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4 steps to Hiring "No Assembly Required" Salesperson

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 07, 2021

Hiring sales talent is often a costly, difficult, and time-consuming task. However, it's mandatory in order to grow an organization and sales team.

In this blog, we discuss how to identify top talent and minimize hiring mistakes by following a 4 step process.

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Hiring mistakes are expensive. Before we dive further into this topic, let's consider the following:

  • According to the Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can be as high as 30% of first-year earnings
  • Additionally, the CEO of Link Humans estimated the average cost to be as high as $240,000 plus expenses
  • A study of CFOs said that not only do bad hires cost them productivity, but managers spend 17% of their time supervising underperforming employees
  • Lastly, CareerBuilder reports that 74% of employers state they hired the wrong person for the job

If you have a salesforce of 25 people and 20% of your new hires fail due to lack of performance, the cost can be $100,000.00+. In a conversation with Roy Riley, President of Peel and Holland Insurance Agency, he stated that hiring mistakes are a 2-comma problem.

 

Maybe you are part of the 26% that have not admitted to making hiring mistakes. Perhaps a better piece to read would be this article, What Elite Salespeople Do Better, by David Kurlan.

 

Otherwise, here are four steps that, if followed and executed effectively, will cause you great excitement, create a more positive impact on revenue from new hires and drive a more profitable margin for your business.

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Step #1: Hire for Will to Sell rather than Can Sell  

Most personality evaluations will tell you if a candidate has the personality traits consistent with successful salespeople. This information will tell you about characteristics like building relationships, being solution orientation, etc. 

What you want to know is their:

  • Desire and commitment to be successful specifically in selling
  • Ownership of outcomes
  • Motivation to succeed (specifically what motivates them)
  • Outlook when things aren’t going well

 

Step #2: Hire those that are big, fast, and strong

In other words, hire for specific sales DNA such as:

  • Ability to Recover from rejection
  • Beliefs about selling that support success in sales
  • Not inhibited by their own need for approval
  • Comfort asking about and discussing money
  • Can overcome their own buying beliefs so that they can execute a milestone centric sales approach

 

Step #3: Always be prospecting 

100% of the time, when I ask if a company is pro-active or re-active in their recruiting, they will tell me re-active. Yes, they go into the market and talk to candidates. But hiring people when they don't need them or hiring people that they can’t afford are not consistent traits. Here are my recommendations:

  • Schedule at least 20% of your time to focus on prospecting new sales candidates
  • Have a system in your organization where key people are responsible for setting prospecting activity goals and asking for introductions to other talented salespeople
  • Report recruiting activity just like you ask your salespeople to report sales activity in huddles or sales meetings

 

Step #4: Eliminate variability in the performance of your recruiting process

Too often, companies with a large footprint allow market executives to sway from the recruiting processes established by Human Resources. Companies assume that the local executive needs to have the flexibility to maximize the recruiting opportunities specific to their area. Which is causing ineffective results. Instead:

  • All job attraction posts must work from the same format
  • The first step is always to evaluate the potential candidate using a sales-specific skills assessment
  • The next step is to do a 5-10 phone interview (unless phone skills are not important)
  • The initial interview must operate like an audition
  • Use scorecards for the assessment, phone interview, and initial interview so that decisions to move forward are objective
  • Provide the next person in the selection process an interview guide with key focus points
  • Make offers to only those candidates that are committed to making a transformational career change
  • Prepare candidates to decide at the time of the offer by eliminating think it overs after you present your offer
  • Confirm with the candidate that they are prepared to go through your 3-to-6-month onboarding process in its entirety. No Exceptions.

 

In the next article, I will go through the steps and provide some more detail about each, and share with you how data can help you select candidates so that you can improve your success rate to 92% and grow your business!

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Topics: cost of hiring mistakes, hiring salespeople, key to successful hiring, sales onboarding, hiring top salespeople

What Recruiting in the “New Normal” Looks and Sounds Like

Posted by Kelly Barcelos on Wed, Jul 29, 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes. While some businesses have hit rock bottom, some are thriving and hiring at scale. Businesses in customer care, retail, healthcare, digital marketing, and online training industries are actively hiring because of the new market demands. But unfortunately, recruitment techniques that have been used for years aren’t the same anymore. The need for social distancing has made recruiters and HR professionals work from home, making the shift inevitable. Let’s understand how things have changed.

