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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

(SALES) Techniques For Finding Great Salespeople


The toughest thing managers have to do is fire somebody. And that means the most important thing we have to do is hire the right people and make sure they are the right fit. Good recruitment techniques include making sure you have a great ?bench? for your sales staff. It?s the best thing you can do to eliminate having to hire from desperation and adding a ?warm body? you?ll soon have to replace.

You should always have two to three good candidates you know that you can hire with two weeks? notice, and that means you need to constantly be recruiting. A sales manager should invest 10 percent of his or her time every week in recruiting, interviewing, and hunting for sellers. Four hours a week, minimum. Here are a few colleagues out in the field, with tips on how you can find your next great salesperson:

Corina Otani, GM at KUSA/Price, UT:
Previous sales experience is not important to me. That can be taught. Motivation, the desire to succeed, and self-discipline come from within. That?s what I?m looking for. Which brings me back to the importance of continual recruiting. Each person I interview will tell me he or she has an exceptional work ethic -- and a few of them will be telling the truth. I have compiled a list of potential salespeople by attending Chamber of Commerce luncheons, community meetings and events, etc. I notice who shows up early, who takes notes, who makes a strong impression. Those are the people I need.

Derron Steenbergen, CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) for Commonwealth Broadcasting in Bowling Green, KY:
The key to effectively recruiting salespeople is to do it all the time. When you drive a car, you don?t look at the road only when you sense an accident is near; you are constantly looking down the road for what lies ahead. Likewise, in recruitment, you must continually be looking for potential candidates. We have all faced emergencies when a top seller leaves. Those managers who excel at recruitment are continually identifying good prospects. One of my best hires took over six years to materialize; we began talking about her professional desires long before it happened. It is much healthier to identify good people when it is not an urgent situation. Much like driving, we are better recruiters when we do it consistently instead of waiting for the workplace accident.

Jamie Futrell, GM at Bristol Broadcasting in Paducah, KY:
We have a system: Test every applicant, and interview only those that pass. Every candidate will begin with an interview with me or the LSM. If either of us doesn?t like them, the other doesn?t interview them. The candidates we both like are brought in for a third interview with both of us.

Our best secret is that if they pass all of that, they are invited for a fourth interview. I?ve saved myself from many problems with the fourth session. We explain the importance of the fit being just as right for them as it is for us. And then we invite them to go out to lunch with three of our veterans and ask any questions they might have.

I have been shocked by how many candidates blow it in the fourth session. One prospective employee revealed that she just needed a job until her husband found one somewhere else. Another explained that she and her husband like to ride Harleys every Friday and wanted to know how closely management monitored them. This is even more important if the two managers hiring are of the same sex and the prospective employee is of the opposite sex. Guys read guys better. Ladies read ladies better. You need that perspective if you don?t have it.

Mark Trotter, GM with Eagle Communications in Hutchinson, KS:
We have found two of our best sales leaders in unconventional places. Each person I had met before; one was a competitor, and another was the former manager of a retail clothing store. I saw one of them in line at the post office, struck up a conversation, and told her if she was ever interested in getting back in the business, to give me a call. Last week she celebrated her 20-year anniversary with us, the last 10-plus as a top biller.

The second one was an encounter at a restaurant, with someone who had left the business he was managing. I asked him to think about joining our company: ?Come see us next week. We could have a place for you!?

And to these proven techniques, I?d like to add one of my own: the open house. Run an ad that notifies potential sales reps that you will be holding an ?open house/job fair? at your company on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and ask people to call, or e-mail, you a resume for you to filter beforehand. Some people will interview on Saturdays before they?ll interview during the week; the good ones don?t like to cheat on their current employers on company time. The GM or sales manager cuts the spots. It?s very specific, and some great people have been hired based on our properties using the open-house approach. E-mail me for more information and a promo example.

Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at or His new book The Liquid Fire can be found on

(9/5/2014 10:15:18 AM)
When I was the GM of a small Northern Virginia radio station, I called several Sales Mgrs at D.C. metro stations and asked them to send me the resumes of the candidates they had no openings for. My fax machine rang off the hook! When I was the LSM of an Atlantic City, NJ station, I recruited the asst Mgr of a Comedy club at one of the casinos.

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