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


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 or email

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You make it happen, in sports and in sales

by GSchulz 12. March 2012 17:40
While watching football with my husband a story came on during halftime about a college football player. I can’t remember his name, but he was a Boston College hero. A few years ago, he was a shining star. He was the one who, many said, was going to not only play professionally but also be drafted in the first round. All of a sudden, in his third year of playing, he had some pain in his legs. His family took him to the doctor. Well, he had cancer. He had bone cancer, and it had hit one of his legs. They were devastated.

After a short gasp, he asked the doctor “What we can do?” The doctor explained that they were going to put a metal rod in his leg and, after all of that, a long bout with rehab. He asked “When will I be able to go back to football?”

The doctor said “You will probably never play football again."

“No, no, you don’t understand," the player said, "I’m playing football. That’s my life. It’s just a matter of when I can get back to doing it, not if.”

What I really liked about this story is life is all about choice.

I recently did some shopping with my daughter. At lunch, we were talking about her brother. If you follow my column, you know that, about a year ago, a shark bit our son, and basically the same thing happened. After five hours of surgery and 400 stitches, he asked the doctor “When I will be able to get back to baseball?"

The doctor said “Don’t worry about baseball; just make sure your foot is OK.”

My son said “No, no. I will be playing baseball. When will I be able to get back?”After six months of rehab and after dropping a 10-pound weight on his finger and six weeks of healing from that, almost exactly one year to the day after his shark bite, he was signed by the Kansas City Royals’ minor league baseball team.

At lunch, our daughter said to me “Someday, if Clayton makes it to the big leagues--”

I stopped her, “Jessie, it has nothing to do with if, it has to do with when. If Clayton chooses to go to the big leagues, and he does what he does now, which is work harder than everybody else, longer than everybody else, and puts more in than everybody else, he will be in the big leagues.”

After looking at me with her eyes squinted like she was pondering that comment deeply, she said “But what about the other great players, and what if they don’t choose him?” I shook my head and said with 100 percent confidence that if he decides to be in the big leagues, he’ll do it. Choosing your path, the things that you do in your life, are a choice. They’re your choice. For some reason, we all forget that and let others decide.

Clayton may have to fight harder, look for a different path than the one he was originally on, but it is a choice that he will make: To have his life the way he wants it. If Clayton decides that he wants to continue on this path and he wants to play on TV in the major leagues, he’s going to. Nothing will get in his way. If somebody is chosen ahead of him, he will just work harder and go out there to be chosen next. If it takes him longer than he thought, then he will just work harder until he gets there. If a coach, a player, anybody gets in his way, he’ll just work around them.

When you make a choice to do something in your life, you do it. You may not know the time frame and you may not know the exact circumstances, but either way, you follow your choice. I said “Jessie, Clayton will be in the major leagues because he’s decided and made a decision that’s what he wants.”

She looked at me and said “You know, I think that makes sense.”

What’s important for all of us to remember is that we have to decide what our fate is. Our fate has very little, if anything, to do with people and circumstances around us, who we work for, the economic situation or anything else. Those are obstacles that get in our way, and our job is to work over, under, around or through them. They only get in our way if we let them. If something is in your way, remember it’s just a hurdle and you have to jump over it. The question is: How high are you willing to jump?

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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