In this election year, there are, as usual, a large number of voters who are dissatisfied with their options at the polls. Most elections are like that—we want at least one candidate who is clearly perfect, but what we are given rarely lives up to our expectations. Most of us sigh and punch the ticket for what we consider to be the lesser of two evils, and some of us just stay away from the polls, feeling completely ineffective.
Sales hiring is a lot like an election: some sales managers are forced to sigh and choose the lesser of two (or three, or four) evils, and they find themselves with more dead wood on their sales team.
The reason is usually a flawed sales hiring process, and it begins with step one—attracting the right candidates. If you don’t have A players in your hiring pool, you’re not going to end up with the A team that will take your company to the top.
The best place to start sales hiring top performers also offers the best price: free. You undoubtedly have networks of associates, friends, even employees who can direct you to some viable candidates. All you need to do is have them put out some feelers to find the quality applicants you’re looking for. Your network is also a good place to get candidates because your connections can talk up your company as a great place to work.
If your network happens to be a little short of ideas, you’ll need to do some recruiting for your sales hiring. Some companies actually hire recruiters to find candidates for them, but that can be a little risky if you’re not sure of the recruiter’s track record. You’ll save some money and possibly get better results by doing your own targeted recruiting.
Most top talent is not going begging for a good sales job. To attract A players, you need to have an ad that far outstrips the competition. Fortunately, much of your competition is still relying on the same old “help wanted” ad with a laundry list of desired skills, but those types of ads aren’t going to attract the superstar salesmen. In fact, your ad should specify that you’re looking for a superstar, instead of mere “help.” That will be sure to appeal to the top salesmen egos out there. And instead of listing skills needed, inspire them by boasting about results, challenges, and opportunities. If you highlight the ways your company makes a difference, you’ll be able to attract the very best and find good salesmen for your team.
In order to seduce the types of applicants that will round out your A team, remember that, in sales hiring, the devil is in the details. Since the best salesmen are extremely Money and Power driven, make them salivate with your descriptions of great compensation, benefit packages, perks, rewards, recognition, and status. Create a powerful headline that will virtually pull their eyes to the rest of the ad, then tantalize them with targeted keywords, as recommended in the AHS ad writing module. They’ll be knocking at your door well before their scheduled appointment (after all, they are superstars!).
Once you’ve attracted the best applicants, you can use the rest of the AHS sales hiring tools to narrow the field. With a hand-picked set of candidates, you can rest assured that you’ve elected—I mean hired—the very best salesmen.