Recruiting and motivating sales pros can be crucial. After all, sales are the lifeblood of any successful organization. With this in mind, I caught up with Bob Harris, President of Attrition Busters. Harris knows the importance of hiring superior sales pros—and how to keep them working for you.
Harlick: How can an owner of a security integration firm attract and recruit sales pros?
Harris: I believe the first thing we need to better understand is, “What do top sales people really want?” Tracking and measuring the benefits an organization provides salespeople with, that differentiates them from competitors is a crucial first step in your ability to recruit top sales pros. Aside from commission and perks, which are certainly major aspects of recruiting top performers, I believe that doing the homework to find out the kinds of things your competitors are offering provides a significant advantage. If an organization provides ongoing training and energetically mentors success as opposed to simply paying lip service to it, this is always very well received and certainly “adds value” to working with you as opposed to working for someone else.
Harlick: Where should an owner look if they can't find someone of quality?
Harris: If I go outside of the industry to find a new salesperson, I usually actively pursue someone who has a reasonably long and successful track record at a commission based “tough sell” job. People who have thrived selling copy machines, home improvement solutions, life insurance, and a host of other “tough sells” that require a significant percentage of self initiated leads with a very high degree of relationship building skills get my attention and often become successful in the alarm business.
Harlick: How can an owner drive sales in an area we would like to grow?
Harris: I have never been a huge fan of sales quotas and territory restrictions so to speak. I would suggest you consider an internal competition with a meaningful and attainable reward. For example if you have five salespeople, you might create a sales board to hang on your office wall. You could include a variety of products or services and apply extra-value to those which you want to drive forward. Perhaps you want to drive sales in the area of an added value service such as GPS or remote video monitoring. For the purpose of this example, let's say it's a 90-day contest. The first person to sell 25 of the products you're interested in driving will win such and such.
Harlick: What can an owner do to increase our sales closing percentages?
Harris: In a word, “training!” Tangible training from an outside industry professional brings new ideas and motivation to sales teams. Whether your sales people have 25 years of experience or 25 minutes, we can all get better. The sad truth is that we spend a lot of money on technical training with very little ever being invested in sales training. Dynamic sales training can increase anyone's ability to get more sales and referrals.