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

SELLutions

Top 5 Hiring Mistakes

by GSchulz 7. July 2015 12:34
 “Joanne is leaving and I need someone for that territory! I need help do you know anyone?” A week doesn’t pass without someone asking about looking for a new sales employee. I hear it all the time. So why is everyone having such a problem? Here are some common hiring mistakes we see and what you should avoid.         
1) Looking for new employees when one is leaving. I think we all know the value of a good        employee. Make no mistake, if you hire (and manage) right, your organization runs like a        well oiled machine and I defy anyone to argue that. “Get the right people on the bus in the        right seats” the famous quote from the top-notch book Good to Great by Jim Collins. That         being said why are we looking for employees only when we “need” one. You always need         them if they are great and greatness doesn’t come along only when you are looking so be         looking all of the time.         Our biggest problem with looking when we “need” someone is the desperation factor. We        often hire to fill a need by hiring “the best of the worst”. When we are feeling pressure         from a department or another employee to lighten their load we often make a decision not           for the  “best person” but the “best for right now person”. This will hurt you in the long run         every time.  

2)Hiring off of a resume’. When I say it is a mistake hiring off of a resume’ I don’t mean to presume you actually hire when a good resume comes in without other important considerations. What I do mean is being impressed by the background they have had; whom they’ve worked for and what they’ve done. Background is less important then things like eagerness to learn, commitment and desire to be successful. Hire for attitude, train for skill.  

3)Hiring in your image. Allowing the likeability factor to take over the actual decision of the best candidate. We like people that are like us, that we relate to but in hiring that is not to be used as a gauge. We all make decisions emotionally, meaning we decide on things in our life business and personal by our gut, by what we feel. In some cases it’s enough but in the decision of hiring someone to help you grow your business, there needs to be much more then you like them.  

4) Selling the candidate on the job. We are passionate about our organization and all of the good things that we offer. Because of that, we sell the candidate on how great the job is instead of really qualifying them first. One of the most important things we need to do in an interview is to ask good questions and listen for the answers. It is called an interview for a reason. Do not get caught up in telling the candidate all about the job, what it takes, the duties the company benefits etc. Do not get caught up in this sale. You may find out too late the things you could have found out upfront.  

5) Overlooking a teachable, trainable candidate for one with “experience”. The idea of hiring someone with experience is sales is understandable. It seems like a good  idea for someone who can just fit right into a job and start off fast and furious. This is often not the case. Though it takes more work and effort to train someone it often proves to be much more lucrative in the end because you have taught them in your way. Unfortunately sales people seem to have more bad habits then good ones when they leave a job. Though this can be an overstatement it is more often true then not.   The key is to be looking for someone better then your best person, all of the time. If one of your salespeople said to you that they were going to look for new business only when they lose existing business, you would probably fire them. Then don’t do the same thing. As an executive, your prospecting responsibility is looking for top-level salespeople all of the time. Not just when you lose one. Click here to share this post.

The Buyers Remorse Trap

by GSchulz 7. June 2012 22:39
An excited Corey recently came to me with this story about a large client he’d been working on months and months. His manager warned him that the relationship was strong between the client and the current vendor so it was a long shot. Corey was persistent and kept going and going and going, a bit like the energizer bunny when one day he came to me barely able to breath;   “Greta!,” he said. “I did it! I got ‘em!  The big one I was working on!”    

After congratulations and back slapping, I asked a few key questions.  “Corey, wasn’t that the prospect working with your largest competitor?”   “Yep!” he replied.  “They sure were and that’s the best part!”   I then asked how they were going to handle the situation when the incumbent (who’d had the account since the first Bush was in office) found out he’d taken it and then counter offered to keep the account.   “They’re so mad at him,” Corey answered. “The service has gone down and they told me it was time for a change.”   Having received a promise that the initial order would arrive within the week, Corey left the prospect’s office with a handshake and then indulged in a rousing “YES” once he got to the privacy of the parking lot.   Three days later, there was a message on his voice mail.   “Corey,” spoke the voice of his “new client”.  “Call me ASAP.  We’ve got to talk.”   

