or having a candidate sell you on themselves. Read books on the subject. Create your own hiring process that includes a scoring system.
E.¬†Create a training environment. Have at least two group training sessions each week. Turn high-performing sales reps into sales managers, then have the managers perform most of the training sessions. Have new reps ride along with more experienced staff so they can see how to pitch in real time. Provide a phone room if possible so reps can hone their cold-calling skills and customer phone interactions. Put new sales reps that show promise next to high-performing sales reps so they can learn from the best.
F.¬†Understand that as the owner, you must lead by example. Sales is a process, and you are not born with the skill. You must become an expert on the sales process by reading books and blogs, and by spending time in the field honing your pitch.
G.¬†Hire as many sales reps as you can handle. Most won‚Äôt make it, and you‚Äôll need a steady stream of reps coming through the door to be successful.
How To Motivate Your Sales Team
When it comes to sales management, few things are as important as knowing how to properly motivate your team. Having a highly motivated sales team will improve your company’s performance in almost every important area including: time management, sales closing ability, and company morale.
But you already knew that, the¬†real¬†question is “How do you accomplish this?”¬†How do you take a poorly performing sales team and infuse serious motivation into them? The answer to this question¬†just might surprise you.
Understanding The Psychology Behind Motivation
In order to learn how to significantly increase the motivation of your sales team, you’ll need to understand the psychology behind it all.
In the old days, when an executive or sales manager wanted to drum up additional results, the answer was always “more¬†money.”¬†It was accepted as fact that money was the main motivator for a salesperson. Bonuses, pay increases, short-term sales competitions and many other money-related incentives were used to motivate sales people. In some cases, this would indeed work. But in others, for some reason, it seemed to do the opposite.
Why would financial incentives boost performance for certain workers, and decrease performance for others?¬†A recent study conducted by researchers at MIT, among other universities, shed some light on this apparent paradox. The study examined motivation on a broad scale in regards to employee productivity.
It concluded that financial incentives help boost productivity under very specific circumstances: when the work being completed was purely mechanical. On the other hand, the study found that financial incentives actually decreased motivation and productivity for workers in intellectually-demanding positions.
The reason for this lies in the two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The former refers to internal motivation (like how much an employee enjoys their job, or accomplishing their work) while the latter refers to external factors (like additional money, time off, or acknowledgements of achievement). Now, let’s not jump to conclusions. It’s not as simple as saying “money doesn’t motivate sales people.” In reality, the key to successful sales management lies in being able to create¬†both types of motivation for your team.
Putting It Into Practice
Now let’s leave the theoretical world, and put this new information¬†into practice in the real-world. Here are a few key skills that sales managers need to develop in order to effectively motivate their team:
This is the backbone of powerful sales management. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, empathize, and communicate with others. A lack of emotional intelligence leads to many problems for sales managers.¬†Primarily, it leads to over-management, which is when a team is so closely “managed” that the individual members never get the ability to personalize their sales process. Your sales staff need to feel comfortable optimizing the sales approach to fit their personal strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, strong emotional intelligence is required to develop the following three skills.
Understand Your Team’s Various Personalities
If your company treats salespeople like a number on a spreadsheet (as opposed to individual people with varying desires), that is a serious problem. The key to producing the highest productivity and motivation will be different for each of your team members. Certain sales people are primarily motivated by financial incentives, while others will be motivated by¬†completely different rewards.
Don’t try to force every team member into a “cookie-cutter” sales compensation plan… unless that is the only option. Over time, as a sales manager, it’s your job to assess and understand the various personalities of your team.¬†Accomplishing this will greatly improve your ability to motivate reps, because you will better understand where they are coming from and what drives them to succeed.
Solid Company Culture And Work Relationships
Another key piece of motivating your sales staff is the quality of work relationships. In order to facilitate intrinsic motivation for your sales reps — which is not an easy feat — you should attempt to create the most inviting and attractive company culture.¬†Your team members should feel as though they are, you guessed it, on a team.
But what about competitions and having sales reps compete against each other for rewards?¬†The two aren’t mutually exclusive. If you are going to employ sales competitions to motivate and incentivize sales staff, make sure the contest is structured in a way that promotes unity among the team. Sales reps should feel as though they are fairly competing¬†with¬†their fellow team members, and not that they are being pitted against each other.¬†The most powerful sales teams become a cohesive unit overtime, acting as a team, rather than a group of competing enemies. Notice the difference in these two approaches to sales management.
Remember¬†how it’s important to understand the different personalities of your team? This is similar: When it comes to incentivizing your sales team, think about what they really want. Take the time to find out what individually motivates each rep. You’ll quickly learn that only certain reps prefer financial incentives over alternative options.
Here are a few others: additional time off, company-sponsored certifications or training, random gifts, and internal career development programs. Ideally, each rep should be able to choose their own rewards (where you set the quota or deadline to meet). This provides for maximum motivation, because it guarantees that each rep has a strong reason to work their hardest.
The next time you are looking for ways to improve your sales team’s motivation, look inward. Use the “what’s in it for me?” principle and examine the system used to motivate and drive your sales reps. As we’ve demonstrated today, the most powerful motivators vary from person to person.
The best you can do is attempt to personalize rewards, and design sales compensation plans (along with your management strategies), around facilitating this intrinsic motivation. Do everything in your power to coach and lead your sales team to their own personal success… and the motivation, along with massive growth for your company, will follow in due time.
Improve Your Sales Force
An overwhelming amount of modern¬†sales strategies revolve around numbers and data analysis.
In many ways, it’s almost like¬†sales has transformed into a science. But let’s not forget that at the core of sales is human interaction. As a sales manager or business owner, you need to master the art of leading your team to success. Today we’re going to¬†explore five¬†actionable strategies you can use to take¬†your sales force to the next level.
1)¬†Less Managing, More Coaching
The title “sales manager” can be misleading. High-performing sales managers don’t treat their job like an administrative position,¬†but rather as a leadership role.
You are the guiding light for your team:
- Developing training programs to help new reps get up to speed as quickly as possible
- Having¬†a personal relationship with reps to help them succeed
- Knowing the most effective way to push reps to meet and exceed expectations
One of the best ways¬†to unlock hidden motivation and results from your sales staff is to improve your relationship with them. It sounds counter-intuitive (or indirect) but in reality this is one of the keys to being an effective manager. Understand “who” your sales staff really are, and you will have a much easier time finding the right way to motivate and manage the team.
2) Does¬†Your Team Have The Right Preparation?
Another common problem that holds back sales forces is a “hole” in the training program. Don’t expect your new reps to get up to speed with the new position¬†without needing¬†help. Every single new rep you hire and oversee will require some additional training or guidance to perfect their pitch. This depends heavily on the type of product being sold (and the corresponding sales cycle), but here are a few common sales training problem-areas to get you started.
Do your reps have a concrete guide to the following:
- How to overcome sales objections
- How to create and demonstrate a strong value proposition
- How to effectively compare and contrast against competitors
- How to understand and think like the ideal customer
- How and when to ask for the sale
These might seem like very basic sales tactics that any competent rep would already know, but that’s not the important part. Your reps need to have powerful sales skills in relation to your specific product. For example, it’s not enough to know “objection handling.” They need to know exactly what objections will come up during a normal pitch and the absolute best way to respond.
3) Trust Your Team And Your Sales System
Do you have complete faith in your sales system? It’s extremely important that the leadership (whether sales managers or other high-level staff) demonstrates trust in the sales process. If your sales reps notice doubt or uncertainty coming from the leadership, they will adopt the same viewpoint.¬†Obviously, this only works if you actually have a winning sales system, but it is important regardless. It’s important not to forget that your sales staff feeds off of the energy you put out.
Here are a few¬†actionable ways you can do this:
- Openly Praise Accomplishments – Go above and beyond: Make an effort to give praise for all serious accomplishments from your staff. Did someone have their best month? Congratulate them and let them know how much you appreciate their work. Even though you may think this gratitude is implied,¬†your reps will be significantly more motivated if they know someone is rooting for them.
- Be In Your Sales Team’s Corner – For all intents and purposes, you should share the same desires as your sales team. If there’s a problem, or your team asks for something, it’s your job to step in and speak on their behalf. Go to battle for your sales team, and they will notice and feel more motivated to reciprocate with hard work. Do everything you can to keep communication channels open, and make sure you are doing more listening than talking.
Demonstrate complete confidence in your sales team and¬†do everything possible to make their jobs efficient and enjoyable. You’ll be surprised, this pays off big-time when it comes to “on paper” results.
4) Streamline Management And Cut Out Excess
Nothing is more stressful and wasteful than unnecessary “management.” Keep in mind that it is possible to over-manage and take up too much of your sales team’s time. Remember, if your team isn’t taking action they aren’t making sales. Do what you can to cut down on unneeded meetings, reviews, and other bureaucratic clutter. Let your sales team focus on what they do best.
5)¬†Take Time To Reflect
This is another area that is often completely neglected by larger organizations. Don’t knock it till you try it: One of the most valuable uses of your time as a sales manager might just be reflection.¬†Once a month, once a quarter, or at the very least once a year… take time to think about what’s been working and what hasn’t.¬†There is an entire “intangible” side to sales management that is almost never covered by training programs, but that does not diminish its value or importance. If you’re trying to drive the highest results possible, it’s going to take serious self-reflection and awareness.
In regards to your specific organization and team, consider the following:
- What management actions have led to the greatest results?
- What seems to motivate your team the best? Worst?
- What is the most common feedback¬†given¬†by your reps?
Self-reflection is extremely important for sales managers and business owners. This is the best way to figure out the ideal “strategy” to accompany¬†your more structured management tactics. If you are trying to¬†increase numbers (sales,¬†revenue per sale, sales closing rate),¬†try something completely different than normal.
If you usually offer higher incentives¬†or some other type of monetary bonus, instead try talking to your reps and ask what would motivate them. Remember that effective¬†management (even when it comes to precise sales teams) is¬†heavily dependent on the relationships and human interaction that goes on “behind the scenes.”
How To Build A Value Proposition
There are very few universal rules of sales.¬†Every interaction is unique: the people, the problems, and the solution.¬†No matter what you’re selling, every customer will have a slightly different reason for making the purchase.
That’s where the value proposition comes in. As a salesperson, it’s your job to navigate the customer through every stage of the sales cycle. That can only happen if you have a very clear understanding of what matters to your potential customer. Today we’re going to walk you through the process of creating a compelling value proposition.
The Importance¬†Of A Value Proposition
To put it simply: A value proposition is the amount of “value” you demonstrate to a potential customer during the sales process. Your potential customer will weigh the perceived value of your product against the perceived “cost” when they are making a final decision. If you have done a sufficient job pitching the value proposition¬†and if — in the eyes of the customer — the pros outweigh the cons, you just made a sale. If not, you lose the sale.
It’s important to¬†understand that the customer will be considering the¬†perceived value and cost of your product. For example, a perceived cost could be an opportunity cost or the cost of installation. Another huge perceived cost (mainly pertaining to service providers) is the¬†stress¬†that will come¬†from switching to a new provider. Think about it this way: If you are selling a cable TV service, you need to convince the prospect that your service is worth the financial cost AND the cost of having to cancel and cut ties with their current provider.
This is why a compelling value proposition is so important. One of the best ways to overcome these sales objections, and deliver the most powerful sales pitch possible, is to have a succinct value proposition that can be adapted to any sales situation.
The Real-World Implications
So how do you create this value proposition, and what does it entail?
It all starts with the customer.¬†Let’s take a¬†moment to¬†consider¬†everything involved in a successful¬†close.
