Sales Recruiters: Sourcing Exceptional Candidates
Entire books have been written on how to recruit exceptional employees, but when it comes down to sourcing extraordinary candidates in sales, you only need one sentence: focus on commitment rather than on competence. Yes, the job for sales recruiters really is that simpleïand that complicated! Here’s how to get started.
ïExceptionalï is a subjective adjective for sales recruiters, to be sure. So, before diving into further discussion, it’s worthwhile to discuss what an exceptional salesperson is. You may have noticed an intriguing phenomenon in your office; about 80 percent of sales and business come from 20 percent of salespeople. Think about what that top 20 percent does. Chances are that these salespeople:
-Receive higher income due to more commissions/sales
-Get promoted more
-Enjoy more perks on the job
-Have better relationships with clients
-Demonstrate client empathy
-Maintain high levels of work satisfaction
-Possess inner drive, willpower and integrity
-Accept responsibility for risks and failures
-Are ambitious, setting high goals and standards, and reaching them
-Practice high self-discipline
-Do not take rejection personally
-Are clever about approaching strangers even when doing so may be awkward
And what about the 80 percent of salespeople who bring in a mere 20 percent of your business Are they hiring mistakes It’s very possible that many are, but the good news is that you have a better idea of ïexceptional.ï Now, as a sales recruiter, you know what to look for. So, how to do it
The (Un)Importance of Experience
The majority of job descriptions, sales or otherwise, have one thing in common: experience is required. The requirement could call for as short a span as one year of experience or for a much longer period such as 10 years. Look over the list above again. Anything about experience there No, and that is because in sales, anyone can be trained on content and on how to sell. Whether you sell insurance, cars, shoes, clothes or something else entirely, your office can train your salespeople about product or service attributes. Your office should also be more than capable of educating salespeople in the fine art of selling, and salespeople can certainly learn more on their own as well.
It may be time to change the culture of your organization for your sales recruiters. If you’ve previously emphasized sourcing candidates with experience, stop doing that. Instead, shift your focus to innate characteristics such as motivation, passion, drive and ambition.
How to Find Motivated Salespeople
At this point, many sales recruiters may be thinking something like, ïI should ask better interview questions, ones that measure motivation and work ethic.ï That’s true to a degree, but you know that anyone can give well-constructed and enthusiastic answers during interviews. Ah, but there’s reference checking. Great idea. Whether you are contacting a candidate’s previous employers or former teachers, definitely ask about innate motivation, drive and ambition. However, to source truly exceptional salespeople, go one step further: find them where they are.
Where do you find motivated people with a high work ethic How about at an early-morning Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting How about at an optional workshop at a college, sales or industry conference If someone is willing (or even excited!) to wake up early to attend a meeting and make connections, that person is a possible gem. Along these lines, someone who attends optional workshops demonstrates a commitment to self-improvement. Always ask for these folks’ business cards because odds are good that you’ll want to contact them later.
Bringing Exceptional Salespeople on Board
Of course, hiring great salespeople is not as simple as noticing someone at a conference and making a job offer. But it’s a great start. Here is what else you need to do.
-Stay in touch with the folks you meet who show passion, motivation and work ethic. If they cannot work for your organization (or even if they can), ask for referrals. Exceptional people know other exceptional people, and they’ll be thrilled to help you out.
-Get names from your clients. Which salespeople stand out in a good way to your clients, and why
-Contact college departments and career services to explain your interest in enthusiastic students. Explain their appeal for sales recruiters, and never be afraid to bring folks who are right out of college on board.
-Regularly collect these names, and keep them in a database. When you need to hire someone, you have a list tailor-made for your needs.
As you make all-star hires, turn to the resources here at Mighty Recruiter for additional guidance.