Recruiting Great Sales Representatives

No matter how much work you put into your business, it can all be undone by a lack of talented employees who can work your systems. With the tightest labor market in our lives, I have more clients than ever before asking me how they can beat their competitors and win over the best sales talent. 

The days of great residential and commercial sales representatives joining firms right out of college, eager to work commission-only just to prove themselves, are long gone. A pest management company has to find the right mix of money, benefits, and lifestyle to attract and retain top talent. 

In my decades in the business, I’ve seen a lot of clients try and fail to recruit great sales rosters because they fail to understand the market and what motivates their prospects. Read on to learn the tactics that work for finding great salespeople:

Retain Before Recruiting

You’re probably thinking about sweetening the pot to draw in more job applicants. That’s a great way to start a search, but you must ensure your current talent doesn’t feel slighted. If your current employees learn that the new salesperson is getting better benefits or a better commission structure, they’ll realize they’re more valuable than they think on the current market.

Your current employees know your system and how to sell it. High performers should get everything you’re offering new hires before you put up the posting. Studies show that it costs 6 to 9 months of salary to replace a worker. In a hiring crunch, employee retention should be your top priority. 

It’s More than Money

Salespeople have reputations as only caring about the bottom line. But research shows that every worker thinks about a lot more than just money. Benefits, perks, and company culture all contribute to employee happiness and make your company a more attractive place for employees. 

66% of employees don’t see a road to advancement in their current role. For some applicants, it’ll be the reason they’re talking to you in the first place. If you can show a prospect that you take care of their families with good health benefits, their mental health with flexible hours and good vacation, and their careers with a clear path for advancement, they’ll respond.

Avoid Headhunters

A lot of companies get snookered by the promise of a quick, easy pool of great candidates offered by professional headhunters. In my experience, headhunted salespeople work out less often than sales reps you recruit yourself.

Why? Because the first thing headhunters do is ask you what you’re looking for in a new employee. Then they train their applicants to give you exactly the answer you told them you wanted to hear. Because the incentive structure is set up so that they don’t get paid unless you hire their applicants, they’ll do whatever it takes to push applicants on you, even if they aren’t actually a good fit.

Keep It Real

It’s hard to evaluate talent just from resumes. An applicant can emphasize and de-emphasize whatever they want in an application. So how do you find out if they actually have sales skills?

Your best bet is to keep things focused on their real-world experiences. Don’t test them with hypotheticals or open-ended questions. Go right to what they’ve faced in real life and how they’ve gotten past it. Tell them to bring sales reports from their previous employers and check their claims against their W2s. You can get to the truth, but only if you press your applicants hard to show you real-world results. Anything else is just talk.

Sales Training by Design Inc.

400 Independence Blvd.
Sicklerville, NJ 08081
Phone: 877-397-5287Email: pquigley@salesbydesign.com

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