The paperclips didn't need a sales pitch. Neither do your clients.

SELLutions

Five important keys to winning when recruiting, hiring salespeople

by GSchulz 25. August 2012 02:08
From "Sellutions" South Florida Business Journal by Greta Schulz Date: Friday, August 17, 2012

I am currently working with a well-established organization and the following questions arose (as they do fairly regularly): How can I avoid making expensive hiring mistakes? How can I hire salespeople who will actually sell on value and not price?How do I find the top sales people and recognize that they are successful? I thought I would answer them here since it’s an ongoing organizational issue. Many resumes, which are what we typically look at when we are deciding who to hire, look good. Most people can make themselves look presentable for an interview. 

However, most organizations spend too much money hiring the wrong sales managers and salespeople. In most cases, it takes a year to replace those ineffective individuals. That costs you thousands of dollars in lost time, wasted wages and lost revenue.Traditional hiring approaches are typically reactive, ineffective and flawed. The decision-maker becomes dissatisfied with sagging sales numbers and says: “Get some new blood in here.” This promotes a recruiting blitz involving advertising, search firms and asking employees to identify attractive talent. Then we search, sort through resumes, do interviews, make offers, and hope and pray.This time-worn process often leads to failure. 

Profiling or benchmarking the ideal candidate for your organization, and testing or assessing to hire the right people that fit into your organization is imperative today.

Step 1: Benchmarking Identify the right candidate. The question CEOs need to ask themselves to determine the ideal sales candidate is: What are our primary target markets?Whom should they be calling on, and at what level in the organization? Are they doing that now? What is the financial commitment required of a prospect? This will show the comfort level of the individual selling if they always sold at that level.What are your competitive advantages? Are you the least expensive or most expensive in your industry? Are you very well known or brand new?What is your prospecting approach? Are you very proactive? Do you make cold calls from a list? What’s the level of product knowledge in-house and in the community?

Step 2: Search Companies that practice continual sales hiring – as opposed to as-needed hiring – do things differently. A salesperson is an asset, not a liability. So why are you not always looking for someone better than your best salesperson? If your approach is recruiting top-level salespeople, they are not always available when you need them. The best ones aren't looking for a job for long, if at all.Continuous recruiting starts with developing a staffing plan that helps you manage both the additional and potential reductions in your staff. Developing a plan months in advance will help you avoid crisis hiring. Make recruitment an important aspect of your corporate culture.

Step 3: Quantify Whether you outsource your recruiting or do it internally, make sure you know what you are looking for. Understand what qualities you're looking for and know where to look.Pre-qualifying on the phone is important. Your salespeople will likely be on the phone at least some of the time, so you need to know how they handle themselves. Find that out by asking some questions and seeing how they react, getting a feel for tonality and articulation. This will also help you avoid wasting time on an unnecessary meeting.

Step 4: Assessing the candidate Use an objective performance test to disqualify or validate your candidate. We tend to make decisions in our gut. Though our gut feeling is very strong, it’s also based on our own personal history and experiences. That is a good thing, but it needs to be used in addition to something that’s more intellectual and factual. Having a test to be able to look at the candidate objectively is very important.

Step 5: The interview is the most critical step. An effective interviewer sets the stage for the candidate to act and respond in the same manner he or she would with a prospect.To separate the high achievers from the ineffective salespeople, you need to stay away from the ”so tell me about yourself approach.” Get the candidate through a tough selling situation right away and see how they handle themselves.

For example, it’s important to push the candidate back some. Put them in a situation they’ll be when they try to sell to a prospect. They are not going to have an easy situation every time.I know this may be a little uncomfortable for most of us, but it is important to get a feel for how they react with a little pressure because that’s what sales is about. They will be getting pressure out in the field, so let’s give them a little pressure in the interview and see if they can stand up to the challenge.

Greta Schulz is a sales consultant for businesses and entrepreneurs.
For more sales training tips and tools, or to ask her a question, go to www.schulzbusiness.com or email greta@schulzbusiness.com.

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Selling Me A Car

by GSchulz 29. April 2012 17:27

I’m always trying to illustrate how professional sales really works -- helping your prospect self-realize that he or she needs (or in some cases, doesn’t need) your product or service. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen is one that happened to me when I decided to purchase a new Jeep.

Several years ago, I married a wonderful man who had two children. I also had a child of my own, so we were going to need a more “Brady-esque” car. After a lot of research, we decided that a Jeep Cherokee would do the trick. At that time, A Cherokee Laredo, the base model, would cost $299 a month to lease for three years with $1,000 down. A good deal for us by all accounts.

Since I know how car dealers work (or so I thought), I felt very strongly about staying emotionally detached and just purchasing the car for the price I wanted. I called the local Jeep dealership and asked for the sales manager. Richard (who I believe is still there) answered the phone. I explained to him that I wanted a Jeep Cherokee Laredo, dark green in color, and that I’d be willing to buy it today if he could match the price I wanted: $299 for a 36 month lease plus $1,000 down.