To convert a prospect into a customer, you need to:
- Introduce the product in an interesting way to engage the prospect and grab their attention.
- Demonstrate the standard benefits of the product.
- Attach the “value” of the product to a desired outcome in the customer’s own interest.
- Allay any and all objections to the sale.
- Ask for the sale, and answer any last-minute questions/concerns.
That’s a typical door-to-door sales process, albeit over-simplified.
Do you notice the¬†one huge problem with this sales breakdown? It’s impersonal. It’s not adaptable to any situation… and that means it will never allow a salesperson to close at their greatest¬†potential. How many sales are lost because of a slight miscommunication? How many sales are missed because a salesperson was unable to bring to light¬†the one minute objection that’s holding back a customer?
The problem is that normal sales pitches are crafted around the product. They are¬†designed to hit on every possible selling point. They hammer benefit after benefit without taking into account the customer’s needs, wants, and desires. So what’s the smarter¬†way to pitch? Crafting the pitch around the customer.
It might sound like semantics, but this is a very important distinction. If you want to sell as much as possible, you need to design your pitch — your value proposition — around the customer and their needs. Unfortunately, this means a one-size-fits-all approach will not be possible. To close the maximum number of prospects, you will have to dive deep into the mind of each individual prospect¬†and deliver a pitch that hits on their specific needs. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
Designing Your Value Proposition
How many different types of customers do you have? For most products and services, you should be able to break your customer base into at least a few different segments.¬†It depends on your industry, but¬†for most businesses the easiest way to segment your customer base will be by demographics. For instance,¬†customers in the same age range, location, and income range will typically share many views. In other words, they will have the same underlying needs, wants, and desires when it comes to your product (and often the same sales objections).
For each of your customer segments, think about what¬†it takes to close a sale.¬†You will likely notice that there is very little overlap. What matters a lot to one demographic will matter very little to another. This is exactly why your value proposition needs to be custom tailored for each customer.
Similarly, the way that you pitch your product should also be personalized to each segment.
For example, let’s look at building desire for your product.¬†
Here are three different ways you could approach this:
- Pain – Focus on the main pain point of your product. Force the prospect¬†to face the downside of not purchasing. Make them understand, on an emotional and logical level, the massive mistake they are making by waiting any longer to buy.
- Opportunity – Paint a beautiful picture of the potential upside of your product. Demonstrate all of the amazing benefits that your customers reap. Make the prospect desire your product from a positive angle.
- Implications – Talk to the prospect as a friend. Walk them through the consultative sales process step-by-step. Help them come to the buying decision themselves, and close without ever having to “sell.”
Each of these three approaches will vary in effectiveness¬†for¬†your different¬†customer segments. Some will respond more positively to selling through opportunity than pain… and vice versa.
The key point here is that “value” means different things to different people. What motivates one customer¬†to buy might not even¬†matter in the slightest to another person. Now, go back to your pitch and examine the various stages.¬†Notice how every step of the sales process should be tailored¬†to the needs of¬†the specific prospect that you are communicating with at that time. Create an adaptable value proposition that speaks to each and every one of your potential customers, and watch as your sales numbers skyrocket.
How To Create Your Commission Compensation Structure
Sales commission¬†structures. They can make or break your business’ growth.
And yet, so many companies don’t give them the attention they deserve.
Which is exactly why we created this in-depth step-by-step guide to structuring compensation plans.
You will learn how to design, create, and implement a plan that continually evolves alongside¬†your business.
Where To Start
There is a lot more to structuring a compensation plan than meets the eye.
First off, you want to integrate the goals of your organization into the compensation structure. This means taking a holistic approach to the plan, so that it incentivizes actions that promote business growth.
Let me explain: Normally when a company thinks about their sales program, they decide on a compensation plan that minimizes their cost per good sold OR maximizes their sales staff’s potential earnings. In fact, neither of these two approaches are optimal… what you really want is to align the performance (and compensation) of your sales team with increased company profit.
To accomplish this, start off by considering these questions:
- What size is your company?
- How new to market are you? (Also, how much market share do you have?)
- How long does it take to close a sale?
- What type of growth are you after? (i.e. Can you afford to¬†go negative on the initial front-end sale to acquire customers and make more profit on back-end sales?)
These questions are important because they will help you decide on an optimal commission structure. Once again,¬†an effective compensation plan will align with your business model and dramatically boost your growth — don’t relegate the commission structure¬†to being just¬†a “payment plan.”
The General Outline
Now, let’s go over the outline of your compensation plan.
There are four main areas you need to cover:
- Strategy – Do you offer increasing commissions over time… or after a certain number of successful sales? You need to intentionally design the commission plan so it¬†accelerates reps through the ranks.
- Payout Structure –¬†Will you pay reps a set rate per “close,” or base it on profit margin, or something else?¬†This depends on your business’ product/service.
- Performance Benchmarks – How will you monitor, manage, and report to your sales team? Are there certain quotas to meet… what about monthly or quarterly goals? Bonuses… random competitions? Are your sales reps competing against each other?
- Problem Procedures¬†– Issues can and will occur. What if two reps determine they have closed the same client? Save yourself unnecessary “headaches” and be prepared for this instance ahead of time. Get it down on paper to eliminate the¬†need for debate¬†or arguments.
Again, the answer to these questions depends on your specific organization. We could potentially give you “sample” answers, but that would be doing you a disservice. Take some time to ponder the right direction to take for your sales compensation plan.
What Your Commission Structure Needs To Accomplish
Apart from the actual creation of your compensation plan, there are a few other important items to discuss with your¬†management¬†team,¬†about the implementation of your new program.
To make the most of your time and effort, make sure your plan:
- Is well¬†documented and freely available to all of your staff (and potential candidates).
- Is extremely simple (i.e. no fine print, no “legal language,” and no confusing words) for employees to comprehend.
- Succinctly explains and demonstrates what sales people need to accomplish to reach certain financial goals.
- Is fair and enticing to both the employer and employee. (Finding the balance between profit maximization and compensation to reps is tricky. If you hire great salespeople but offer poor compensation… you end up with high turnover.)
Also, keep in mind that if you are a new company, selling a new product, in a new market… it will require above-average¬†compensation to attract the best salespeople. This has a lot to do with risk. High-performing sales people understand the value they bring to an organization, and seriously consider the pros and cons to joining a new company. They will typically weigh potential earnings (i.e. your compensation plan) against potential risk (i.e.¬†a poorly performing product or other issue outside their control).
How To Calculate The “Fine Details”
Finally, let’s consider the more specific elements of a commission structure.
How do you figure out the acceptable payment range?
Many companies will follow the “reverse” process for determining fixed commissions. For example, they will look at the cost per good sold and base that against potential profit and earnings.¬†Unfortunately, it tends to get even more complicated from there: you can determine cost of goods sold by purely looking at manufacturing costs… or you can also include marketing, administrative, and other expenses in the equation.
How do you choose a type of commission?
Typically, service companies – and products where the salesperson has room to negotiate price with the client – will go for a percentage of profit. This is meant to incentivize the sales person to go for the highest possible “close.” Using a fixed commission per sale is also standard, but ideally you want to incentivize ongoing improvement (i.e. by offering¬†a commission “ladder”). Similarly, you should consider utilizing (or at least testing) different bonuses, competitions, and other incentives¬†to find the absolute¬†most effective plan.
While working on your plan, keep these in mind:
- Don’t be afraid to test out multiple structures over a¬†certain time frame (whether 6 months, a year, or longer).
- Don’t be afraid to ask candidates (or current salespeople) what would interest them.
- You have¬†to be able to track all metrics involved in your commission structure, like completed sales and where they originated. (Nothing can be left to chance, or opinion, because this will lead to disaster.)
- It’s probably worth leaving some “room” in your budget¬†for potential spur-of-the-moment sales contests. You never know when an opportune moment will occur, and having the ability to drum up some instant sales in case of emergencies is very valuable.
Hopefully this guide helped demonstrate the importance of your sales commission structure.¬†It is absolutely worth the additional time and effort required to create a comprehensive plan… one that¬†will help drive massive growth in your business for years to come.
How to Manage a Sales Team Effectively
Record-breaking sales teams are not¬†just¬†the sum of every rep.
There is so much more involved in the process, including everything from your company philosophy to your commission structure. Today we’re going to explain the most¬†important elements necessary to craft a winning sales team.
Hire Based On Potential For Success
You can provide sales training materials, highly-targeted leads, and every other valuable opportunity to your sales team… and yet, none of those matter if you don’t hire the right people. In fact, that’s why many high-growth Fortune 500 companies are hiring heavily based on the “intangible” side of the resume. If we accept the notion that sales is a skill — one that can be perfected¬†by anyone given enough experience — then mindset and motivation are two of the most important values that a new candidate can bring to the table.
If they have the right “go-getter” drive to keep pounding the pavement relentlessly, until their goal is reached… then you know you’re talking to the real deal. Perseverance, self-driven motivation, and a desire to improve are three more qualities to notice. Remember, these reps have the ability to learn and grow their sales skills while on the job (through¬†real-world¬†experience). First and foremost, focus on hiring¬†the¬†right¬†people.
A Confident (And Knowledgable) Leader
There are two different¬†sides of sales team leadership: Accountability and support.¬†The first side, accountability, is the more commonly-known part of leadership. This refers to helping your individual sales reps set goals¬†(weekly, monthly, and quarterly are typical). It also includes holding the reps accountable to their expectations, and helping them figure out any problems if they are unable to meet goals.
There is also the support side of leadership, which relies on your ability to keep the sales team working at 100% efficiency. This doesn’t mean setting unrealistic expectations, or trying to overwork the team… it means being available to coach, to hand-hold, to help guide reps throughout the workweek.
Even though sales skills are honed through real-world experience, they still rely heavily on the emotional state of each rep. It’s the leader’s job to coach each sales person towards the most effective, healthy, and driven mindset possible. Hint: If you’re doing this correctly, you have a sales team that is consistently happy to come into work every day, while demonstrating increased sales numbers month after month.
The Right Philosophy
This is arguably the deciding factor in the success or failure of your sales team. It’s important to understand the desires of your sales team, and to make sure they align with the goals of the business. Top-performing sales teams are cultivated over time to have the most powerful mindset possible.
Here are a few examples:
- They believe in the company, and truly want to help it grow.
- They believe success will come in due time, given enough hard work.
- They believe they are selling a winning product.
- They believe they are helping the company strive for a market-leader position.
If your sales team is putting in 110% effort, because it’s their passion… you know you have created a successful and agreeable company philosophy. Try to think about the “intangible” side of sales management and leadership the next time you are focused on improving sales numbers. If you can¬†capitalize on these crucial¬†pieces of the management¬†equation, everything else becomes¬†significantly easier.
Are you Wondering Where to Find Sales People?
Do you have a hard time bringing in the right sales candidates…
And holding onto those reps until they become successful?
If so, your problem might be that you are looking for sales people in all the wrong places. That’s why we put together this simple three-step guide. Go through this process step-by-step and¬†see if there’s a sales-rep goldmine you’ve been neglecting to use.
Get Referrals From Trusted Colleagues
This one seems obvious, but so many businesses forget to take advantage of it. Acquaintances¬†in your business network will likely know people that would be perfect for your sales position. Whether it’s one of their close friends that wants to get into sales, or a coworker that is looking to change career paths, there are lots of potential candidates looking to join your team.
All you have to do is ask!
Talk to friends, business acquaintances, and even your colleagues at work: Chances are that they know a few sales people that are looking for a job. There’s one huge benefit to finding sales people through your personal network… your chances of getting a high-quality candidate are sky-high because they’re coming from a trusted¬†source.
