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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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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A Great Salesperson is Not Your Best Manager

by Admin 6. February 2012 16:43

The most common questions I think I get, hands down, are: “Greta, where do I find a good sales manager?” or “Who on our team do you think would be a good manager?” Most of the time, they take their best salesperson and promote him, or they take somebody who has been in the field or sold before and hire her. What happens? Well, I’ll tell you: More often than not, it’s unsuccessful. To illustrate why, I’m going to tell you a story about Evan.

I work with a very prominent, high-end Web design company, one of the largest in the country. It has a wonderful reputation, and its salespeople are skilled, though they needed to learn some process. So the company hired me about a year and a half ago.

The sales manager they had was absolutely fabulous at sales – one of the best I’ve seen. And when I taught them my sales process, most of them – and certainly him – took to the process like a duck to water. The sales manager, named Don, took this process and made it his own. He totally got it, he understood it and he started selling like nobody’s business.

Well that’s great, but how were the others doing? They weren’t really hitting their potential. Why? Because they weren’t really being managed. Now, don’t get me wrong. Don was one of the best salesmen I’ve ever seen, but management and sales are two completely different things. So the owner and I sat down and talked. I said: “You know, I think you are holding Don back by making him a sales manager. He could be not only your top salesperson, but he could make a heck of a lot more money, and I don’t think he enjoys what he’s doing.” He said: “Well, what do you think we should do?”

Now, before I talk to you about Evan, I want to tell you a little bit about how the organization works. They have salespeople who will go out, cultivate the business, gather it, get it to a point where they have some technical conversation ready to happen, and then they have what they call “business consultants” come in to talk more on the technical side. That being said, their salespeople and their business consultants were both involved in my training and both learned the process.

But Evan, who was a business consultant, learned the process inside and out. Why? In my opinion, it’s because he’s a real process-oriented guy. Most salespeople believe whatever they want to believe, but Evan believes one plus one equals two.

So, when I suggested to the owner, Jeff, that he should make Evan the sales director, he almost fell over. He looked at me like I had three heads, and told me that Evan had never been in sales before. I said that’s precisely it. What I meant was that most of us think incorrectly about what we need in a sales manager.

A sales manager does not need to be the best salesperson because, unless you can teach someone through osmosis how to sell, that particular skill is not transferrable unless it is taught and accounted for. Even if they could articulate it, it really doesn’t make any difference because it can’t be repeatable and made accountable for unless it has steps to follow. Here is why Evan is a good sales leader:

  • Strong coaching. He could coach because he didn’t have his ego all tied up in “when I was a salesperson, this is what I would do.” He was a coach because he understood that coaching through a particular process allows for repeatable, accountable success and a clear understanding of what went wrong if a sale isn’t made.
  • It takes leadership. A leader is somebody who doesn’t tell someone what to do, but asks questions and gets them to realize what they should do. Evan was very skilled at this because the most intelligent people are the ones who ask, not tell. When someone self-discovers an answer to a question, it becomes theirs. When it is theirs, they learn.
  • Keeping people accountable. This is the one that most sales managers miss on. Because they will allow a salesperson to say everything looks good when nothing is happening. So, the proper way to manage a sales group is by keeping them accountable by the activities they do. Coach them through each step of the sales process to get closer to the next step in the process, which is closer to the close.

After pondering this for a month or two, Geoff decided to make Evan a sales director for about 90 days to see how it went on both sides. It’s almost a year later, and it had to be the best decision they ever made. In one year, they went from $3.5 million in revenue to more than $5 million. I think I can take some credit for that, but Evan can take much more of the credit for keeping them accountable, coaching and leading them to success.

So, how are you going to find your next sales manager?

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Sales Assessments: To Test or Not to Test

by GSchulz 4. September 2011 18:16

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”)\



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10 Ideals Athletes and Business People Share. Guest Post

by Admin 21. April 2011 17:00
Patti Dranz is a 4 time State of Florida High School Diving Champion, a feat not accomplished in 51 years!  She was at Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale and now swims for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

She was asked what are 10 things she learned in this championship process:

*God directs where He wants us to be.  We just  have to be there for the ride.

*Be willing and open to try new ideas even if initially it's not what you think you want to do.

 God knows best.  Believe it.

*It was an uphill journey.  One that required much patience.

*Persistence.  Anything worth having is definitely worth working for.

*Attitude.  Attitude is a major part of everything.

*Don't let failure be final.  Nobody likes failing at anything.  Get back up and do it again.  Own it.

*Diving is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one.  Skill can only take you so far.

*Friends and encouragers definitely help along the way.

*Humility is key.

*Give credit where credit is due.  All talents and abilities are gifts from God and need to be used all for His glory.

Wow!  These are excellent points that apply not only to diving but all areas of life!

Live Passionately!

This post was shared by John Barber who writes the Barber Financial Minute, a weekly business strategy brief for entrepreneurs and business owners.  For more info check out: www.barbarfinancial.com

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