I was strong in my demand, making sure he knew I was in charge. Richard said he could match the price, but the only Cherokee Laredo he had on the lot was army green, not the dark green I wanted. Even though I was disappointed (the dark green is so much more “me”), I decided it was the route to go.

We arrived at the dealership, and I commanded my fiancée and the kids to stay in the car. “Wait here,” I said. “I’ll handle this.”

I walked into the showroom, where Richard greeted me. “You must be Greta,” he said with a sincere-looking smile.

“I am, “ I answered cautiously.

He smiled. “OK. Let’s go drive the car.”

I stopped him. “Oh no,” I exclaimed. “I want to talk money first!”

“Okay,” Richard replied. “But didn’t you say $299 for three years with $1,000 down? Since that’s what we agreed to, that’s what it is, right?”

With a half-smile on my face, I nodded proudly. “Right!”

As we walked through the lot to the army green (more of a pea green, actually) Jeep, Richard asked which car in the parking lot was mine. I pointed to the blue BMW where my fiancée and our kids waited. As we got into the Jeep, Richard made an interesting comment. “This car doesn’t have a leather interior,” he said. “It’s cloth, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I’m sure your kids don’t spill things at their age.”

“No, that’s OK,” I quickly replied.

As we pulled out of the dealership for the test drive, Richard played with the radio, then asked what kind of music I liked.

“Oh gosh, jazz. Top 40. Lot’s of different things.”

“Really?” he replied. “Do you have a lot of CDs?”

“Oh yes!” I proudly proclaimed. 

“Hmmm,” he mused. “You know this car doesn’t have a CD player, but I’m sure you’ve got cassettes.”

“Or I’ll just play the radio,” I said, not without reservation.

He smiled. “Of course you can,” he replied confidently.

As we pulled back into the dealership lot, Richard asked “So, what do you think?”

“Pretty nice,” I hesitantly replied. “It drives more like a truck, but hey, it’s not a BMW and you have to give up something, right?”

Silent, I walked into the showroom to go sign the papers.

“Hey Greta,” I heard Richard suddenly say. “That emerald green on that car down at the end of the lot…was that the color you originally asked me for?”

I felt sudden excitement. “Yes! But I thought you didn’t have one.”

“Not for a Laredo. But that’s a Grand Cherokee. It’s got all the bells and whistles, you know…CD player, leather seats and a smoother drive train. But that’s not the one you said you wanted.”

I couldn’t resist. “Ummmmm … how much more is it?”

Guess which one I drove away in (and only paid $70 more a month more for)? You got it!

And guess what I said to my fiancée when we were walking toward our new Grand Cherokee? “Honey, it’s more expensive, but I’m in sales. My car is like my office. I have to be comfortable.”

So what happened? Well, Richard did a really good job of finding out what was important to me. But he never told me those things were important. Instead, he asked the right questions that got me to self-realize that I wanted those things.

And what did I do? I made an emotional decision and justified it intellectually to my family. Remember, people love to buy, but they absolutely hate to be sold. So help them buy and stop selling them. It even worked on me, and I saw it coming.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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Employee Motivation

by Admin 1. March 2012 18:11
I often get questions about motivating employees. My overall belief is, "you can’t motivate anyone to do anything, just give them an opportunity to motive themselves". That being said what do you do to give them an opportunity to motivate themselves?

As a business owner, you don't want employees who are only motivated to perform well so they can "win a prize". You want employees who are motivated to perform well every day, no matter what carrot you're dangling in front of them.

What you really need is a team of employees who are emotionally invested in your company. A feeling of ownership. To cultivate that, you need family support. No amount of job awards can out-influence the home front. You can offer praise and gifts left and right, but you won't see much improvement in your employees performance if she goes home to a partner who says, "How much longer are you going to work there if you’re not happy?"

Please don’t mis-understand, I'm not suggesting that your employees need to have a love affair at work. It's just that the men and women your employees go home to at night that have the power to motivate (or de-motivate) far better and faster than you could.

Here's the key to winning over an employee's family: Start from day one. The first thing your newly hired staff member will likely hear from a significant other when he gets home is, "How was your first day?" If he spent it mostly filling out a three-foot stack of forms, ordering his own business cards and eating lunch alone, he might rightfully answer: "Lousy." His better half will quickly get down on your company, too, and hardly encourage the top-notch performance you want to see.

There's a full-proof way to get employees, and their loved ones at home, excited about working for your company from day one. First, really make them feel welcome. We want to be liked and accepted. Start a new employee program at your company. Have all employees (depending on the size of your organization) make a point through out that first day to stop and say hello to the new employee and welcome them. I also really like the idea of a sign at the front door that says, “Welcome Jane Smith We are glad you are here”. Additionally a welcome cake at lunch for all to stop by and enjoy is a great idea as well.