Engage With People
Keep your eyes open… you might be interacting with the next superstar salesperson while going about your day. Most people overlook this huge opportunity. Think about it: On a weekly basis you most-likely meet hundreds of new people. So if the opportunity arises, make sure to capitalize on it.
Similarly, don’t be afraid to jump on social media and advertise your open positions. One especially good site for this is LinkedIn. Originally¬†designed as a professional network, it has grown over the past few years into a significantly different scope.
Now, you have access to a much larger pool of business-savvy professionals, even if they aren’t in your personal network.¬†So use it to your advantage.
Depending on the number of your connections (and a few other factors) you have the ability to interact¬†with different groups of¬†potential candidates at the push of a button. This definitely isn’t the most effective or efficient way to find candidates, though, so keep that in mind if you have serious time constraints.
Use A Tried And True Platform
Last, but surely not least, when you need high-quality candidates in record-breaking speeds try out our service. In as little as two days, you can start taking calls from potential candidates. Instead of dealing with the hiring headaches that come with traditional and slower methods… why not save time, and get access to qualified candidates without any work on your part?
Remember, there are tons of potential candidates out there, you just need a streamlined process to get their attention. As long as you know what to look for, and what qualities matter for your specific sales team, the rest is comparatively easy. Just line up some interviews, find the most qualified reps, and give them a chance.
Do You Need Sales People?
Are you experiencing abnormally high turnover rates?
The problem¬†may¬†not be with your hiring process (or the candidates), but actually might be a management issue. This is one of the most important¬†elements of growing an effective sales force, and yet, it is often¬†mishandled¬†by companies.
How much effort have you put into your on-boarding process? When a new rep joins the team, are they able to get up to speed within a few weeks… or¬†do they normally seem confused and¬†take months to start meeting their numbers? You can dramatically cut down on these issues, and improve your new salesperson on-boarding process by¬†having clear and consise answers to these seven questions:
1) How do you measure the success of new reps?
Is there a specific sales quota? If it is based off the performance of past sales people, then tell that to your new reps. Explain to them the normal progression of success that a rep will go through. Ideally, you should have data to back up these claims. The idea here is that you can ease new reps¬†into your sales team rather than just throwing them in “with the sharks.”
2) Who is your target demographic?
Is there a specific audience (or industry) that makes up your target customer? Your new rep needs to be briefed on the intricacies of this market. The most effective sales people will understand their target market perfectly, and be able to channel this knowledge into a stronger connection with prospects during the sales process. Everything from the type of entertainment your prospects consume to their standard political, philosophical, and cultural beliefs can be used to improve the effectiveness of a sales presentation.
3) What are the typical sales objections?
This is one of the most important points: Have case-studies and data ready to teach new sales people what to watch out for. They should know the top five sales objections by heart, along with a scripted response (or the correct way to engage this objection). This way, new sales reps won’t need to think on their feet during the first few presentations, they can just repeat a successful¬†response. Essentially, you are cutting down on the “learning period” for new reps by providing them with knowledge¬†from past sales meetings.
4) Are sales or marketing materials available?
What kind of materials are provided to new sales people? Do they need to create their own sales messages¬†(whether that is letters, brochures, or business cards)? Don’t assume that new reps will instantly pickup the best practices for selling your product… you need to teach them.
5) What’s the market positioning of your company?
What kind of positioning and authority does your company have in the industry? Are you selling high-priced products to affluent members of society, or is your business targeted at the average consumer. Your new sales people will need this information to effectively¬†target their sales pitch. Remember, the most effective sales approach will need to be tailored¬†heavily to the audience being sold.
6) What stage of the buying process are leads at?
Are your sales people trying to sign prospects up for a free consultation, or are they meant to close new customers on the spot?¬†These different types of “closes” will require different mindsets and approaches from your new reps. Again, the best way to guarantee success from your new sales people is to give them as much guidance¬†as possible. For this example, your new sales people should be given reports on the typical length of the sales process and how the target audience usually¬†responds.
7) Can¬†new salespeople create their own system?
Do your new sales people have creative freedom to customize the sales approach to their own personality? If not, is¬†your current sales system proven to work for the vast majority of reps? This is something to consider if you find that only a small segment of your new hires are able to meet or exceed their quota.
Use these seven questions as a starting point for evaluating your new salesperson on-boarding process. Remember¬†to do everything in your power to help motivate and jumpstart the success of new reps. Your on-boarding process covering¬†the first few weeks of a new salesperson will have one of the largest impacts on the overall¬†strength¬†of your sales team.
Top Qualities To Watch Out For When Looking For Salespeople
For most businesses, hiring is a complex process.
You need to attract the right people, offer the right incentives, create an effective on-boarding process, and guide those new reps to success. But it all starts with the hiring process… and to be more specific, it all starts with knowing what qualities to look for in a salesperson. That’s why we put together a comprehensive list of the most important ones:
1) Empathy (Or Real-World Experience)
One of the most invaluable qualities for a potential salesperson is empathy. That means a deep understanding of the pain-points, and solution that they will be selling. Similarly, real-world experience with your product takes empathy to an even greater level. The reasoning behind this is that a (real) customer of your product would make the best salesperson. They know the problem first-hand, they know the related issues, and they know¬†exactly what it takes to motivate a potential prospect to close the sale.
This is why many businesses will run mock sales calls (or meetings) with new reps to try and generate this first-hand experience. Another great way to instill the necessary product knowledge in your new reps is to give them your product. Let them see the product from the angle of a customer… it will absolutely make them more effective at closing.
2) Drive And Discipline
Another huge quality to watch out for when meeting and interviewing reps is ‘drive.’ The ideal candidate for almost any sales position is self-driven and motivated by success. You want salespeople that are willing (and happy) to do what it takes to beat their goals. Often, sales success will depend on motivation and effort, much more than inherent skills.
Think of it this way: If you have a choice between a salesperson that puts in 110% effort but lacks significant prior experience and a salesperson that has powerful sales ability but is lazy… the former will almost always achieve better results. Why? Because sales performance requires¬†mental fortitude¬†just as much as the ability to persuade.
3) Charisma: A Personality
Another top quality that is often misunderstood: charisma. When people normally think of charisma in sales, they picture the sly “used car salesperson” that was pushy and arrogant. That’s¬†the opposite of charisma… in reality, you’re looking for a person that can make friends in almost any situation. You want salespeople that can command control of a room from the moment they walk in the door, and do it in an agreeable way.
Have you ever been involved in a sales situation where you felt like you and the rep were “on the same side?” That’s good charisma, and that’s a powerful skill for sales. This type of personality is key for top-performers, and is something you should¬†definitely watch for during interviews. Remember, this has nothing to do with introversion or extraversion, either of these personality types can have serious charisma… it will just manifest in a slightly different way.
The next time you’re¬†looking for¬†salespeople, consider these qualities during the interview process and see what happens.¬†You will likely be pleasantly surprised with the results… because these are indications of great salespeople that don’t appear on a resume or cover letter.
How to Handle Sales Objections
When it comes down to the wire…
The best salespeople are the ones who know how to close.
Keep in mind: We’re not talking about closing your average customers. (Or the “easy” wins.)
No, we’re talking about closing sales that seem impossible. Handling objections, reframing the discussion, and really driving home the pitch. These hard-fought sales encounters are what really moves the bottom line for a business. The vast majority of people can close a “guaranteed” sale. Those are the customers who are planning on making a purchase before you even finish the pitch.
On the other hand, if you want to maximize your sales numbers… you need to close a higher percentage of the “maybes.” How do you do that? By handling objections like a seasoned professional.
Finding The Real Issue
Here’s the area where most salespeople go wrong: assuming the objection is exactly what the customer says. Previously we covered consultative sales, which is a question-based sales process that allows the customer to define their pain points and lead themselves towards the sale. Similar to that “SPIN” sales process, when dealing with objections you need to really hone in on the problem.
Typically you’ll hear objections like these:
- “I’m not interested.”
- “The price is too high.”
- “I’m not ready to buy yet.”
- “I need to think about it.” (Or “I need to ask my partner.”)
The reason you can’t take these statements at face-value is because there is normally an ulterior motive behind them. When the objection is related to price, normally the real problem is that you haven’t done a sufficient job of demonstrating the value behind your product.
Think of it this way: If I offer you $15 worth of value and ask for a fee of $10, you’d be crazy not to take me up on the offer. When it comes down to your sales pitch, you need to demonstrate a significantly higher¬†“value” than you are asking for in return. You can apply this same reasoning to any objections you come across.
Handling And Reframing The Discussion
When dealing with an objection, make sure you don’t come off as confrontational. Remember, you’re trying to help the potential customer deal with a pain point… they just require some additional clarification to reach a buying decision. Similarly, when making a counter-point, don’t say phrases that will come off as argumentative.
Instead of saying “It sounds like your only issue is the price, but I think you need to take into consideration benefit X, Y, and Z…” try using “It sounds like your only issue is the price, and I just want to reiterate the value of benefit X, Y, and Z.” Do you see the difference? In the first example, you are positioned as an undesirable salesperson, while the second approach sets you up as a trusted ally that has the prospect’s¬†best interest in mind.
When dealing with objections, remember to internalize your prospect’s point of view, discover the real problem, and then give additional information to help guide them towards a buying decision. This is¬†how you can guarantee a stress-free sales process that benefits everyone involved.¬†
How To Get Your Customers To Sell Themselves
Would you believe that sales doesn’t need to be pushy?
In fact, would you believe that sales can be a mutually beneficial process for both you and the customer?
If not… prepare to be surprised.
Consultative sales:¬†It’s not a new practice, but it is one of the most powerful sales systems to date.
Some people call it “solution selling” or you may have heard of “S.P.I.N. selling,” those are similar methods. The main thing you need to know is that this process involves going deep into the underlying problems and unmet needs of your prospect. Then you guide the prospect towards a potential solution to their problem — the solution being your product — through a process that resembles the ‘socratic method.’
The Step-By-Step Process
Step 1) The Situational Questions
Start off the sales process by asking questions regarding your prospect’s current situation — in regards to their pain points. For example, if you are selling a television service, then ask questions like:
- What type of cable or network television services are you subscribed to?
- How happy are you with your current television provider?
In this stage, you’re trying to build rapport. Use this time to get acquainted with the prospect, and get an initial idea of where they stand in regard to being a potential customer of yours.
Step 2) The Problem Questions
Now¬†you want to ask the prospect probing questions, and see if they have an unmet need. You want to find out what problems they have, so you can direct your attention – later on in the sales process – to their specific pain points.
The idea is that you are acknowledging the prospect’s situation, rather than trying to impose your own desires, and therefore are seen as a helping hand.¬†In other words, you want to build a relationship with this person and demonstrate that your intention is to help them find a solution to a problem… NOT to try and force your product on them.
Step 3) Implication Questions
This is the part of the process where the genius behind consultative sales starts to emerge. Using the answers your prospect gave you to the earlier questions — ask new questions based on the¬†implication¬†of not solving their problem.
- How much of an issue is losing TV access during a thunderstorm?
- Does the poor customer service by your current provider cause you a serious headache?
You are trying to lead the prospect to critically think about their problem, and really internalize how big of an issue it has become. In a way, you are allowing the prospect to get emotional about their pain points, and this will make them much more likely to seek out a solution.
Step 4) Need-Payoff Questions
At this point¬†we’re going for the close — but not the typical close you see in traditional “hard selling.” You have brought the prospect almost all way through the process, now you need to lead them towards the the final conclusion. Ideally at this point in the process, the prospect has realized that¬†your product will solve their pain points and is worth their immediate effort.
