When Jeffery Gittomer, endorsed my book, Can They Sellhe said, “To hire or not to hire? That is the question.”  Jeffery is a master at getting salespeople to understand this foundational principal of success: “Salespeople’s mastery of sales skills will determine the quality of their lifestyle.”  A similar principal of success is true for sales managers:

“The quality of the team you recruit will determine your success as a coach.”

In sales, your individual personal performance, to a very large degree, determines your level of income.  As a sales manager, your income is controlled by the performance of the salespeople on your team.  Therefore, to build a strong team, it is critical that you master the skills of great recruiters.

The great University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball legendary coach, Pat  Summitt, is best known as a master recruiter. Her understanding that her recruiting skills determines her success as a coach has earned her 15 SEC Championships and 29 NCAA Tournament Appearances. The secret to Coach Summitt’s success is that she recruits and coaches using a best practice recruiting and coaching system.

When recruiting top players, Pat Summitt asks herself this question, “Can this recruit play basketball at a level that will win championships?” She knows what to look for and how to look for it. Great recruiters of salespeople should ask a similar question, “Can this candidate sell at a level that will help my team reach my personal income goals?” Do you know what to look for and how to look for it?

Mastering the foundational principals of successful recruiters will determine the number of championships you will win. It will also determine the quality of your life.

These 7 secrets will get you moving toward becoming a great recruiter.

  1. The best recruiters have calculated the cost of making a bad hire. The pain of lost revenue is the biggest motivator to improve and change. Lost revenue from bad hiring decisions ranges from $50,000 to $500,000. What is your number?
  1. The best recruiters know the answers to these 3 important questions:
    • Where can I find more quality people to interview?
    • What are the tops traits and skills of the best salespeople?
    • How do I look for these top traits and skills, and what tools do I use?
  1. The best recruiters understand that with the right knowledge, they can bring greatness to the people they lead. Using our gut (emotions) to make hiring decisions is the alternative approach to putting forth the hard effort to learn a best practice system.
  1. The best recruiters stop looking for an easier path to success. They realize that if they do not master recruiting and coaching skills in their current job, they will just drag the same bad habits into a new job and get frustrated there, too.
  1. Great recruiters understand what the perfect salesperson looks like, and they measure everyone in their pool of candidates against perfection. The pick of the litter is not always the best performer. When we measure everyone in our pool of candidates against the perfect salesperson, we may realize that we need more candidates in our pool.
  1. Great recruiters use a “best practice” recruiting system with processes, tools and skills. A best practice recruiting system begins with knowing the top five dimensions of a best salesperson: Attitudes, Motivations, Character Traits, Personality Traits and Sales Competencies. The best recruiters know how to use interview questionnaires and assessments that are tied to these 5 dimensions to measure each candidate against the best candidate.
  1. The best recruiters realize that learning anything new is hard. Hard is what allows strong sales teams to rise to the top. If it were easy, it wouldn’t pay much.  Easy diet and exercise programs don’t work, and neither do quick and easy solutions to fixing the complex problem of recruiting.

Following are 5 immediate actions you can take to begin to recruit salespeople with potential to win championships.

  1. Build a recruiting referral network. Just as Bill Cates teaches to build a network of people who send you sales referrals, you can build the same type of network with people who send you salesperson candidates. Start with the leaders of service organizations (Rotary, etc.). Get to know leaders of networking groups (BNI, eWomen, etc.). Sales trainers always have stacks of resumes (Sandler Sales, Dale Carnegie, etc.). Contact the volunteer at churches in charge of the “Job Search” ministry. Get to know the director of sales and salespeople at the local Chamber of Commerce. All of these people know many salespeople who are looking for a change. Post on all social networks. (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  2. Listen 80% and talk 20% during the interview. We must remove our sales hat and put on our selection hat. Selecting is listening rather than presenting the career.  When interviewing candidates, ask prepared questions tied to the traits and skills for which you are searching. Read the question without paraphrasing. When candidates respond to questions, avoid adding personal information. i.g. “That happened to me once.” “I know what you mean. I would have done the same thing.” The more we let candidates talk about themselves, without responses from us, the more they like us and our company. The more we talk about ourselves and tell our biography to the candidates, the more we get emotionally connected to the candidates leading to emotional rather than logical hiring decisions.
  3. Use prepared questions to measure character traits. Recognize that character traits are different from personality traits. Character is formed in our environment and is usually imprinted by the time we reach age seven. Character traits include honesty, work ethic, personal responsibility, and concern for others. Get a complete set of interview questions when you purchase the Can They Sell Field Manual.
  4. Use the science of a personality assessment to measure personality traits. Personality is genetic and changes very little over time. Salespeople who work in a high activity/high rejection sales environment are wired with high scores in these four areas: Social Drive, Social Confidence, Goal Orientation, and Need for Control.  The Craft Personality Questionnaire is the best scientific tool to measure these traits.
  5. Use a score card to score candidates on these top 5 dimensions of a Best Salesperson Profile: Attitudes, Motivations, Character Traits, Personality Traits, and Sales Skills. Scoring candidates helps us make a logical hiring decision rather than an emotional/gut decision.

Take action today, and these 7 secrets and 5 action items will help you recruit salespeople at a whole new level. Sales will rise, stress will lower, and you will become a great coach. Now go and RECRUIT THE BEST!

Steve Suggs



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