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How To Handle Incoming Candidate Calls

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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.

you will hire a sales superstar today

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.

door to door sales hiring

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.

CALL EXAMPLES

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

How To Hire Commission Only Sales People

How To Hire People  in a Group Environment

Ten Points to Consider in Your Recruiting Approach

 

Posted in: Commission Only Sales Reps, Door To Door Salespeople, How To Hire Sales People, Must Read, Recruiting

Guest Post – A Recruiting Modification

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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’s 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 “send a resume, attend an interview” 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 “maybe” 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 “sales rep” 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 buckshon@cnrgp.com.

Posted in: Recruiting

Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales People

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Important Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales People

interview-salesman

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’s performance. Hiring the wrong salesperson can have profoundly negative consequences. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what questions to ask to make sure you’re 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’s performance, rather than hinder it.

 Ask For Specific Details about Their Performance in the Workplace

It is important not to focus on “what” the sales candidate did in the past, but rather “how” 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’s 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’s 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:

Chris Brewer, Online Marketing Giant

Posted in: Uncategorized

Your Website Is the New Storefront

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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.

uglystoresignNo wonder candidates failed to set up a second meeting.  First impressions are incredibly important.

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?

Posted in: How To Hire Sales People, Recruiting

How To Measure Distances in Google Maps

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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.

maps-a

 

Next, click “Enable” and then save.

maps-b

 

Next, click on the tiny tape measure as show below.

maps-c

 

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.

maps-d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy peasy right?

Posted in: Recruiting, Technology

Using Role Playing to Hire Sales People

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While many companies hire sales reps based on candidates’ experience, others find raw talent to be a stronger harbinger of success. But, how do you identify and measure “raw talent” during the hiring process?

bigbang

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’s New Talent Times blog, Merritt shares his “coffee scenario,” 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 “coffee scenario” 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’s 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’re 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’s a quick and easy way to critically assess strengths and weaknesses during the early stages of an interview process.

Posted in: Recruiting

New Intro Video

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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.

Posted in: Announcements, Time to Hire

How To Hire Commission Only Sales Reps

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Before you decide to embark on the most challenging hiring choice a company can make, please take the following points into consideration.

hands Shaking


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.

always-be-closing

Posted in: Commission Only Sales Reps, How To Hire Sales People, Must Read, Recruiting

How To Hire Sales People In a Group Environment – 10 Steps

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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!

Sales People Sitting

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!

Posted in: Commission Only Sales Reps, Door To Door Salespeople, How To Hire Sales People, Recruiting

Different Types of Salespeople

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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.

Posted in: Must Read, Recruiting

We Appeared in Forbes.com

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Time To Hire appears in Forbes.com

Click the image to see the entire article.

 

Posted in: Announcements, Time to Hire

10 Points to Consider in your Approach

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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!

Posted in: Recruiting

B2B Networking as a Hiring Tool

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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.

Posted in: Recruiting, Sales Tips

What We Don’t Do

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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.

 

 

Posted in: Time to Hire

Are You Ready to Hire?

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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.

Posted in: Must Read, Recruiting

Our New Website

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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.

Posted in: Announcements