- If you could solve all of these problems, what impact would that have on your daily life?
- Would it be worth your time and effort to make the switch today?
If you’ve asked the right questions, and followed the process as described, your prospect will immediately jump on your offer. In other words: they will sell themselves. That’s the beauty of consultative sales, you are actually helping people solve their problems rather than trying to pressure them into an unnecessary product. Of course, the one caveat to this process is that your product needs to legitimately solve your prospects’ problems. But that’s a different discussion entirely, right?¬†
How to Hire Canvassers
Do you know how to sift and sort through candidates to find the right people for the job?
Hiring canvassers is hard because it requires a very specific skill set. It’s not practical to just hope you will find the perfect candidate… you need a process for finding and closing the reps that will help grow your business.
Today we’re going to explore the art of hiring and on boarding canvassers, and you’ll quickly realize that a significant portion of the process requires a personal touch. Why? Because you can’t just hire great salespeople on autopilot — you need to be there in the beginning to take them by the hand and teach them a professional and effective canvassing¬†approach.
Focus On The Right Qualities
Let’s face it: You need qualified, motivated, “go-getter” reps that have a very solid understanding of sales. But there’s one element that most business owners don’t realize: not all salespeople are born… most¬†are created. Before you can train them though, you first need to hire the right canvassers.
Here are four characteristics to look for:
- Boldness – Your new canvassers will need to be confident. “Faking it” won’t make it in this industry. Look for people that can handle knocking on doors and being personable (and professional) in situations that will often be unsettling.
- Rejection Is The Norm – Obviously you and your new sales person have the same results in mind: boatloads of sales, leads, or whatever conversion they are aiming for… but you need to make it abundantly clear that success comes alongside significant rejection. You need people that will keep marching through every “No” until they finally get a “Yes.”
- Think For Themselves – Another often unnoticed quality of successful canvassers is the ability to think critically. Sales may be a numbers game to the manager or owner… but for a salesperson, the act of addressing a person and soliciting a response is a very fluid act. It’s constantly changing and requires a person that has serious quick-thinking abilities.
- Not Afraid To Ask For The Sale – Opening the conversation and starting the canvassing process is great, but that’s not what drives sales. Your new canvassers need to have the drive to finalize the process — they need to be able to “ask for the sale” regardless of what that entails. If they’re afraid of persuasion, they might not be the right candidate.
Now Craft Your New Reps Into Canvassing Machines
So you’ve got a group of ready-to-roll canvassers… what now? Leadership.
This is arguably the most important step in the process (and where most businesses get it wrong). Now you need to take these reps and mold them into canvassing machines.
Spend a day (or two) out in the field with your new reps and show them how it’s done. This is the best possible training you could give your new canvassers — and remember, this is a win-win. There’s nothing more important that setting your reps up for success — because you both reap the rewards of an unstoppable canvassing force.
How To Deal With Serious Employee Issues
They happen in every organization. It’s a normal part of hiring and managing a large number of employees. Sometimes issues will¬†emerge that you just could not have predicted. When this happens, it’s important to have a smart approach for resolving these situations.
Today we’re going to explain how to deal with these problems¬†— what you need to know, how to communicate with the employees involved, and how to find¬†a suitable resolution.
Discover The Real Problem
The first step to resolving an HR issue is discovering what really happened.
Here’s the big secret behind workplace issues: They normally go much deeper than the surface-level problem.¬†You really need to be cognizant of this, because if you aren’t aware of the right problem, you can’t fix it.
Don’t just talk to the employees directly involved. Go around and ask their coworkers what’s really going on. Often, you’ll be surprised by the answers. For example, there’s a good chance that this workplace problem is actually caused by something happening in the employee’s personal life.
Focus On A¬†Resolution, Not Accusations
Remember that your goal is to resolve the issue — not to instigate further problems. There’s no point in making accusatory statements that will just add ‘fuel to the fire.’ Keep an open mind when talking with the employees and make sure this is very apparent. You want the employees to be able to trust and confide in you, otherwise a ‘win-win’ resolution will be nearly impossible.
There’s a few key strategies you can use to minimize workplace drama:
Do nothing at all – This HR tactic probably sounds like bad advice, but don’t brush it off just yet. If you get a notification of a problem, it’s best to sit back and wait for the problem to resolve itself. Give it a few days. Many smaller issues will resolve themselves (sometimes employees can be quick to report a minor issue)¬†and will lead to a stronger bond within the workplace.¬†If the problem still persists after this point, now it’s your turn to step in.
Checks and balances – Make sure your company culture is poised for success. Ask yourself:
- Is there an open line of communication between HR and employees for these sort of issues?
- Does your company culture foster healthy (or detrimental) competition between employees? If done improperly, this can lead to animosity among coworkers..
- Do you have a formal process for employee complaints? Is there an anonymous option?
- Does your workplace cater to¬†all of your employees’ needs, or only a small segment?
These are all important questions to consider before a problem arises.
Don’t forget¬†the “H” in HR – You’re dealing with humans, which means you need to empathize and understand each individual point of view before coming to a definite conclusion. Ideally, you want to figure out a win-win solution to every employee problem.¬†If this is impossible,¬†then try to be unbiased when deciding on a course of action.
At the end of the day,¬†realize that no one has the intention of causing problems for their employer or coworker…. sometimes it just happens. So focus on coming to a suitable resolution that will help foster a close-knit company culture.
How To Manage a Sales Team
Whether you like it or not… Your sales team needs a leader.
And not just any leader, they probably need YOU.
They need someone to guide them throughout every stage of the job.
From¬†getting acquainted with the product on day one, to closing their 100th sale.¬†Effective management of a sales force is arguably the¬†most important element of running a business. Even if every person you hire is a “born winner,” ready to attack sales with every ounce of energy in their body, they still need supervision to operate at an optimal level.
Here are four key¬†aspects¬†of successful sales management:
1. More Leading, Less Managing
It’s easy to manage people… it’s harder to lead them. Not surprisingly, the latter achieves results much greater than the former. Even though it seems like a time sink, putting in the effort¬†to carefully lead your sales team is worth it. It’s your job to figure out exactly what your salespeople need, and to deliver that in an appropriate manner. That could be time management strategies, some one-on-one coaching, even¬†encouraging them after failures.
Think of your sales team as professional athletes… they still need a head coach (that’s you) to¬†maximize their success.
2. Know The Key Performance Indicators
Know the key performance indicators of your sales staff. You should have exact data that demonstrates what type of effort equals what type of result. And that’s where goal-setting comes into play. Since you know what amount of calls, meetings, or consultations typically converts into a sale… you can now break down your sales into a science. It’s a good idea to have weekly¬†meetings where you discuss goals, priorities, and desired outcomes with each individual salesperson.¬†
3. Set Your Team Up For Success (Not Failure!)
Your salespeople are hungry for success, you just need to feed them the right ingredients.¬†They need solid leads and¬†a proven sales system. On top of that, they need a corporate environment that is conducive to success. Allow reps to customize the sales script to their own personality and style. Let them test different variations and run with whichever¬†works best.
Similarly, be positive about sales, but be blunt about failures. This isn’t to say you should reprimand reps for a failed attempt, but rather: don’t ignore poor performance. If you notice a rep struggling, jump in and lead them (by the hand, if necessary) towards better performance.
4. Know How To Motivate The “Don Drapers”
Congrats — you know how to hire the right people for the job… and you caught yourself a regular “Don Draper.” Now you need to motivate these high-performing reps to pull in massive numbers. Here’s how you do that: Celebrate the wins. Congratulate your top performing salespeople, and make sure they understand how much they are appreciated. On top of that, a significant chunk of a top dog salesperson’s motivation is typically money… so offer encouraging sales incentives for different tiers of success. You can even run monthly competitions for added effect. Sales is a competitive sport at the most basic level.
Remember that your entire sales force needs a central leader: someone to guide the team towards success. Use these strategies to maximize your sales team’s performance and improve the¬†overall company culture, because they go hand in hand.
Find a Superstar Salesperson
Getting in contact with potential sales reps is only half the battle…
If you want to hire top performers, you have to make it worth their while.
In a way, once you’ve identified the best prospects, you then need to ‘sell’ them on the job opportunity. Here’s the deal: There is an abundance of¬†high-paying opportunities for sales people that know how to get results.
It can get extremely competitive on the hiring side of sales, so¬†here’s how to¬†entice top performers to choose your business:
Know What You’re Looking For
First off, make sure you know exactly the type of candidate you want to hire. Take the time to develop a “persona” for your ideal sales rep, based off your current staff. Focus on the key performance indicators of a successful sales person within your business.
That might include:
- Industry experience
- Sales mindset and approach
- Formal education
Do you need someone that excels at cold-calling… door-to-door… or something completely different? It will vary from business to business, so make sure you¬†know the right person for your position.
What Are The Benefits?
Look at the situation from the sales person’s perspective. Think: “What’s in it for them?”
1) How will you pay new reps?
There are pros and cons to every payment option. Commission-only sales positions tend to attract¬†a wide spectrum of¬†candidates. For the top-performers, they see pure commission as a way to earn as much money as possible due to their experience. And with a proven track-record for getting results, that can be very enticing.
On the other hand, be aware that commission-only positions can sometimes scare off sales people. On occasion, it can be an¬†indication of a poor business model — if there is no base-salary — because¬†all of the initial risk is being put on the rep. Consider offering a base-salary, this additional¬†job security¬†may help you close a sales person that¬†would otherwise be reluctant to take your offer.
2) What are the “intangible” benefits?
Are there any other benefits to your sales position¬†that aren’t¬†obvious?¬†This could be anything like
- Being able to telecommute
- The location of your business
- Flexible hours
- Extensive new-rep training program
These unique benefits can be very compelling to sales people that have had to deal with less-than-perfect job conditions in the past.¬†Focus on relaying these important points to potential new reps as soon as possible, normally during the first interview.
3) What’s the new sales person on-boarding process?
Similar to the above two points, think about what happens immediately after a new sales person joins the team. Do you have an effective training program for quickly getting new reps acquainted with your product? Is there a heavy-reliance on their own intuition and skills, or do you have proven scripts (and other resources) to give sales reps a head-start? These are extremely important questions to consider, because they will be running through the mind of your interviewee.
Think about these ideas before launching your next hiring campaign. They just might lead you to a more effective, productive, and successful sales team.
At the end of the day, it’s in your best interest to¬†do everything in your power to¬†attract superstar sales people.
Recruit Door to Door Sales People
Do you know how to recruit the right sales people?
Having an effective¬†recruitment¬†system¬†is¬†vital for businesses in the process of hiring new reps.
It’s¬†the difference between a massive ROI for your business, and yet another turnover. Why? Because what¬†seems¬†like a solid candidate¬†will not always turn out that way.
You need a repeatable¬†process for identifying¬†the right¬†people: the high-achievers, the “hustlers,” but most importantly reps¬†that will thrive in your specific sales environment. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as choosing candidates with the best-looking resume. That’s why we created a comprehensive guide to recruiting the best candidates for *your* business.
Hire A Person, Not A Resume
Want to quickly differentiate candidates during an interview? Forget the normal questions. You can bet that every person coming into an interview has prepared answers. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but these answers will only¬†highlight their previous accomplishments. You want the truth: The good. The bad. And the ugly. (Because that’s the only way to get an accurate¬†picture of¬†their abilities.)
This isn’t to downplay the significance of experience and education… they matter, to an extent.¬†But once you’ve initially screened candidates for those factors, move onto the tougher questions.