From the tone of his voice, Corey knew there was a problem.  He immediately called the client and asked if there was something wrong.  The man told Corey he was sorry, but the incumbent vendor found out about the potential loss of business and came back with a counter offer. Lots of promises. Better service.  And, of course, a significantly lowered price.   Predictably, the incumbent kept the business. Corey tried to call back to see if he could offer any other concessions, but the client was too embarrassed to even return his calls.   So what happened? Typically, salespeople hate bad news.  They don’t want a potentially unpleasant conversation with a prospect, especially when it feels like things are going well.  They often put blinders on when their guts tell them a situation could be on the horizon.  And they’re rather quietly pray that it won’t happen, rather than take steps to head it off at the pass.  BIG MISTAKE!   

You’ve got to deal with potential problems when you see them coming.  If something can go wrong, or if you gut tells you it might, deal with it right then.  In this case, Corey knew it was a possibility.  So what could he have done that might have changed the outcome?   At the end of the process, when the client agreed to move forward, Corey should have made this move:   “I'm glad we’re going to be working together.  Between your needs and what we have to offer, it seems to be a good match.  But I'm curious—when ‘ABC Competitor’ finds out you're making a change and comes back offering to beg, borrow and steal to retain your business, what will you do?”   

By taking this step, you'll have a much better chance of saving the account.  Bring it up when you’re there rather than later when they're too embarrassed to discuss it.  If they're switching for a legitimate reason, this discussion helps solidify the decision.  If they say, “Well, I'd have to look at it,” then you’ve never really sold it in the first place. This will also allow you to have a conversation right there and then about that bringing up the reasons they were leaving their existing vendor. After you leave it is much less effective to have this conversation.   

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in Palm Beach, Florida. She is the best-selling author of "To Sell is Not to Sell". Greta does corporate training for fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

For sales tips go to: www.schulzbusiness.com

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Assessment Tests, Useful?

by GSchulz 25. May 2012 16:14
When hiring, employers must make sure that the application and assessment process meets defensible standards. With the excessive use (and often misuse) of internet- based “quick, easy and free” personality tests offered as hiring tools, violations of rules set forth by the Department of Labor are becoming more frequent. Though the Department of Labor document citing the guidelines is considered unexciting and often tedious reading, it should be considered required reading for any employer or manager in charge of hiring or promotion decisions. Adhering to the guidelines as best as possible could keep employers out of harm’s way when it comes to legal battles.            

The Department of Labor offers 13 different guidelines that employers should follow when deciding on an “assessment initiative”. They are as follows:  

1. Use assessments and assessment tools in the manner in which they are indicated or advised (follow the directions!). When employers misuse an assessment tool or program, they could potentially face legal issues in the future.

2. Use the “whole- person approach” when testing. Remember, no test is perfect! Use an assessment test, or maybe even a combination of tests, that will give you as much information as possible about behaviors most important to your business.

3. Use tests that are unbiased and fair to all groups. Even tests that inadvertently discriminate may keep employers from gaining a qualified and diverse work group and may kindle, you guessed it, more legal battles.

4. Use tests that are reliable. Make sure that the questions offered on the test are not tricky and that they seek specific responses.

5. Make sure that the assessments being used are valid for the specific purpose intended. This may be considered one of the most important criterions in the selection process. Validity is simply the specific assessment’s ability to measure the target characteristic at a level that can be useful to the employer.

6. Assessment tests must be appropriate and applicable for the target population of desired employees (a.k.a., tests must be specific to your trade). For example, you would never give a person applying for a job at a burger joint an assessment designed specifically to assess dental hygienists.

7. Instructions and all other documentation must be completely comprehensive and easy for applicants to understand.

8. If the assessment test requires proctoring and/or administering, make sure that the people performing these actions are properly trained and qualified to do so. Some instruments require an extensive certification process to administer, proctor, and score tests.