How has recruitment changed now that COVID-19 is here?

Before the pandemic hit the entire world, recruitment couldn’t be imagined without face-to-face interviews. But considering the criticality of the situation, organizations are adapting to new methods of recruitment to prevent the spread of the virus. Let’s understand how.

Virtual Recruitment: Once a prospective candidate is found, HR professionals are conducting virtual interviews in which the candidates need not visit the corporate office for the interview process. Instead, interviews are happening over video calls.

There are quite a few reliable virtual interview apps that allow scheduling and sending interview invitations, and then interviewing candidates over a video call. Some platforms also allow having virtual job fairs in which several candidates can join a chat room at once and recruiters can get to know them. Moreover, virtual interviews are equally interactive since the HR professional can assess body language, expressions, and gestures, just as they would in an in-person interview.

Candidate Experience: Now that traditional interviews are slowly becoming a thing of the past, HR professionals are going the extra mile to ensure good candidate experience. Here are a few tips that you can also use to deliver good candidate experience if you’re currently hiring:

  • Use consistent content or messaging across all channels to communicate how you’re taking effective measures to ensure the safety of candidates. This will also empower you as a brand.
  • Provide candidate resources that would help them appear in the virtual interview without any hassle. For example, help them get access to the software or give them a simple guide for the interview process.
  • Do not delay interviews hoping that you will soon be able to conduct an in-person interview. Your competitors may take advantage of every minute you lose and it will also have a negative impression on the candidate.
  • Build a landing page to which the candidates can be directed to for answers to questions they may have.

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Applicant Tracking System: Using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is one of the most important recruitment techniques if you’re hiring at scale. It will allow you to work remotely and also make sure that you have the “right” candidate. During the pandemic, employers are hiring based on their fluctuating requirements. For example, many are hiring for flexible roles that may change post-pandemic and many are also hiring candidates on a contractual basis. And an ATS will help you screen the applications based exactly on your requirements so that you don’t unnecessarily spend time and resources on irrelevant applications. Moreover, you can also leverage its other benefits, such as:

  • One-click job posting
  • Resumes and applications repository
  • Seamless interview scheduling
  • Automated resume parsing
  • Automated emails and follow-ups
  • Analytics for conversion rate

Remote Onboarding: Remote work has become a new trending order to minimize physical interaction as much as possible. And to ensure safety even further, employees are being onboarded digitally without having to even set foot in the workplace. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. To make onboarding seamless, you must:

  • Make training is available to new employees so that they can adapt well.
  • Give them some time to absorb all the information.
  • Communicate the organization’s culture to the new employee.

How you onboard a new employee can make a lot of difference since it can make or break the employee experience. Without it, you can’t say that you have made a successful hire.

Avoid common mistakes and form a new recruitment strategy that adapts to the changes as quickly as you can, because how you do it will determine the future of your organization.

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Author Bio:
Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.

Topics: hiring salespeople, key to successful hiring, recruiting sales talent, upgrade your sales force, hiring top salespeople, aquire sales candidates

Why Are My Salespeople Not Perfoming as Expected?

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Jun 26, 2020

Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?  It's a loaded question.  Or, is it?  In our corporate sales training experience, we've seen that evaluating underperforming salespeople in the pre-hire sales assessment is crucial for success in your business.

From poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success, to other candidates being eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring on sales STRENGTHS, there are specific reasons that not all of your salespeople are performing the way that you thought they would.

Did you hire them this way or did you make them this way?  Let's take a look...

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If you are a sales leader and you look at your numbers and the people producing those numbers, do you ever scratch your head in confusion over why you are looking at a lack of sales results?

Certainly, you didn’t hire these people to be in the middle of the pack or at the tail end of the conga line, but that is right where they are.  I know you don’t believe you hired them that way, but it’s either that, or you made them that way.

Don’t get upset with me here.  The reality is that your team’s performance is a result of who you’ve hired or what you’ve done (or not done).