- What was their first “sales” experience? (Not necessarily in a corporate environment.)
- What do you do when you lose a sale?
- What¬†are they motivated by?
The point here is to get a deeper understanding of what drives them. Think about it: Would you rather hire a rep whose¬†first experience with sales was out of necessity… or one who had a natural inclination towards ‘persuasion,’ and other elements of sales since childhood. For the second question, you want a candidate that sees a lost sale as an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to further their¬†skills.
Look For The Perfect Match
Another key piece of this initial recruitment process is finding the right “match.” Ask yourself: Do the desires of this sales candidate match up with the structure and requirements of your job? There’s a significant difference¬†between various door to door sales positions. Similarly, the right candidate will slightly vary for every market.
Here’s one way to discover the optimal candidate:¬†Try to come up with an ideal salesman¬†‘persona.’ Look at your current sales staff. Which reps are pulling in the highest numbers? The lowest? What traits differentiate the two groups? (Don’t be afraid to get specific here.) The answer to these questions might be surprising… and hopefully it will help you realize what type of sales people will¬†succeed the most within your company.
Think you found a winner?
Put them to the test. Right on the spot, give them an opportunity to demonstrate their sales ability. This could be in the form of a simulated product¬†pitch (doesn’t need to be your own product,¬†just one that the rep is familiar with).
Focus on¬†how¬†they deliver their pitch more than¬†what¬†they are saying. Do they project confidence? Are they calm and focused during¬†this on-the-spot, possibly stressful situation? Look for the¬†tell-tale signs of your ideal sales person. If a candidate makes it through this process — and has all the other requirements — you¬†might’ve just found the right person for the job.
Consider Paying Sales Reps a Base Salary
It’s an age old conundrum. ¬†If you pay a sales rep a salary, they’re less likely to be motivated. ¬†Offer them 100% commission only and very few are interested.
FORTUNE 500 ARE DOING IT
Over the years we’ve noticed that all of the very large companies we work with pay a nominal base salary of between $300 and $600 per week. Most of these companies are in the door to door or home improvement space, and it seems a little strange that they would ¬†offer a base. ¬†In addition to benefiting from name recognition (eg., Scotts Lawn or Home Depot), they get a huge boost by offering a small base salary and a variety of other benefits such as health care or a 401k plan.
CANDIDATES ARE LAZY, JUST LIKE YOU
While the dream is to hire 100% commission-only salespeople, the reality is that it’s several magnitudes more difficult to do so without paying a base or offering any kind of benefits. ¬† Have you ever posted your resume online? If not, you should try it. ¬†Candidates are bombarded with 10-20 emails a day about various jobs. ¬†Many are MLMs or scams of some kind, so candidates are understandably wary of all offers. ¬†Candidates approach their job search the way you might approach looking for information online, such as researching a new vendor. ¬† There’s so much information to go through, we just don’t have the time anymore. ¬†Everything is quickly scanned so that we may rule it out. ¬†Job seekers are doing the same thing with the offers they get by email. ¬†They’re looking for specific things:
- Is this a scam?
- What company is this?
- Does this opportunity match what I’m looking for?
- How much does it pay?
- Is it commission-only?
- How does the website look?
REACH INTO YOUR POCKET
Can you afford $400-500 per week for an initial period of two or three weeks while you determine if the sales rep is going to work out? ¬†The sales rep gets a little security and the ability to pay for a few basic necessities, and you benefit from a much larger candidate pool. ¬†At $500 per week, it’s unlikely that your fledgling sales rep will rest on their laurels.
These large companies pay small base salaries because it makes sense. ¬†They’ve got a lot of seats to fill and they’ve figured out the most efficient way to reach that goal. ¬† While paying a base certainly isn’t a requirement, you’ll notice a huge difference in the numbers and quality of salespeople coming through your door.
Quick Guide: Choosing the Right Keywords for your Campaign
If you’re reading this post you’re probably concerned that we’ll pick the wrong search terms for your campaign, however there’s not much chance of that happening. ¬†Over the last ten years we’ve performed over 30,000 searches for a wide variety of companies.
The main reason we ask you to provide keyword terms it to make sure we’re on the same page – to confirm what we already know, and to include additional words you’ve requested. ¬†We’re always on the lookout for a new keyword, so please keep them coming!
BOOLEAN SEARCH DEFINED
Boolean (Pronounced BOO-LEE-UN) Logic was created by a mathematician back in the 19th century. ¬†A Boolean search is a string of words, phrases and Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) that allow us to perform a complex search on resume.
Here is a simple example and result in the image below: ¬†¬†+Sales +(Canvass* OR “Door to door” OR “Field sales” OR Knock* OR “Direct Sales”) ¬†AND (Directv OR Comcast OR Kirby) NOT (“Retail Sales” OR tax OR analyst OR administrative)
This search will force the word “Sales” along with one word from the second grouping (“Door to Door”) as well as one word from the third grouping (“Kirby”) ¬†and will not display resumes that have any words in the last grouping.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD KEYWORD?
The best keywords are generally words or phrases that are common. ¬†Single words are better than phrases because they’re going to be much more common. ¬† Traits are not effective keywords (eg., Cheerful, Motivated, Leader, “On Time”). ¬†Your competitors names can work well, as long as they’re very large companies (eg., Terminix, Kirby, Cutco, Primerica, Yellow Pages).
THINK IT THROUGH
Ask yourself the following questions to spark ideas:
- Who are my very large competitors in the area?
- What other types of people would work for this position? ¬†(if you’re selling local marketing services to small businesses, you might use “Merchant Services” as a keyword)
- What kinds of people do I want to exclude? ¬†What types of people would never succeed in my opportunity? (these are your negative keywords)
- What are the synonyms of my main keywords? ¬†(if you’re looking for home improvement sales reps, you might search for “in home”, “construction sales”, HVAC or XACTIMATE)
INDUSTRY SPECIFIC EXAMPLES
Here are some keywords that we’re already using for the most popular types of sales reps and industries:
Outside Sales: ¬†Hunter, Closer, Yellow Pages, B2B, Cold Call, Lead Generation, Insurance Sales, Merchant Services, Prospecting, Sales Leader, District Manager
Door To Door Sales: ¬†Field Sales, Direct Sales, Storm Damage, Solar, Canvassing, Terminix, Knocking, Census, ADT, Scotts, Pest Control, Residential Sales
Home Improvement Sales: HVAC, XACTIMATE, Solar, Home Depot, Lowes, Remodeling, Restoration, Wind/Hail Damage, Roofing, Outside Sales, Hunter, Closer, Lead Generation
Inside Sales: Inbound, Outbound, Telesales, Telemarketing, Sales Associate, Sales Executive, Debt Collection, Appointment Setting, Phone Sales, Call Center, Sales Representative
Lawn/Pest Control: ¬†Trugreen, Pest, Bartender, Yellow Pages, Door to Door, Canvassing, Kirby, Cutco
Digital Marketing/Advertising: ¬†Digital, SMM, Social Media Marketing, Internet Advertising, Advertising Sales, New Media, Digital Media, Groupon, Living Social
Merchant Services Sales: Merchant Services, Local Businesses, ISA, ISO, Payment Processing, Outside Sales, Hunter, Closer, Cold Call, Lead Generation, Yellow Pages, Heartland Payment Systems
SEO Sales: ¬†SEM, SEO, Adwords, Internet Advertising, Local Business, Small Business, B2B, PPC, “Pay Per Click”, Hunter, Closer, Yellow Pages, Outside Sales
Print Advertising: ¬†Printing, Direct Mail, Newspaper, Magazine, Branding, Promotional, Directories, Print Media, Television, Radio, Broadcasting
Finance/Wealth/Insurance: ¬†Series 6, Series 7, Wealth, CFP, Financial Planner, CLU, Trader, Wealth Management, Insurance Sales, Life License, Banking, Investments, Pharmaceutical, Broker, Securities, Collegiate, Athlete, Football
If you have any questions, please ask your account manager. ¬†Lastly, make sure you don’t forget the negative keywords and good luck with your campaign!
In this blog post, I’m going to give you some general tips on exactly what you might say to door to door sales reps, in-home home improvement sales reps, or really any other type of high turnover commission-based salesperson that may call you as a result of our efforts.
If you’re looking to find sales reps for a straight 100% commission-only position, if you’re new to hiring sales people on straight commission, or if this isn’t something you do on a regular basis, you could probably benefit from reading this document.
Please understand that using our service does not guarantee that you’ll hire someone, especially if you’re hiring for door to door sales or insurance sales. ¬†Our most experienced clients who use us on a weekly basis to hire commission-only sales people will say that they often strike out about once a month. ¬†Your success will depend on a number of things, including the quality of your opportunity, your geographic location and your recruiting experience level. Like any type of sales, hiring sales people on commission is a numbers game!
KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVE
It important to realize that in this scenario the sales candidate is the prospect and the interview is the sale. ¬†The interview is important because you’ll have a much easier time bringing that candidate on board if you are face to face with them, at your office. ¬†To that end, you should always be closing for the interview.¬†Each call should last about two minutes and no longer than three.
Be nice and polite, but also firm and confident. ¬†Never lose your cool when talking to a potential candidate, as they could one day become your customer. ¬†Keep in mind that in addition to recruiting for you we are advertising your business to hundreds of people.
Here are some specific response examples during a call:
Candidate: “Hi, I was calling about the position.”
Response A: “Hi, is this John Smith? (You used the Caller ID to look up the identify of the caller.) ¬†Yes, I contacted you regarding some of the outside sales opportunities we have here in the Memphis area. ¬†If that’s of interest to you, I’d like you to come in and talk about the position and see if it’s a good fit for us both. ¬†Are you available tomorrow afternoon?”
Response B: “Yes! If you’re interested in a sales position we could bring you in some time later this week. ¬†We’ll tell you more about the position and learn a little bit more about you and see if it’s a good fit for both of us. ¬†How does either tomorrow morning or Thursday afternoon look to you?
Response C: “Yes. ¬†I was reaching out to you regarding a sales position. I came across your resume online and wanted to see if you’d be interested in an outside sales position. ¬†I’m looking for someone who has the passion and motivation to learn our business and hit the ground running. ¬†How does your schedule look like later this week?
USE AN ASSISTANT
One effective approach is to use an assistant to handle the candidate calls for you. ¬†The assistant doesn’t know the details of the opportunity and their only task is to schedule the interview with the prospect.
Candidate: “Hi, I’m calling for John Smith please.”
Response A: “Hello, this is his assistant, Jane. Did you schedule to meet up with him yet? No? Well I can schedule you in for an interview right now if you like?”
Response B: “He’s actually occupied with another candidate right now, and he’s asked me to help you if you’re calling about the sales position. ¬†We have a number of sales opportunities now in the Memphis area. ¬†I can schedule a meeting with John for tomorrow if you like? ”
Response C: “John is away at the moment, but I can help you.” ¬†Candidate: “What does the job pay?” ¬† Assistant: “I don’t have access to those numbers, but John will give you the full run down when you speak with him. ¬†Are you available tomorrow to meet with John?”
In response A, you’re simply assuming the sale and just asking for the interview. ¬†The candidate may think they’ve really lucked out by reaching John’s assistant!
MORE RESPONSE EXAMPLES
Candidate: “I just got a call from this number.” or “Did you call me?”
Response: “Yes, I was trying to reach you about an outside sales opportunity here in Memphis and I’m conducting interviews this week to have people come in and learn more about the position. ¬†Are you available this Wednesday to come in?