So, what happens if your new recruit comes home with a great story about his amazing first day? His better half will realize the opportunity he has—she'll become the ultimate motivator, rather than detractor.

Keep in mind, there are many definitions of family. Your new employee may be single (or soon to be). It's your mission to find out who makes up his or her support system and give accordingly. Perhaps it's a gift card for a night out with pals or a matinee with mom.

When your employees hear daily words of encouragement from their closest confidantes like, "I can't believe how lucky you are to be working for that guy!" their motivation rises to levels you've never tapped before. It's worked for me in all of my companies. And even if you can't afford more than a home-baked cake or thank-you card, giving your new employees a best first day ever is the key to keeping them motivated for years to come.

There are so many statistics about how much better and more productive your employees are when they feel good about working for you. We spend lots of money to recruit, and hire a new team member. Lets not forget their value after they are hired.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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How to Land Your Dream Job

by Admin 13. February 2012 13:56
I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on a radio show. I was caught a little off guard when I was asked, while on the air, how to use “selling skills” to get a job. I hesitated, since that really isn’t what I do. Since the radio host was familiar with my program, he felt there was a lot of synergy. After I did the show, I got to thinking about the idea he brought up, and how getting a job really is so similar to sales... And life.

Here are five steps to help you land the job of your dreams:

§  Network. Use the contacts that you have as extra eyes. Let them know what you are looking for. Be specific and get out there.

§  Set up one-on-one meetings with people that you know. Get coffee, a drink, etc. Help people understand what you are looking for, and give examples of the type of organizations and specific job descriptions. Again, make sure you are specific. People can’t think for you, even though you think they can.

§  When applying for a job, you must do something unique. Today, there are just too many people looking for the same job you are applying for. So, how do you rise above the rest? Sending a resume is so last century. I would suggest that you try to be different. One way is to send your information (resume, if you must) in a unique way. For example, I was once applying for a job with Procter & Gamble. I was in college (about 100 years ago,) and the career center had the interviews set up, but P&G booked up quickly. So, I called ahead and found out who was coming to do the interviews. I silk-screened my resume onto a T-shirt, rolled it up and slid it into a Colgate toothpaste box, and mailed it to the sales director, signature required. I got the interview.

§  When you are set up to be interviewed, do lots of research in advance. Spend time researching the company and interviewer. Create questions about the organization’s vision, what customers/clients say about them and what competitors say about them. Ask the interviewer about their experience with the company, what they like best about the organization, their job, etc. This gives lots of good insight to how the employees feel, and shows you have a real interest in them, too.

§  Follow up. There are several ways to do this. I think e-mail is fine, but does that really differentiate you? Here’s an idea: A talking e-mail. You can talk into a video e-mail message and really make an impression. Try www.talkinemail.com. I love it and have been using it a ton.

Remember, the best time to look for a job is when you already have one. If you are in a situation where you are out of work, your job is to look for a job eight hours a day, five days a week!

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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How to Land Your Dream Job

by Admin 13. February 2012 13:53

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on a radio show. I was caught a little off guard when I was asked, while on the air, how to use “selling skills” to get a job. I hesitated, since that really isn’t what I do. Since the radio host was familiar with my program, he felt there was a lot of synergy. After I did the show, I got to thinking about the idea he brought up, and how getting a job really is so similar to sales … and life.

Here are five steps to help you land the job of your dreams:

§  Network. Use the contacts that you have as extra eyes. Let them know what you are looking for. Be specific and get out there.

§  Set up one-on-one meetings with people that you know. Get coffee, a drink, etc. Help people understand what you are looking for, and give examples of the type of organizations and specific job descriptions. Again, make sure you are specific. People can’t think for you, even though you think they can.

§  When applying for a job, you must do something unique. Today, there are just too many people looking for the same job you are applying for. So, how do you rise above the rest? Sending a resume is so last century. I would suggest that you try to be different. One way is to send your information (resume, if you must) in a unique way. For example, I was once applying for a job with Procter & Gamble. I was in college (about 100 years ago), and the career center had the interviews set up, but P&G booked up quickly. So, I called ahead and found out who was coming to do the interviews. I silk-screened my resume onto a T-shirt, rolled it up and slid it into a Colgate toothpaste box, and mailed it to the sales director, signature required. I got the interview.

§  When you are set up to be interviewed, do lots of research in advance. Spend time researching the company and interviewer. Create questions about the organization’s vision, what customers/clients say about them and what competitors say about them. Ask the interviewer about their experience with the company, what they like best about the organization, their job, etc. This gives lots of good insight to how the employees feel, and shows you have a real interest in them, too.

§  Follow up. There are several ways to do this. I think e-mail is fine, but does that really differentiate you? Here’s an idea: a talking e-mail. You can talk into a video e-mail message and really make an impression. Try www.talkinemail.com. I love it and have been using it a ton.

Remember, the best time to look for a job is when you already have one. If you are in a situation where you are out of work, your job is to look for a job eight hours a day, five days a week!


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