So, in general, why do so many salespeople fail to perform? I have detailed answers to that question that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else besides right here.

  • Underperformers have 80% of the desire of top performers. *Note – not all performers have off-the-chart desire – that is about 7% of all top sales people.
  • Those that underperform have about 44% of the commitment to succeed in selling that top performers do.
  • These two factors combine to measure motivational level. Underperformers have about 60% of the motivation of your top people.

SUMMARY – Underperformers just are not as motivated to succeed.

SOLUTION – STOP hiring people that are not motivated to succeed at the highest level of performance!

Using the Objective Management Sales Evaluation, there are over 100 data points to measure the opportunity for sales growth of a sales team/organization.  Additionally, this data helps us to predict the likelihood of success of new sales people and managers. 

Here are some interesting findings based on the raw data I have from assessing salespeople (as well as firsthand knowledge of some of the people in the study).

  • Top performers are trainable and coachable
  • Top performers have a high figure-it-out factor
  • Top performers have a low need for approval and…
  • Top performers score an average of 86.8 (higher score is better) and underperformers score 39.6 for handling rejection!
  • Top performers are hunters, consultative sellers and closers (average score for skills is 55% of required skills while underperformers average 39.6% of required skills)

SUMMARY  Salespeople – regardless of tenure or previous success - need training and coaching. Also top performers handle rejection extremely well and move on.

SOLUTION  Do not hire based on past performance. (It’s like investing in a mutual fund – past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.)  During the interview process, reject the heck out of the candidate – the strong ones will recover and attempt to close you over and over again!

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The following data indicates that sales strengths are better indicators of success rather than sales skills:

  • Underperformers have 85% of the sales skills of top performers and have…
  • Only 71% of the sales strengths that support execution of sales skills and…
  • The severity of their sales weaknesses are 52% higher than that of top performers

SUMMARY – The skills are about the same, but those with strong strengths of desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility win.

SOLUTION – Make sure your pre-hire assessment process looks for strengths and “will sell” rather than just skills, personality and behavioral traits.

So, back to the original question:   “Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?”:

  • Poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success
  • Candidates eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring for sales strengths
  • Too much credit given to sales skills exhibited during interview process
  • Lack of solid training and development on the root causes of poor performance

Now that you have the answers to the question, what will you do about it?

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Develop Your Sales Talent to Increase Sales in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Mar 25, 2020

If you are not in the acquisition business, then you must develop your talent in order to increase sales in 2020 and beyond.  One of the keys to doing that is to understand how to drive sales improvement. 

You must determine what is really happening with your salespeople when they fail to acquire a new piece of business, and then you must take key steps to help you determine if they lack the skills to get the job done, or if they are making excuses for their lack of success. 

pexels-photo-248547

Companies are constantly trying to figure out how to drive organic growth by:

  • Acquiring a revenue stream by buying a business or lifting out talent from a competitor
  • Developing current talent

If you are not in the acquisition business, then you must develop your talent.  One of the keys to doing that is to understand how to drive sales improvement.  You must determine what is really happening with your salespeople when they fail to acquire a new piece of business. 

Are your people just making excuses for failure or do they have deficits in the required sales competencies or will to sell?

To be successful in determining the real issues with your salespeople, you must have a system.

I read a blog the other day by Dave Kurlan.  We’ve had a strong business partnership with Dave and his company OMG (Objective Management Group) for most of our 24 years in business.  With OMG, we have the ability to determine the answer to the question – is it excuses or is it a talent issue?

Dave’s post  - 12 Reasons They Didn’t Like You Enough To Buy From You – helps address some of the issues associated with “not getting the business”.  It primarily focuses on the area of matching styles.

This got me thinking about the issue of “style” as it relates to talent, which relates to sales competencies and excuse making.  The challenge for the sales manager is determining if the reason a salesperson did not get the sale was really a talent issue, or an excuse issue.

To determine the root cause of the results, a sales manager must work more closely with the relationship managers and implement a process that Bill Eckstom calls “intentional coaching”.  This process of working closing with your RMs is addressed in our Sales Management Certification Program in the Coaching for Success Module.