Response B: “We were reaching out to you regarding some career opportunities here in the Memphis area. Is that something you’d be interested in?
Candidate: “I sent you my resume, can I learn a bit more about the position before we meet?”
Response A (if you have their resume): ¬†“Mark, I see that you have experience in mortgage banking and insurance – so, some great sales experience here. ¬†We are looking for someone with the motivation to learn our process from the ground up, with the opportunity to make six figures offering our services to homeowners in the Memphis area. ¬†Is that something you’d be interested in?”
Response B (no current sales experience): “Mark, this is an outside sales position, however we offer paid training for the right individual. ¬†Are you open to a career change?”
Response C (no resume): “Mark, we offer a fantastic opportunity for the right person. ¬†Our average reps make $35-60K a year, but we have a number of people making 6 figures. ¬†We offer benefits after 90 days and paid training. ¬†Does Friday work for you?”
Candidate: “What exactly does the job entail?”
Response: “You’ll be meeting with homeowners to discuss our services and helping them achieve their goals. ¬†What’s your schedule like later this week?”
Response: “Mark, this is an outside sales opportunity, offering our services to homeowners. ¬†It would be easier to go over everything once you’re here. ¬†Can you come in tomorrow afternoon?”
Response C: “Mark, we have a number of opportunities available and it would be easier to discuss if you came in. ¬†How does late tomorrow afternoon work for you?”
Candidate: “I’m currently working as a manager at Lowes and I’m not sure this is the right opportunity for me.”
Response: “Have you considered a career change? I’m sure you have to put in a lot of hours in that position. ¬†This job may be difficult at first but once you get rolling you may find there is a lot more flexibility and the pay is better. ¬†Can you swing by tomorrow morning to discuss it in more detail?”
Candidate: “Is this a Door to Door sales position?”
Response: “Essentially yes. You’ll be meeting with homeowners to discuss our services. ¬†We’ve got a great paid training program and will support you the entire way. ¬†Can you come in Thursday to discuss it in more detail?”
Candidate: “What is the pay?”
Response A: “We usually get in to that in detail during the interview, do you have time later this week?”
Response B: “Pay is 100% commission, however we offer a paid training program during your first month of $400 per week. After that you’ll make a straight 20% on our services. ¬†Average reps make between $700-1200 per week. ¬†If you’re good you can make 6 figures at this opportunity.”
FINAL NOTES TO KEEP IN MIND
- Offer more than one position during the call, such as the possibility for management. It helps if the candidate thinks there may be multiple opportunities to discuss.
- During the call, provide no more information than is necessary to complete your objective (set the appointment!)
- Use basic sales techniques such as the Alternative Close and Assume the Sale
- Always close for the interview
- If you can pay your reps a small weekly base pay ($300-$500), you will have a lot more success. ¬†We will be writing an article about compensation very soon.
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
I’ve always been fascinated by intelligence and generally enjoy the company of people far smarter than me, which is probably a healthy trait for someone in business.¬† If we can assemble diverse, effective and talented people into a team, we’ll achieve far more than if we try to run a top-down enterprise where the boss is the only person with any brains; however, intelligence, in the form of raw brain-power, is by no means a clear validator and indicator of success.¬† Many of the brightest people in the world have ended up in menial jobs, or even prison, because they could not adapt, communicate, or relate to ordinary people.¬† Others have thrived, though their success may not be measured in conventional materialistic metrics.
Nevertheless, when our business is to find sales reps or contract with employees, we have a bias in favor of intelligence, coupled with an assessment of the individual‚Äôs specialized abilities for the work, and the potential employee / contractor’s personal relationship skills. We use a variety of working tests and evaluation tools to get around the ‚Äúsend a resume, attend an interview‚ÄĚ hiring model.
More recently, I’ve tested another enhancement to this concept. We are seeking a new publisher to replace our retiring publisher in North Carolina. We have used a variety of services, including Time to Hire, to find a commission sales person. I ended up with about 30 inquiries, and a shorter list of 12 short-list finalists. Instead of spending hours interviewing and testing them, I devised a challenging assignment: I described the general scope of the position, provided some background data, and gave the candidates access to any specific information they needed. I then offered them $100 to complete a work plan on how they would handle the job, while outlining their expectations and requirements to proceed. I explained that the compensation would, in part, cover the extra effort they would need to apply to be successful at this initiative.
Three candidates responded with thoughtful answers that were worthy of the compensation. One explained how he would forgo significant pension opportunities by accepting the offer now, but said he would like to remain in consideration if an opening occurs next year. We have contracted the other two: one will primarily serve the North Carolina market, and the other will focus on South Carolina.
I can’t say with absolute confidence that this recruiting modification will be helpful, but you may see similarities to the compensation models offered for design / build proposals, where significant creativity and effort is required by the short-list finalists. It is unfair to ask ‚Äúmaybe‚ÄĚ sales candidates to put exceptional effort into the hiring process without some level of compensation, and I think it is fair that some of the ideas from the candidate(s) who don’t get the job can be applied in the business, as long as they are paid for their efforts.
It is also worthy to note that several candidates who looked good on initial screening declined to complete the evaluation. This may have been a reasonable option on the candidate’s part if we wanted just a ‚Äúsales rep‚ÄĚ but, in our organization, regional publishers have to work at a much higher level, behaving and thinking more like independent business owners.
Maybe we can benefit from upending some of our traditional practices, and pay a little up front for careful thought and sincere effort. We may not attract perfection, but I sense our results will be much better than the raw-herd hiring mentality. A similar model may be worth considering the next time you are recruiting sales reps.
This was a guest post by Mark Buckshon, President of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. You can read his daily blog at www.constructionmarketingideas.com.¬† He can be reached by phone at (888) 432-3555 ext 224 or by email at email@example.com.
Important Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales People
A great sales team is the backbone of any successful company. With the right team on your side, you will see an instant improvement in your company‚Äôs performance. Hiring the wrong salesperson can have profoundly negative consequences. Sometimes it‚Äôs difficult to know what questions to ask to make sure you‚Äôre not stuck with a salesperson that looked great on paper but in actuality couldn’t sell a dollar for fifty cents. Asking the right questions during the interview process can help ensure that you¬†hire a salesperson that will improve your company‚Äôs performance, rather than hinder it.
¬†Ask For Specific Details about Their Performance in the Workplace
It is important not to focus on ‚Äúwhat‚ÄĚ the sales candidate did in the past, but rather ‚Äúhow‚ÄĚ they did it. How were they able to overcome the challenges they faced? How did they do their job? Be as specific as possible with your questions. If you can understand their working process, you can better determine whether or not they will be a good match for your company.
In addition, you’ll also want to get an idea of how the candidate performed when compared to their peers. Find out how large their previous sales team was. If they performed well among a large team of 100 or more individuals, this is a good indicator that they are highly skilled and can likely bring something valuable to the table.
Find Sales Reps who can Handle Rejection
During the interview process, it is important to not only find out about the candidate‚Äôs successes, but their failures as well. No matter how great a salesperson is, they will face rejection from time to time. The way in which they handle rejection speaks volumes of their character and their willingness to learn from their mistakes. Ask them to describe a time when they were sure they were going to close a deal, but suddenly lost the sale. Pay attention to the way in which they answer the question. If they fail to take personal accountability, they may have great difficulty learning from their mistakes and growing.
Ask the Candidate about Their Success Rate
What is their ratio of calls to closes? This is a good indication of the type of performance you can expect should you hire them for your team. It is also important to find out how many calls they typically make in one day.
Find Out What Their Sales System Is
Ask the candidate for details about their sales system. How does the process start? How do they handle customers that are irate or difficult? Ask them to be as specific as possible. This will give you an idea of whether or not their sales method will work well with your customer base.
When formulating your interview questions, make sure that you tailor them to your company‚Äôs needs. Just because a particular candidate performed well with their previous company, it does not mean that they will be a good fit for your company. A great salesperson is never easy to find, so take the time to compile a list of questions that will help you choose the ideal candidate for your team.
Guest Post by:
Your Website is the new Storefront
The year is 1993.¬† Meet John.¬† John owns a small Merchant Services company near Hartford Connecticut. Since the Time To Hire service hasn’t been invented yet, John uses the local newspaper to look for commission-based sales people.
John gets quite a few calls and is able to set up quite a few meetings; however, he can’t seem to find anyone who wants to come back for a second meeting.¬† Concerned, John pores over every aspect of his process.¬† John is offering a small draw against commission of $500 per week, medical benefits, a retirement plan and even paid training – much, much more than most companies.¬† What could be the issue?
John’s assistant gingerly offers an explanation. “The office could use a touch of paint, and possibly a new sign.”¬† John hadn’t considered the condition of the office up until this point.¬† He’s done everything himself in terms of the decor.¬† The office is in a professional building, however John used the local “Quick Sign” company, and it really looks like he got what he paid for.¬† Instead of a steel, professionally designed sign, he chose a vinyl one which is now covered by a thick coat of mildew.¬† The office conference room where John meets new recruits is devoid of any character.¬† The conference table was purchased second hand and the chairs are cheap and falling apart.¬† There’s no art on the walls or potted plants.¬† Just an old dry erase board and a lectern.
In today’s world, your website is the new store front.¬† It’s the first thing that candidates come across when they learn about your company.¬† It’s important to understand that sales reps are constantly filtering information in the same way you do. After posting their resumes, job seekers can see ten or more emails every day, many of which are some kind of scam or multi-level marketing.¬† An easy way for candidates to spot a scam is to check out the quality of the employers website.¬† In addition to filtering out scams, sales professionals don’t want to waste their time with unprofessional companies.¬† A¬†quick glance at a website is always the first step in this process.
Does your virtual store front need a face?¬† Have you asked your friends and business associates what they really think of your site?¬† Have you ever had a professional give you their opinion of the site?¬† It might be good idea to get some feedback on your site before embarking upon any marketing program, including a recruiting campaign with Time To Hire.
When you’ve finally come to the realization that your website stinks, what do you do now?
What would you pay for a new physical sign at your business? Probably several thousand dollars.¬† The answer is going to be slightly different depending on your budget.¬† I recommend spending as much as you can afford and then some.
If you’re on a budget, here are some services that can help:
99designs.com:¬† You set the price, and designers around the world offer basic designs for logo or web design work.¬† You chose the winner, who then goes on to finish your project.¬† Prices for logos range from $50-1000 and $500-$3500+ for websites.
bmobilized.com:¬† Will (mostly) automatically convert your existing site into a mobile site for only $9 per month.¬† Bmobilized is only as good as your current site, however.
The more money you can throw at the project, the better your results will typically be. ¬†A better looking, well thought out website will yield many more conversions (e.g., leads, interested candidates). ¬† High end design doesn’t come cheap. A professionally designed website that may include branding, logo, animation and web forms can cost you from $5,000 to $20,000 or more.
What is your current website costing you in lost sales or quality hires?
Measuring Distance in Google Maps
When you utilize our service we ask you to choose a recruiting area. ¬†This usually consists of a single zip code and radius, a single state or the entire United States. As always, we can search additional areas or zip codes in the same campaign at additional cost. ¬†If you choose a zip code or city, we’ll need to know how far out you’d like to go in all directions (the radius). ¬† You can choose a 20, 30, 40, 50, 75 or 100 mile radius for your search. Keep in mind that this is “As The Crow Flies”, and not based on road miles.
Some clients want to make sure candidates are within an appropriate range of their business. ¬†A standard radius for most Outside Sales Commission Based opportunities is usually 40-50 miles. ¬†Inside or Telesales People usually commute into an office each day, so your recruiting radius will usually be 20 or 30 miles. ¬†Other clients want to avoid an adjacent state due to territorial reasons.
