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Recruiting Better Salespeople: The Make-Up of Hall of Famers

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Jan 26, 2018

Assuming for a second that when you think about hiring for a position in your organization, you are thinking about hiring the best- especially in the early rounds of looking for talent. No one reasonably goes about writing a job description like this: 

"ABLE Sales Company is looking for the most unbelievably average salespeople we can find. We already have enough top producers and those that are failing. What we really need are some people to bump up the middle of our bell curve. If interested show up and you’ll get a job.”

No, you are not looking for average- you are looking for people who can get your organization to the next level. You’re looking for the best of the best.

Which leads me to today’s story: I was listening to ESPN radio and tuned into The Golic and Wingo Show. They were sharing stories about the Baseball Hall of Fame inductees that a reporter (I didn’t catch the name but it might have been Tim Kurkjian) had heard from each during his time as a sports reporter. I would like to share 3 of those stories with you today and how they are great analogies for recruiting the best of the best.

2018 hall of famers

(Image from Getty Images)

Vladimir Guerrero: Vladimir is a Dominican born in 1975. He arrived to his first professional baseball try-out on a bicycle. He was wearing baseball shoes that didn’t match and one was so big he had to stuff it with socks so that it wouldn’t slip off. He was on the field for 5 minutes hitting, throwing and catching when the scouts told him he was finished. They signed him to a contract and now he’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame. So, how does this relate to recruiting talent?

  • When you got it, you got it
  • Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Trevor Hoffman: Trevor was born in Bellflower, California in 1967. When he tried out to play professional baseball, he did so as a shortstop. However, after a few minutes of taking the infield, somebody told him he was terrible as a fielding shortstop and he was a weak hitter. They said if he was going to make it in the pros he might want to try pitching. He did and now he’s a Hall of Famer. What’s the hiring lesson here?

  • When interviewing people don’t be afraid to push a button that might upset them. It’s going to happen in their sales career anyway so you might as well find out how they are going to react. Will they absorb the challenge or get emotional?
  • Every candidate you interview and eventually hire is going to come with some warts. What you want to know is – are they coachable?

Chipper Jones: Chipper was born in 1972 in Deland, Florida and played his entire career with the Atlanta Braves. Chipper was the #1 MLB draft pick in 1990. As the story goes, the Braves were ready to make him an offer but his dad was encouraging Chipper to hold off because he could probably get more money from another team. Chipper told his dad that he wanted to be the #1 draft pick and that the money didn’t matter. He knew that he was going to be successful and that he would earn his ‘big’ money based on his performance rather than what another club thought he was worth today. Again, why is this important when hiring salespeople?

  • You have to be patient. Just because it’s hard to find the right person, doesn’t mean you should hire one that is close. Close enough isn’t good enough (you already have some of those on your team and you don't need more).
  • Hire people that are willing to bet on themselves. Often recruiting managers, HR, and recruiters shy away from those that don’t exactly fit the pedigree. When interviewing and working the compensation into the hiring contract, be bold enough to challenge the candidate to put some money at risk. If they are as good as they think they are they will make up for it in spades in the long run.

There is nothing easy about hiring. If you listen to the stories of these recent inductees you will find that there was nothing easy about getting into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the 2018 MLB Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees: 

Chipper Jones

Vladimir Guerrero

Jim Thome

Trevor Hoffman

Jack Morris

Alan Trammell

Need more help hiring the best of the best? Download our free Recruiting Success Formula document and Interview Questions guide to improve your recruiting process, today!

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Topics: hire better salespeople, recruiting sales talent, building effective sales teams

What Great Sales Meetings, Massages and Colonoscopies Have in Common

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Mar 30, 2017

START WITH "WHY"

Let’s look at Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Formula and go right to the heart of the issue – “why”. (If you have not watched this video on Ted Talks, do so; it is a must for anyone in leadership, management AND sales.)

Golden Circle.png

“Why” is the most important thing to uncover when…

  • attempting to alter behavior,
  • move towards a specific outcome or
  • understand why someone would be willing to go through the pain of change when it is so much easier to deal with the status quo.


PAIN... IS A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR

Years ago, when I heard Tony Robbins speak in Cincinnati about Pain and Pleasure, he stated:

“People will do whatever it takes to avoid the pain they have today,
the pain they foresee in the future or to arrive at a pleasurable outcome. 
Avoiding pain will always trump pursuing pleasurable outcomes.”

Sales meetings, great massages and colonoscopy visits – when conducted and executed well - change behavior, improve skill and impact future outcomes.  However, yes, they can be painful. 