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Here are the 5 steps you must take to help you determine if your salespeople lack the necessary skills to succeed or are making excuses for their lack of success:

  1. You must gain insight. You gain insight by using various data points. The data points you MUST use are: 
    1. Observational joint sales calls – You do not run the sales call; you observe your RM
    2. Data from your CRM or SAT program (SAT – Sales Activity Tracking)
    3. Sales meetings – In all of your sales meetings, you need to include a segment on skill development where you drill for skill, role play and conduct strategy development discussions
    4. 1-on-1 coaching – Each week, you should have time set aside for 1-on-1 coaching with those people that are NOT in the 1st quadrant of the “Where’s Walter?” matrix
  2. Provide feedback. In advance of the discussion about lost opportunities, you want to provide your RM with the data you have – no ambushing.
    1. You discuss – ask the RM questions about what they see in the data
    2. You provide them feedback based on what you see and where the problems might be
    3. You discuss what the future might look like if the current trends continue
    4. You agree that there is a problem
  3. Demonstrate – Once you identify the problem as either an excuse or a skill issue, you demonstrate to the RM what you expect them to execute.
    1. If they are making excuses – "They didn’t understand the value of our offering” – You ask, “If I didn’t let you use that as an excuse what would you have done differently?”
    2. If it’s a skill problem – “I asked them if they had a budget and they said yes.” “When you asked them what it was, what did they say?”  “They said they didn’t want to tell me.”  “When you asked, ‘why not?’, what did they say?”  “I didn’t ask that question.”
  4. Role play – The scenario above allows you to now role play with you acting as the prospect. You need to start with Drill for Skill and then graduate to the full role play.  Getting them to practice what you expect them to do takes patience and repetition.  Do not believe for a second that one role play will be enough.  You need to start your RM on a weekly coaching session repeating the required skills over and over again. 
  5. Action steps – Each coaching session must end with action
    1. "Bill, so what I want you to do is call Mary and have this conversation we just role played."
    2. "I want you to report back to me by end of business today what happened as a result of that conversation."
    3. Hold your salespeople accountable while also coaching them along the way! 

Implementing a process of gaining insight, providing feedback, demonstrating, role playing and establishing action items will go a long way in helping your team discern the difference between making excuses for failure and the need for skill development.

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Topics: hiring salespeople, consultative selling, sales conversations, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, sales force performance management, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, train the trainer, driving sales growth 2020, online sales management training, sales training workshops, sales training seminars, sales training programs, sales candidate assessment, keys to selling success, keys to selling, consultative sales coaching cincinnati, consultative selling cincinnati, banking sales training cincinnati, corporate sales training cincinnati, hire better people cincinnati, sales coaching cincinnati, sales management training cincinnati, sales productivity tools cincinnati, sales training programs cincinnati, sales training workshops cincinnati, train the trainer cincinnati, hiring sales people cincinnati, increase sales cincinnati, professional sales training cincinnati, sales candidate assessment cincinnati, sales effectiveness training cincinnati, sales force performance evaluation cincinnati, sales performance management cincinnati, sales training cincinnati, sales training courses cincinnati, sales training seminars cincinnati

5 Strategies to Increase Sales and Have Your Best Year Yet

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Jan 07, 2020

Welcome to our newest blog series titled, "2020: The Year For Sales Growth".  These blog posts will specifically focus on helping you drive (and increase) sales in the new year. 

Starting with today's post, we bring you 5 strategies to help increase your sales to have your best yet!

crop-field-under-rainbow-and-cloudy-skies-at-dayime-1542495

Somehow, it is already time to start thinking about your goals and resolutions for the coming year so that you can:

  1. Fix problems
  2. Leverage opportunities
  3. Become the best version of yourself
  4. Scratch an itch
  5. Re-commit to previous resolutions

In a nutshell, we make resolutions to either achieve pleasure or avoid pain.  Unfortunately for many, the pleasurable outcome isn’t significant enough, or the pain isn’t severe enough, to make the resolutions stick. 

So, let’s do away with resolutions for a moment and talk about 5 Strategies that will help you have your best year yet.