9. Provide consistent standard and uniform testing conditions in order to obtain more consistent results. The key is keeping test takers from being distracted to assure the integrity of the test results.

10. Provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Remember: no group should ever be disadvantaged by the test or the conditions under which the test is taken.

11. Strong test security is important if the test results are going to be useful. Tests and their scoring should never be assessable to the general public.

12. Test results must be maintained in a confidential manner. Most effective are tests taken over the internet requiring a username and password.

13. Accurate interpretation of results is tremendously necessary. Nothing is worse than bad interpretation of good data. Don’t let that happen to you!              

Though these guidelines might sound dull and restricting, the Department of Labor does support the use sound testing and assessment strategy, and actually acknowledges the difficulty employers now have of “attracting, developing and retaining the best employees.” They go on to say that a well built and solid assessment strategy can “maximize chances for getting the right fit between jobs and employees.” (DOL publication, “Testing and Assessment: An Employers Guide to Good Practices”)

To try one for free email me and I will send you a link; greta@schulzbusiness.com. In the subject put assessment test.  

 Greta Schulz is a Sales Consultant for Businesses and Entrepreneurs. 
For more Sales Training Tips and Tools, please sign up for her SELLutions Caffeine at http://SchulzBusiness.com  or join her  Online Sales Training Course at http://B2bSalesPlayBook.com  

Click here to share this post.

Assessment Tests, Useful?

by GSchulz 25. May 2012 16:14
When hiring, employers must make sure that the application and assessment process meets defensible standards. With the excessive use (and often misuse) of internet- based “quick, easy and free” personality tests offered as hiring tools, violations of rules set forth by the Department of Labor are becoming more frequent. Though the Department of Labor document citing the guidelines is considered unexciting and often tedious reading, it should be considered required reading for any employer or manager in charge of hiring or promotion decisions. Adhering to the guidelines as best as possible could keep employers out of harm’s way when it comes to legal battles.             

The Department of Labor offers 13 different guidelines that employers should follow when deciding on an “assessment initiative”. They are as follows:  

1. Use assessments and assessment tools in the manner in which they are indicated or advised (follow the directions!). When employers misuse an assessment tool or program, they could potentially face legal issues in the future.

2. Use the “whole- person approach” when testing. Remember, no test is perfect! Use an assessment test, or maybe even a combination of tests, that will give you as much information as possible about behaviors most important to your business.

3. Use tests that are unbiased and fair to all groups. Even tests that inadvertently discriminate may keep employers from gaining a qualified and diverse work group and may kindle, you guessed it, more legal battles.

4. Use tests that are reliable. Make sure that the questions offered on the test are not tricky and that they seek specific responses.

5. Make sure that the assessments being used are valid for the specific purpose intended. This may be considered one of the most important criterions in the selection process. Validity is simply the specific assessment’s ability to measure the target characteristic at a level that can be useful to the employer.

6. Assessment tests must be appropriate and applicable for the target population of desired employees (a.k.a., tests must be specific to your trade). For example, you would never give a person applying for a job at a burger joint an assessment designed specifically to assess dental hygienists.

7. Instructions and all other documentation must be completely comprehensive and easy for applicants to understand.

8. If the assessment test requires proctoring and/or administering, make sure that the people performing these actions are properly trained and qualified to do so. Some instruments require an extensive certification process to administer, proctor, and score tests.

9. Provide consistent standard and uniform testing conditions in order to obtain more consistent results. The key is keeping test takers from being distracted to assure the integrity of the test results.

10. Provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Remember: no group should ever be disadvantaged by the test or the conditions under which the test is taken.

11. Strong test security is important if the test results are going to be useful. Tests and their scoring should never be assessable to the general public.

12. Test results must be maintained in a confidential manner. Most effective are tests taken over the internet requiring a username and password.

13. Accurate interpretation of results is tremendously necessary. Nothing is worse than bad interpretation of good data. Don’t let that happen to you!              

