When faced with the prospect of sales hiring, the challenge that keeps managers up at night is whether or not they’re hiring the right people. Sales hiring is especially tricky, because there are so many people out there who believe they have what it takes, but once they’re put to the task, they fail miserably. If you’re getting too many of these types of applicants, and not enough of the superstars you’re looking for, maybe you’re not using the right bait.
As an example, let’s say you’re a lonely single guy, and your mother has this friend who has this niece, and they both think the two of you would be a great match. You’ve kind of been looking, so you ask, “What’s she like?”
The answer? “She has a nice personality.”
You run the other way.
Why? Because they used the wrong bait. Their answer really didn’t tell you anything about the girl, and now your imagination is filling in all the gaps with some very unattractive details. Now you won’t even give the poor girl a chance. For all you know, this could be a wonderful person—your soul mate, even—but you’ll never know because the lack of specifics chased you away.
Now let’s take this analogy and use it in a sales hiring scenario. If you just place some kind of generic “help wanted” ad, and you say something like, “a great company to work for,” it’s very likely that your best prospects will run the other way and you’ll have no chance of hiring the right people. They don’t want to buy into the promise of a great place to work unless they have some idea of why it’s a great place to work—if that’s even the truth.
Concrete evidence. That’s what the best sales personality is looking for. He usually knows what he’s worth to a company, so he doesn’t have to apply for dozens of openings. He doesn’t want to waste time going through the process for a company that might or might not turn out to be a good fit. In sales hiring, if you want this type of applicant, it’s your responsibility to provide the concrete evidence he needs.
The best place for this evidence is in a galvanizing headline. Since most prospects won’t even read an ad unless it has a headline that grabs their attention, this is the most important part of your ad. Choosing a tantalizing detail about your company and highlighting it in a headline will provide the perfect “carrot” to attract job seekers into reading the rest of your ad. You’ll want to invest plenty of time and thought in this process, and you can use the examples in the ad writing module of the AHS sales hiring system to inspire you.
Once your headline has lured the prospect into reading the rest of the ad, use the keywords that apply to what makes a good salesman. Pepper the ad with sales hiring words like Persuasive, Enthusiastic, Independent, Strong-willed, etc., and the applicant will think he’s reading a description of himself. Subsequently, he’ll try to be the first applicant through your door, whether it’s real or virtual.