Do you ever wonder why most sales hires end up failing?

Here’s a quick true story and then a real client conversation:

When I was a kid growing up in New York, my Dad, who was a monstrous baseball fan, signed me up for Little League.  I was 8 or 9.

Signing up for Little League wasn’t my idea and I was less than enthusiastic about playing baseball.  I also was a lousy hitter and fielder.

But worse than that, in my first two games, I got hit by a pitch in each game when at bat. From then on, I hung back from the plate when the ball was pitched. I was afraid to really get in there and swing the bat for fear of getting hit by another pitch.

I think most sales managers act the same way when it comes to hiring salespeople. They’ve screwed up so many times hiring that they just want to get anybody who’ll stick around.

But it’s a new ballgame and the tools that have been developed to match values and styles to the job are at your disposal. They give you an unfair advantage. You no longer have to hire in fear of failure.

Here’s an email I got from a new client together with my answer:

Alan – I have a question.    As one of your newest customers, I don’t have any experience with you product but the first real candidate to take your test did not proceed to the second level and he called me after our Sales Manager told him he wasn’t a good fit.    Him calling me is not the problem; not having solid answers to “How can we base our decision on a test with only 12 questions?”    Finding salespeople is really hard in this market and I hate to pass on someone that might have worked out.   What advise do you have for me?   B. W

Dear B.W.

Thanks for the note.

First of all, in our Member Area we specifically recommend that you never say to a candidate “you are being rejected because you didn’t pass our profile.” Although our profiles are legal and valid, saying that opens you up to having to explain something that may be beyond your experience. Best to say we’ve found other more qualified candidates. Period.

Now on to the System: the ValuesMatrix™ measures whether an applicant is a high practical. Is Money or Power their highest value. Our experience shows that applicants who fail that profile top out early in their productivity. They may be effective communicators, even persuasive, (which you would determine from the StylesMatrix™). But deep down inside money doesn’t really drive them.

Some clients are content having a bunch of low-dollar producers so they ignore the ValuesMatrix. I can tell you that our client in Green Bay used to ignore ValuesMatrix™. And got your typical small market low dollar producers. One day I convinced him to use the System the way it was designed.

Here’s a quote of his I have stuck on my wall, “OMG, Alan, I have just hired three salespeople who have revamped my sales effort, thanks to deciding to listen to you last year and do it just the way you say, ValuesMatrix™, then StylesMatrix™, then AHS Interview Module™. I am amazed.” — Ed Sterling