#1 – Show Up and Show Up on Time.  When I was a product rep for Provident Life and Accident, my manager told me on my first day that the most important key to success in the business was to show up, and to show up on time. If you do that, you will already be ahead of the competition.  I believed that then back in 1990, and I believe it still holds true today.

  • Show up –Just get there.  Be in front of the people that you need to be in front of to tell your story, discover their needs, uncover their desires for a great outcome or to avoid pain. 
  • Show up on time – showing up on time demonstrates more about who you are than what you do. If you are a manager, make sure you show up on time for your 1-on-1 coaching sessions, your pre and post-call debrief meetings, and your sales meetings as well.  When you show up late or cancel/reschedule, you are sending a message to your people that showing up late (or not showing up at all) is okay.

#2 – Focus on Green, "Go-To" Activities.  I call them Green Activities because these are the activities that make you money. Make a list of all the things you do during the day, and then carve out about 20% of those activities that lead directly to making sales/money. 80% of your time should be spent on “Go-To” activities. Too often, we get caught up doing the other stuff that allows us to stay busy as opposed to focusing on what matters most. Don’t misunderstand me. I know other activities such as preparing for meetings, responding to emails and calls, and helping current clients are part of your role, but it’s important to prioritize the go-to activities to make sure they get done first.

#3 - Work with the Best of the Rest. Assume for a minute you have 50 clients.  Focus on asking your top 36% (18) of them if they know at least 5 other people like them.  That gives you a potential pool of prospects of 90! Let’s say your average revenue from your top 18 clients is $27,000. The potential revenue of the prospect pool is $2.4m.  Assuming ½ of the 90 will meet with you (45) and half of those people will be qualified prospects (22.5) and half of those people would buy from you (11.25), that means you could generate about $300,000 from that pool of prospects. The question I want you to answer is this:  How many of your bottom 36% clients would you have to sell to equal just 1 of your top 36%?

#4 – Answer the Question – What is Holding Me Back? Many salespeople and sales organizations go year after year without performing as expected.  Individuals and companies invest in training and sales enablement tools but still they find over 66% of the team members fail to reach goals.  There are exceptions but the studies we’ve done consistently tell us two things:

  1. The top 1/3 of the sales team generates close to 80% of the revenue
  2. The bottom 1/3 generates less than 5%

Sometimes what is holding someone back from being their best has nothing to do with technique or their ability to build relationships.  If your onboarding, training, development and coaching program does not focus on items where they specifically struggle it won’t matter or make a dent in your results. Stop treating symptoms and thinking you must work harder!  Find out what is holding you back and focus on the root cause. If you are a Sales Manager, VP or President: What is holding your team back from selling more business, more quickly at better margins?

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#5 – Be Coachable.  Every great professional gets to be the best for reasons other than natural ability or God given talents. The example I normally use is baseball but choose any profession you like, and I guarantee you that the best of the best are coachable and they practice to perfect their skills.  Here is an example:

  • José Carlos Altuve is a Venezuelan professional second baseman for the Houston Astros. The Astros signed Altuve as an amateur free agent in 2007, and he made his major league debut in 2011. From 2014 to 2017, Altuve recorded at least 200 hits each season and led the American League (AL) in the category. He won three batting championships as well as:
    • 6 time MLB All Star
    • MVP for the American league in 2017
    • 5 Silver Slugger Awards
    • 1 Golden Glove

The question is this, when spring training starts in February what does Altuve do? Does he sit on the sidelines and just watch because “he’s a pro”?  Does he participate in some of the drills and exercises but omits others because “he knows how to do that”? Does he skip batting practice or taking infield? The answer is no, no, no and no.  He’s a professional, he’s coachable and he recognizes that he can always be better.  

If you are going to continue to grow you must have the motivation, desire and commitment to become the best version of yourself. That is what will help you be coachable.

For more information on how to implement and execute these 5 strategies email me at tony@anthonycoletraining.com, Schedule a meeting using this link:  Schedule A Meeting or text “5 Strategies” to (513) 226-3913.

Topics: hiring salespeople, How to Increase Sales, Sales Coaching, increase sales, extraordinary sales, sales habits, sales productivity, sales productivity tools, sales effectiveness training, corporate sales training, social selling, online sales training, hire better people, driving sales growth 2020

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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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