Google Maps makes this an easy process if you follow the steps below.
First, you need to enable the Distance Measuring Tool by clicking on Maps Labs, as shown below.
Next, click “Enable” and then save.
Next, click on the tiny tape measure as show below.
Next click “English” for Miles and choose a starting location (usually your office) and then the farthest point out you’d like to go in all directions.
Easy peasy right?
Using Role Playing To Hire Sales People
While many companies hire sales reps based on candidates‚Äô experience, others find raw talent to be a stronger harbinger of success. But, how do you identify and measure ‚Äúraw talent‚ÄĚ during the hiring process?
Austin Merritt, the COO at Software Advice–a website that presents reviews and ratings of software for sales professionals–recently shared how he objectively measures raw talent while recruiting sales reps.¬†In a post on Software Advice‚Äôs New Talent Times blog, Merritt shares his ‚Äúcoffee scenario,‚ÄĚ a role-playing scenario used when hiring for his commission-based inside sales telemarketing team. It closely imitates the process his team goes through when placing sales calls. Except, instead of advising the caller on what software to purchase, the sales candidate advises the caller on what coffee shop to visit. Here are a few key tips Merritt has shared about his process:
DEVELOP A SET OF COMPETENCIES TO LOOK FOR
What are the top uncoachable competencies required for a sales candidate to thrive in a role? For example, when hiring for their outside sales team, Software Advice grades along the following criteria:
Articulation – Do they clearly communicate their thoughts?
Energy – Does the candidate appear alert and genuine on calls?
Ability to take control – Can the candidate steer the conversation?
Ability to think on their feet – Can the candidate respond calmly, but quickly?
Coachability – Does the candidate understand the scenario enough to apply?
Your competencies may (and probably should) be different. Identify what empowers current star performers to be successful, and make your list of competencies around these qualities.
CREATE A PROJECT TO TEST THEM
The ‚Äúcoffee scenario‚ÄĚ is effective because coffee is a familiar subject matter. Candidates are familiar with coffee, and it allows interviewers to focus on talent over domain expertise. The topic should be common enough for sales candidates to complete successfully without much preparation. In Software Advice‚Äôs instance, they set up a 10-minute mock sales call, but it doesn’t have be a phone call. Create something you can present to an applicant before meeting them in person.
USE A UNIVERSAL GRADE SCALE FOR PERFORMANCE
To ensure that every sales candidate gets a fair shot, develop a scoring method that can be kept consistent. If someone scores low in one area, but nails the others, it may be worthwhile to give the candidate another shot at the role-playing scenario. It doesn’t take too long, and by giving people a second chance, you‚Äôre leaving no stone unturned.
Before you bring someone to your office, try out a short role-playing scenario for them to showcase their raw talent. It‚Äôs a quick and easy way to critically assess strengths and weaknesses during the early stages of an interview process.
We’ve very happy to announce that Sugar Shack Animation has finished our new intro/explanation video! The goal of the video is to help our new clients understand our service more quickly while maintaining our professional image.
We think they’ve nailed it!
Here’s Sugar Shack Animation’s Promo Video. ¬†Check out their business videos here.
A Guide: How To Hire Commission Only Sales¬†Reps
Before you decide to embark on the most challenging hiring choice a company can make, please take the following points into consideration.
CONFIRM YOUR BUSINESS MODEL
Do you have a short sales cycle? ¬†Commission salespeople typically need to get paid as quickly as possible. ¬†Pay them weekly if you can. ¬†If your business has a longer sales cycle, you may need to pay a small base salary – at least at the beginning. ¬†How easy is your product or service to sell? ¬†If many weeks or months are required and if relationships are super important, you may want to consider offering some type of draw.
READY YOUR SALES SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Salespeople working on commission want to do little else than sell. ¬†They certainly don’t want to be bogged down with paperwork. Is the invoicing system you’re using the most efficient possible? Even if your business has a short sales cycle, you’ll likely need some way of managing clients and prospects. Check out cloud-based applications that let your salespeople work from anywhere such as Zoho CRM.
PROVIDE MORE TRAINING THAN NEEDED
Most things seem obvious to you because this is your business and you know it inside and out. ¬†The more training you provide, the better head start your ¬†new sales reps will have. ¬†If possible, videotape yourself during the process so you don’t have to repeat the process in the future.
KNOW YOUR SALES PROCESS
Don’t make the mistake of expecting your new salesperson to create your sales process for you. ¬†For example, if cold calling will be required, make sure you’ve been successful in the past with this yourself. Write down scripts as well as any tips that may help your new salespeople get their foot in the door.
ATTRACT THE BEST TALENT
The pool of high-performing commission only sales reps is highly competitive.Find out what your competitors are offering and pay them ¬†more. ¬†Consider offering additional incentives such as paid training, or providing a cell phone and laptop. ¬†Offer yearly trips to exotic locations for your highest performing commission sales people. ¬†Most commission salespeople will want to make $100,000 or more per year, so make sure your model supports this.
BE HONEST AND UPFRONT
In general, it’s good to be honest with sales reps. Make sure they understand exactly what’s involved with your opportunity. How many cold calls will they have to make each day? How long will it realistically take before they close their first sale? What expenses will be involved?
HAVE A PLAN
When prospective sales reps are calling in to speak with you, it’s a good idea to know exactly how you’re going to respond to basic questions. ¬†How much can I make? Is this commission only? It might make sense for you to put candidates through a series of steps. ¬†The first step might be a really short 2-3 minute phone call. The second step could be a longer, 10-15 phone interview followed by an in-person interview.
KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR
This is very hard to determine. ¬†How can you tell who will be successful in your opportunity? ¬†Seasoned sales people often fail while complete newbies become superstars. ¬†Most of the answer lies in their drive and determination. ¬†Learn the traits of other successful commission sales people in your industry or those already in your employ. Some customers have mentioned that candidates involved with competitive sports have often been a good match.
UNDERSTAND THE POWER DYNAMIC
Create an environment where the candidate feels comfortable and is pulled versus pushed into the opportunity. ¬†Statements such as “I’m not sure you’d be right for this position, it requires a lot of hard work – especially at first.” might be good to consider. Since you aren’t paying a base salary, candidates may think it would be easy to get the job. Make sure they understand that the job requires more than simply fogging a mirror.
PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
Treat commission only sales reps as if they were a prospective customer. If your office¬†set-up¬†doesn’t display a high degree of confidence, meet sales reps for coffee instead. How professional is your website? If candidates haven’t heard of your company, the first thing they’ll do is look you up on-line. ¬†Commission reps will take a similar approach when evaluating your company as a new customer would, so make sure everything looks as successful as possible. ¬†“Home-made” or websites created with a template typically will contribute to the failure of your campaign. ¬†Additionally, are there bad reviews about your company on-line?
HIRE MORE COMMISSION SALES REPS THAN YOU NEED
Commission-based sales reps are going to be transitory by ¬†nature. ¬†You’ll need to keep a steady stream of sales reps going into the top of your recruiting pipeline to be successful. ¬†While additional reps may require more administration headaches, you’ll have more to compare against. ¬†Give¬†under-performing¬†reps the axe as soon as possible.
DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
While we like to imagine that we’re the only source for hiring commission only sales reps, we know that just wouldn’t be prudent on your part. ¬†To find a salesperson you may need to go to networking events and meet other small business owners. ¬†Considering setting up symbiotic ¬†hiring partnerships with other businesses who are also hiring sales people. ¬†Offer to send them candidates that may be a better fit for their organization. ¬†Check with your network on LinkedIn for referrals sales reps and join local organizations like Toastmasters. ¬†The more exposure you have in your local market, the more places you’ll find sales reps.
NEVER GIVE UP
Remind yourself that commission only sales people are the most difficult type of hire! We have clients that use us on a weekly basis who report that they often strike out on a given week. ¬†While we’ll always do our best for you, sometimes you just won’t hire someone your first time out. ¬†Those you do hire will probably drop out or fail at some point in your process, and that’s totally normal. ¬†Keep trying new things and increasing your recruiting skills.
Remember, always be recruiting! Good luck.
When you’re ready to hire, give us a call at 888-447-3001 9am-8pm M-F EST. ¬† You may also click one of the following links depending on the type of salesperson you’re looking for: ¬†Outside Sales, Home Improvement Sales, Door to Door Sales, or Inside Sales.
Hire Sales Reps in a Group Environment
During the financial collapse of 2001, I found myself in rough shape financially. ¬†I answered an advertisement in the newspaper that simply read “Make $100,000, Call 555-1212″. ¬†When I called the number, a pleasant young woman offered several interview times and provided directions to their office. ¬†I honestly don’t remember asking a lot of questions about the job and I might have not even known what I’d be doing. ¬†I drove to the interview later that week, wearing my best suit. ¬†Upon arrival, I was greeted warmly by the receptionist who led me into a conference room with four other candidates who had already arrived. ¬†“What the [expletive] is going on here?” I said to myself. ¬†Was I to compete against these other fellows? ¬†I had just walked into my first group interview!
How do you keep your hiring costs down when it comes to hiring sales people? ¬†I believe this is the number one issue managers and business owners are facing. ¬†Costs can spiral out of control when hiring sales people due to attrition, training costs, recruiting costs, incompetence and lack of motivation. ¬†Sales leaders realize that the key to running a successful sales organization relies on keeping expenses down.
Have you ever considered interviewing more than one salesperson at the same time? ¬†Certain industries lend themselves to these hiring practices and among these are insurance sales, door to door sales, automotive sales and home improvement sales. ¬†Opportunities that have a high degree of difficulty will have a correspondingly high failure rate. ¬†Since many of your new sales representatives ultimately won’t make it, does it make sense to invest a lot of time in money in them? ¬†While it may seem brutal, group hiring may be just the ticket to help you lower your recruiting costs and give you an advantage over your competition.
Over the years I’ve had many clients who were able to successfully recruit sales people using this tactic. ¬†Here is what I’ve learned from them.
Here are the top 10 keys to hiring commission only sales reps in a group environment.
1. Be an impressive sales leader. ¬†Typically the best person to host these events is the VITO (Very Important Top Officer) or owner of the company. ¬†If you’re reading this, that’s probably you. ¬†In order to convince new sales agents, you’ll have to demonstrate a high degree of confidence in your company and its products. ¬†Consider honing your sales abilities by attending sales training such as Dale Carnegie¬†or The Sandler Sales Institute. Improve your public speaking abilities by joining Toastmasters. ¬†To find top sales reps you’ll need to become the best sales leader in your own company.
2. Create a welcoming and professional environment. When prospective salespeople walk through the door the first time, their initial impression will mean a lot. ¬†Make sure there’s someone available to greet them and to help put them at ease. ¬†If you don’t have a conference room available in your office, rent one at a nearby hotel or conference center. While I’ve heard of people turning around and walking out, it’s actually not that common. ¬†Having already taken the time and expense to come down to your office and they’ll want to at least stick around to see what it’s all about!
3. Start out by explaining that this initial step is an orientation. ¬†That you’ll go over all aspects of the opportunity, including compensation, what’s expected of them and what exactly they’ll be doing. ¬†Ask them to hold their questions until the end. ¬†This is what we used to call the “Dog and Pony Show”. ¬†Your job during this phase is to sell them the opportunity without making it seem like you are selling them. ¬†This is the most difficult part to do well and takes the most practice.