A LITTLE BACKGROUND TO GET THINGS ROLLING

This week, I had a massage… as well as a colonoscopy (although I realize that is more information than you wanted to know…).  During the massage a couple days ago, they found a pressure point in the middle of my right shoulder blade that was tense with stress. When the masseuse applied pressure, there was definite pain.  But, once I got through the pain, I was rewarded with less stress and now the impinged shoulder isn’t as painful.

Today, I had my colonoscopy.  Now, if you’ve done this in the past, you know the drill and the “pain” of it all.  The pain or discomfort isn’t so much with the procedure, but with the prep. That god-awful stuff you have to drink, the endless hours on the commode, the cramps in your intestines as well as all the good-natured ribbing you get at work (What? You don’t share this moment with co-workers?).  And then, you have some definite discomfort at the end when you are trying to relieve the pressure while in the post-op “GAS CHAMBER”.

HOW ALL THIS RELATES TO SALES MEETINGS

So, after laying all that as a foundation, I’m sure you are wondering, “Why is Tony talking about sales meetings, massages and colonoscopies?!?” Well…

  • Too many sales meetings are conducted like a great massage:
    • Soothing
    • Relaxing
    • No tension
    • Positive environment
    • People leave without any kind of stress or care

  • Too many sales meetings are also being conducted like colonoscopies
    • People that have been to them before don’t want to do them again
    • The prep for both is critical for success
    • Often, if the environment isn’t controlled, there ends up being a lot of gas expelled
    • Sometimes, depending on the doctor, the anesthesia and/or the meeting, people are put to sleep or, at a minimum, in “twilight”
    • Everyone is starving for something productive to happen during the “meetings”, but too often they come to “the table” hungry and leave hungry
    • Everyone is thrilled that they only have to go through all that once in a while

Do you see any correlations? You might find yourself agreeing to many of the bullet points above.  You might also be able to relate to some of the things that aren’t too good about the sales meetings you have attended or conducted.  The purpose of this writing is to help shed some light on the right combination of things in a meeting that should happen so that:

  • Meetings are productive
  • No one wants to miss your meetings
  • People learn and grow their practices as a result of the meetings
  • They don’t have to sit through painful re-enactments of each salesperson’s pipeline discussion (Truly, this is like multiple colonoscopies on the same day!)

WHEN THE BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE PAIN 

Here are the correct procedures for sales meetings, massages and medical procedures that will result in a clean bill of health:

  • At a certain age, colonoscopies are non-negotiable. Effective sales meetings are not negotiable any time for any company of any age.
  • Preparation is required to have a great outcome
  • You know you have great outcomes if: (These are in BOLD because they are IMPORTANT!)
    • People never miss, leave early, or arrive late
    • Your people learn something that they can implement right away to help them grow their business
    • The meetings are all about selling and driving sales growth
      • No ops discussions
      • No underwriting discussions
      • No business strategy discussions but “foot soldier” discussions on strategies to gain entry into markets
      • Anything that can be communicated via email should be done so
    • People should leave the meeting re-invigorated, but also mindful of what it takes to maintain a stress-free existence in the organization
      • Activity and production requirements must be met
      • Mediocrity is unacceptable
      • People will be coached with a disciplined approach for improvement if they begin failing at activity or production
    • And finally, just like after a colonoscopy, people may not always want to return for another one; but the upside is that benefits (health and sales success) outweigh the pain of the procedure!

WHAT I GAINED FROM THE EXPERIENCE 

During my exam, they found 5 polyps and removed them all.  Don’t panic; the doctor did not indicate that I had a problem. It’s just when you get to a certain age, you find little skin things hanging off of your body all over the place. Why should the colon be exempted? (Again, too much information? Ha ha) 

Here are my other massage and colonoscopy outcomes:

  • I learned from it: keep doing the right things – exercise, diet and sleep
  • I am now stress-free for a while because I have a clean bill of health on my colon
  • I feel 5 pounds lighter, which is always a good thing
  • I came home and slept soundly for another 5 hours after only getting 3.5 hours of interrupted sleep the night before. Admit it, you would all like to sleep like that once in a while and you KNOW it would be good for you
  • It brought my wife and I closer together. We both had the chance to be supportive because she also went through this; hers was last week.  It was an opportunity to put the world outside for a while and just focus on each other.

 WHAT YOU CAN GAIN FROM THE EXPERIENCE

Positive outcomes of a great sales meeting:

  • Unsuitable opportunities (that actually create an unhealthy approach to prospecting) are jettisoned from the pipeline
  • Something is learned that can have a positive and dramatic impact on sales success
  • Salespeople, who are getting the right results and doing the right things, get recognized
  • Sales skills are improved because upcoming sales or prospecting calls are role-played and practiced
  • People left the meeting feeling like part of a successful team – where everyone cares about one another and knows they are all fighting for the same successful outcomes

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Topics: building effective sales teams, top sales performers, close more sales, sales meetings

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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