Though these guidelines might sound dull and restricting, the Department of Labor does support the use sound testing and assessment strategy, and actually acknowledges the difficulty employers now have of “attracting, developing and retaining the best employees.” They go on to say that a well built and solid assessment strategy can “maximize chances for getting the right fit between jobs and employees.” (DOL publication, “Testing and Assessment: An Employers Guide to Good Practices”) To try one for free email me and I will send you a link; greta@schulzbusiness.com. In the subject put assessment test.   

Greta Schulz is a Sales Consultant for Businesses and Entrepreneurs. 
For more Sales Training Tips and Tools, please sign up for her SELLutions Caffeine at http://SchulzBusiness.com  or join her  Online Sales Training Course at http://B2bSalesPlayBook.com  

Click here to share this post.

In Sales No One Cares

by GSchulz 15. May 2012 22:56
    Tim arrived early at the office of Rob Simon, president of the ABC Tool & Dye Intl., so he could sit in the parking lot and review what he wanted to say. Tim practiced each step of his presentation in his head, exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. He knew that his PowerPoint slides were perfectly in order and were just what he needed to land this account. He knew what this company needed, because he has called on other companies like this and helped them just like he can help this one. Tim took a deep breath and walked into the building. "I've got this one down," he thought, and proceeded in the door. Once the pleasantries were over, Tim got right down to business. "Mr. Simon, I have been with my company for the past five years, and our company has been in business for over 50 years. We are the leader in our industry and have worked with lots of companies like yours and have been able to meet the needs that you have." "Well, that's why I agreed to meet with you, Tim," stated Mr. Simon. "We do have a need for a product like yours, and this might be a good fit." "I'm glad you did," Tim said proudly. "Our product line has the best reputation for least failures on the job, therefore downtime is at the lowest in the industry, which will keep you up and running more efficiently." "Great, Tim, but our service department isn't sure if they can retrofit your model into our existing equipment," Mr. Simon said. "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that, we do it all the time and with companies that have bigger problems than yours. As a matter of fact, I brought a PowerPoint presentation that I believe will help you understand why we're No. 1 in the industry." After the presentation, Mr. Simon said, "Thanks for the presentation, Tim, but I am still a little concerned about our existing equipment and the retrofit we'll need to do. We can't afford any downtime with the change, or production could be compromised." "Mr. Simon, I understand that is a concern, but we do this all the time. Don't worry, we can handle it," Tim said. Fifteen minutes later, Tim said goodbye to Mr. Simon and promised him a proposal in a few days. After Tim left, Mr. Simon buzzed his assistant and said when that proposal comes in, to just "round file" it. What happened? Tim ignored the real issue that Mr. Simon wanted addressed and kept telling him what he felt was important. Guess what? No one cares what you think is important, only as it applies to them. Tim missed lots of opportunity to really deeply understand what his prospect's issues were and assure him that not only could he solve the problem, but help Mr. Simon understand how. The result? Tim may very well have the best product for Mr. Simon, but Mr. Simon didn't see it that way. When a prospect gives you a hint of a need, address that need by asking really good, pointed questions, for example: §  Tell me more about the retrofit concern? §  Have you had that issue in the past in looking to change products? §  What happened? §  What did you do to address it at that time? §  How did it effect production and at what cost? These types of questions would not only have given Tim a real insight to the issue, it would have also given Mr. Simon confidence that Tim knew and could address HIS issue. Quick wrap-up: §  Stop telling about how great you and your company are (no one cares). §  Ask what some of the prospect's concerns are and then dig deeper to truly understand the issue. §  Don't be so quick with a solution, even if it is correct; you haven't earned the right so early in the process to give one. §  Listening is your best sales tool, not your product knowledge. Greta Schulz is Sales Consultant for Businesses and Entrepreneurs.  For more Sales Training Tips and Tools, please sign up for her SELLutions Caffeine at http://SchulzBusiness.com  or join her new Online Sales Training Course at http://B2bSalesPlayBook.com       Click here to share this post.

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