4. Make your opportunity impossible to pass up. ¬†People don’t wake up one day and decide that they want to sell cars, insurance or do ¬†door to door sales. ¬†While there are other perks to being a commission only sales rep, the reason they’ll stick around is the pay. ¬†Save the compensation for last, and make it good!
5. Show them the money! During the presentation, provide as many real world examples of other commission only sales reps who have succeeded in your organization as you can. Communicate that while they’ll work incredibly hard at first, things will eventually pay off in the medium to long term. ¬†As we used to say “It works if you work it!”
6. Highlight the non-monetary aspects of the position. ¬†The incredible¬†exhilaration of being their own boss, the flexible work schedule and the ability to work from or near their own home. In addition the sales skills they’ll learn in this position will probably serve them in good stead later in their career.
7. Provide literature and brochures during the orientation. ¬†This will help your company appear more professional and help candidates make their decision later. ¬†Consider handing out a short survey at the end of the orientation to help you gauge their interest level.
8. ¬†Keep sales reps around after the orientation. Invite interested candidates to stay for a one-on-one, more personal interview. ¬†If you have more than a small handful to interview, good for you! If you have other sales managers, you can lighten your burden by having them interview a rep or two on your behalf.
9.¬†Introduce your future sales reps to your top salespeople. ¬†This will help them feel more comfortable with your company and increase the¬†likelihood¬†that they’ll come on board.
10. Finally, don’t chase after your new recruits! It’s important for them to understand that they need you more than you need them. ¬†It’s important to convey this feeling during the entire process.
Those are the basics of how to hire sales people in a group environment.
Give it a shot and tells us about your experiences. Good luck!
Different Types of Salespeople
One question we get a lot, “What kinds of sales reps can you help find?”
In general, we can help companies find virtually all types of salespeople, except for certain types of specialized independent sales representatives. ¬†Examples of specialized independent or “manufacturer sales representatives” that don’t do well with our service include cosmetics sales, beauty product sales, PCB (Printed Circuit Board) salespeople, or if you’re looking for help with marketing or publishing a book that you’ve written.
Some of the standard types of salespeople that we can help you source include Outside Sales, D2D (Door-to-Door) Sales, Inside Sales/Telemarketing Salespeople, Advertising Sales Reps and Sales Managers. Sub categories of these groups include Cable/Internet Sales, Merchant Services Salespeople, Automotive Salespeople, Construction Salesmen, Storm Damage Sales Reps, Insurance Sales Representatives, Energy Sales Reps, Technology Sales People (SAAS, Cloud, Managed Services, etc), SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Sales Agents,¬†Time share¬†Salespeople, Alarm System Sales, Furniture Sales Reps, Business Equipment/Copier Salesreps, Food Sales, Hospitality Sales people, Mortgage Brokers and Securities/Stocks salesman, Printing Sales Reps, Solar Sales, Pharmaceutical/Medical Device Sales Reps, Web Site/Mobile Web Sales People and many, many more.
Outside Sales Rep – A salesman who will use any means necessary to close a sale. ¬†This is the hunter, never say die type of sales mentality. ¬†Well versed with closing a sale. ¬†Sales methodologies may include D2D (Door-To-Door) canvassing of businesses, phone sales (cold calling), networking, advertising/marketing and anything else they can think of to generate leads. Their favorite movie is probably Glengarry Glen Ross.
Door-To-Door Sales Rep – Fairly self explanatory! Sales representatives who come knocking at your door. ¬†These types of reps are on everyone’s Christmas list every year and we’re always happy to see them. ¬†Even in 2013, there is a great need for this type of sales rep, whether it be for Storm Damage, Energy Deregulation, Cable/Comcast, Pest Control, Alarm Systems, Water Purification, and Waste/Trash services.
Advertising Salesperson – Anyone involved in the various types of advertising sales, such as digital media, print, television or radio.
Inside Sales Rep – These are salesmen who may display the traits of the outside salesperson, ¬†however they do it all from the telephone. ¬†This could be inbound sales or outbound sales. Also known as “Telesales”, typically when inside sales reps are making outbound calls with the goal of closing the sale. ¬†We can help your company find any type of telemarketing or telesales representative.
Ten Things to Consider in Your Sales Hiring Approach
Hiring commission-based sales people or for commission only sales opportunities can often be tough; however, there are ways to make these positions more desirable to candidates.
If you have a commission only or commission-based opportunity to offer, here are some points that you should consider including to make your opening stand out from the rest:
1) Make sure you can provide an annual earnings figure for both an average/typical rep and a motivated rep. Commission sales reps are generally money oriented, and it is important to let them know their potential earnings right off the bat.
2) Are commissions uncapped? Or is there an unlimited earning potential? Sales people want to know that their hard work will be rewarded and may be inclined to accept the position if they can earn six figures.
3) Will there be opportunities for advancement, and if so, are these salaried roles? Knowing that a commission-only / commission-based structure is just a starting point could encourage candidates to seriously consider the role.
4) Do you offer a bonus or incentive structure? Again, sales reps want to know that their hard work will be rewarded, so performance-based bonuses and/or signing bonuses, and incentives such as cash, gift cards, prizes or trips are just some suggestions to get people interested in the opportunity.
5) Will sales reps receive reimbursements or an allowance for car or cell phone expenses? When candidates have to pay work related expenses out of pocket, providing them with an allowance or reimbursement always helps. Or, you might consider providing them with the use of a company cell phone or vehicle. You might also want to consider this for laptops if one is required for the role.
6) Is there a paid training program, or a guarantee that sales reps will earn while getting started? It could take a bit of time for a rep to build their client base, so offering paid training or an initial guarantee can ease them into a commission-based/commission only position.
7) Do you offer a draw against commission? People have bills to pay, so knowing that they will be receiving a regularly scheduled draw against commissions will help ease their reservations about commission only/commission-based roles.
8) Will salespeople be provided with leads, or will they be cold calling potential clients? Candidates are more inclined to consider a role if they are supplied with leads. This also works well for entry level type sales roles.
9) Can the sales rep work flexible hours? Candidates often look into these positions because they are offered the chance to create their own schedule and make it as flexible as needed. This way, they can work around picking up kids from school, little league games, or in some cases, their college studies.
10) Is telecommuting an option? Candidates are attracted by the prospect of working from the comfort of their home office. If this is possible in the position you are offering, make that clear from the outset,¬†and also detail if there are any restrictions on telecommuting (e.g. 2 days a week they must be in the office for meetings etc. but can work from home the rest of the week).
While we fully understand that in many situations, none of these suggestions may make sense for you, please consider making the candidates fully aware of all benefits (tangible or intangible) that your opportunity has to offer them.
Next time you are looking to hire commission-based or commission only reps, be sure to consult these suggestions, and make your opportunity shine among the rest!
Business to Business Networking as a Hiring Tool
Have you ever considered attending networking functions to find new talent? ¬† Networking events are the natural habitat of any self respecting B2B sales rep. ¬†A quick¬†Google search (eg., “Dallas networking events calendar 2012″)¬†in your area should point you in the right direction.
Make it your mission to attend at least two events per week until you find the right groups. ¬†These groups typically meet early in the morning or during lunch. ¬†In addition to finding some new sales reps, you might meet quality vendors and even drum up new business for your own firm.
If you’re wondering how to get the most out of these groups, I recommend the “give to get” philosophy. ¬†Your networking efforts won’t really be that effective unless you put others success ahead of your own.
When you meet with someone new, never offer your business card unless they ask. If they didn’t ask for it, they’re not interested right? When you offer your card without an invitation, you’re pushing your company on someone who may not have any interest in you or what you’re looking for. ¬†Instead, be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. ¬†Ask yourself how you might be able to help this person. ¬†Are they looking to fill a position? Maybe ¬†they’re having issues with their accounting system and need a referral. If you think there may be a match, ask for their card. ¬†If you really want to make an impression, ¬†have your assistant send Thank You cards to each person you met — better yet, do this yourself!
The more people you help and connect, the more people will be talking about you in a positive light – and the more people will be willing to help you further your goals.
Effective networking takes a lot of time and patience, however the rewards can be phenomenal. ¬†Start building your network and you’ll be amazed how far it’ll take you.
MLM (Multi Level Marketing) type businesses.
We have found over the years that, in general, MLM business is not good business for the majority of persons involved. ¬†At least those who are not on the “ground floor.” ¬†While you may feel that your MLM/Network Marketing business doesn’t fall into this category, it’s just too difficult and time consuming for us to evaluate each MLM business that comes across our desk.
How do we identify an MLM? ¬†If a company charges a monthly ongoing fee to be employed with it, it is almost always an MLM. ¬† Many companies may charge an initial fee but aren’t necessarily involved with Network Marketing.
Manufacturers Sales Reps / Independent Sales Reps
We don’t work with companies who are looking to partner with manufacturers ¬†(AKA Independent Sales Reps) sales reps. This is an area that has created a lot of confusion – after all, an independent sales rep is also a commission only sales rep. ¬†An Independent Sales Rep is a person who is self employed – someone working for themselves who is not affiliated with a single product or service. ¬†They represent “rep” several products that typically have a common prospect/target company.
If you are looking for a Manufacturers/Independent rep, you probably are looking for a sales person who already calls on the type of businesses you are looking to sell into.
An example: A company has designed and is manufacturing a new clothing line/aircraft part/shampoo/makeup/automotive accessory and would like to get the product into the hands of distributors or retailers. ¬†They would approach a Manufacturers Sales Rep who routinely walks into those prospective retailers and offer them a commission to “rep” their product or service.
There are many sites online that provide this service, such as www.rephunter.net or www.gotsales.com. If you’d like more, just ask, we’d be happy to help.
Build a Sales Team for You
While we’d like to, our company just isn’t set up to handle this. ¬†Our goal is to find you some quality people and let you take it from there. A simple Google search will reveal quite a few companies that will allow you to outsource your entire sales process.
Are you ready to hire a commission salesperson?
Are you ready to hire a sales rep? When a commission sales rep calls, will you be ready to answer all their questions? What is the compensation structure? Is this commission only? Who will I be targeting in my sales efforts?
If you are expecting a sales rep to transform your business by creating and implementing a sales strategy for you, you may be disappointed. Nobody knows your business better than you, the business owner. In general, sales reps need to be led. They need to know how to be successful in terms of your business, so ultimately you are the one who must create the sales strategy. The sales process should be well documented and easily understandable.
Do you know what you’re going to pay your commission sales reps? Have you worked through the math? There is no exact methodology for paying commission only sales reps, but there are some general parameters which seem to work. If you’re selling a service, you should pay between 15-50%, with the most common number being 20%. Your number might be more or less, depending on your profit margin, difficulty of sale and whether you are providing sales reps with free leads. Just about every future salesperson who responds is going to ask this question, so make sure you’re prepared to answer confidently.
What does your messaging look like? When potential sales reps see your message, will they want to work with your company? Candidates are similar to prospects – they’re going to research as much as they can about your company before deciding to work with you. They’ll study your website and logo and make instant decisions about your company – decisions that may prevent them from picking up the phone to call. Does your website or candidate portal look as professional as it could?
How many commission sales reps will you hire? Don’t make the mistake of hiring more people than you can properly manage. Salespeople take time and energy. Do you have a comprehensive training program in place?
It’s your responsibility to have all the tools in place to help commission sales people be successful.
We’re very excited today to launch our new website!
When we started this project, our goal was to create a site with a more contemporary look which better represented the work we do. We hope you agree.
In addition to the new design, you’ll now be able to complete our customer questionnaire and complete your order online.
Many thanks to all the designers and developers at Gravitate, for taking our vision and making it a reality.
We hope you enjoy the new site and please let us know what you think.