Your people are everything. Staffing is the alpha and omega of the company. It trumps vision. It trumps technology. And it even trumps management (if you don’t have a great staff, who are you even managing?) So if you don’t have a plan to snag, keep, train, and motivate the best salespeople, nothing else is going to matter.
Here are the core, unalterable, forged-by-the-hands-of-the-sales-gods commandments that you must follow if you wish to hire a super squad of A-team players.
1) Make Your Company A Place Where Top Talent Wants To Work
What’s your pitch to salespeople who might want to work for you? Remember: you’re pitching to people who are excellent at pitching.
A great team starts with a great company. And a great company starts with a solid vision and values statement. Think about how you might pitch your business to potential investors. Now retool that pitch to target people who want to work for you. If you’re constantly asking what potential employees can do for you, you’re not going to attract candidates who can have their pick of jobs. The only way to really attract those superstars to your company like a magnet is by building a business and a culture that values the team members who have the chops to bring in the big sales.
2) Know How To Spot A Great Salesperson
Recruiters for salespeople have a tough job. What makes great salespeople lies more in their attitude and personality rather than their experience (though experience obviously helps). How can you get a glimpse inside the minds of your candidates and really understand what they value?
It’s true that successful salespeople can have wildly different personalities. But the rock stars of the industry tend to have most, if not all, of these personal attributes.
Total ownership over their results
As the saying goes, you can make money, or you can make excuses. But you can’t make both. Yes, occasionally circumstances happen outside of a sales pro’s control which will hurt their ability to close deals. But the kind of people who can rack up an impressive client list will always focus on what they can do, not what they can’t.
High level of ambition
There’s nothing worse than a salesperson who’s satisfied with mediocrity. The best salespeople have a competitive streak and love to outperform both themselves and their colleagues.
How does your salesperson handle rejection, disappointment, and frustration? The road to sales success is littered with false starts and dead ends. If your salesperson allows these aspects of the profession to weigh them down and hurt their attitude, they won’t be selling at their peak. Ideally, you want salespeople who can get knocked around all day long and then bounce back like it never happened.
Focused on goals
There are only certain kinds of mindsets that get things done: task-oriented and goal-oriented. A task-oriented mindset is only concerned with performing the tasks required to achieve something. Find prospects, call them up, explain benefits, etc.
A goal-oriented mindset, on the other hand, is all about the end result. What matters is what they want to accomplish. How they reach their goals, (as long as you stay ethical) is largely irrelevant.
People with a goal-oriented mindset always trump those who limit their focus to mindlessly completing tasks. Mostly because they come up with creative ways to get the job done.
High level of empathy
This is where things get difficult. The ideal salesperson should be single-minded about achieving their own personal goals, but also be able to easily connect with and understand the minds of others. The perfect candidates should be able to temper their personal ambitions.
Comfortable talking to a Lot of strangers
Most people are at least a little self-conscious about how they are perceived by other people. But the best salespeople are able to downplay this fear or fight through it. They never lose steam, regardless of how much talking they do. They can make their last call of the day with the same amount of enthusiasm and energy as the first.
3) Offer Recruitment Incentives
It can be tough to see the best attributes of a salesperson. But people who already have those special sales qualities tend to be able to recognize them in others. As Waka Flocka Flame put it: “Real recognize real.”
The best way to harness your top salespeople’s natural ability to harness talent is by offering financial incentives for bringing in quality people. When your staff knows that there’s a bonus for referring a great salesperson, they’ll be motivated to tap into their professional networks to bring in the best of the best.
4) Pay For Training
If you’re the best at anything, it’s a guarantee that you love getting better at it. I don’t know who the best juggler in the world is, but I can guarantee that they’re practicing throwing flaming knives into the air right now. And once they’re done, they’re going to read up on the best juggling techniques.
Well, the great salespeople aren’t any different. They know that there is always still more to learn. They’re constantly studying up on the product they sell, their industry, and the art of selling itself. The real closers on your team will appreciate any opportunity to level up their skills, and they will respect you if you make it easier for them.
5) Never Stop Recruiting
The best thing about top salespeople is that they’re always making money for your business. It doesn’t matter if you have five or fifty. Having a team of strong performers is a good thing, regardless of size.
With that in mind, don’t limit recruitment efforts strictly to the times when you’re short-staffed. You don’t have to go on a full on hiring blitz when you have your hands full with more important tasks. But a steady, small amount of passive recruiting can help you snag talented people that you might have otherwise missed.
For example, you should have a built-out “careers” section on your website that outlines what you’re looking for in a candidate. You should also develop relationships with local sales recruiters who make finding top sales talent their business.
Your People Are Your Business
A business, any business, is just a collection of one or more people trying to achieve a common goal. Neglect recruitment at your peril. When you make attracting and training the very best people a top priority, all other business goals will easily snap into place.