When I was growing up in New York my team was the NY Yankees. The Yankees had a second baseman named Willie Randolph. I always admired Willy because every time I turned on the TV to watch a game there was Willie doing his thing; hitting, fielding, stealing bases, making double plays. Willie was on the field early and then he headed home to the family not the night club. Willie was doing the basics day in day out, chopping wood and carrying water for 18 years in the Pros*. Not much “Rock Star” about Willie. You never saw Willie in the gossip pages or mug shots.
Contrast that with the “Rock Star”. You don’t have to think too hard to get my drift. I would take a team of “Willies” any day. So that is what I look for; consistent, measurable progress and results. Continuous improvement and corrective action measures when necessary. I like a full balanced sales pipeline, even, fair and honest communication with clients, prospects, management and employees. No pop sales psychology, no manipulations, no tricks, no hard closes.
Hiring Sales People
So how do you get there? Here are a few suggestions.
- Hire reps that test well on personality assessments for sales skills and take the time to review the results to make sure they fit YOUR culture.
- Understand that past performance (or non-performance) is the best indicator, not the only, but the best indicator of future performance.
- Build a sales plan that outlines sales stages incrementally through the sales cycle; from qualification, appointment setting, presenting, proposals and closing percentages.
- Develop a set of key performance metrics or indicators on the stages above that are simple to measure and review.
- Manage sales challenges and skill sets based on the performance indicators, develop sales skills like trial closing, probing, qualifying, objection handling and consistently coach “stuck” accounts.
- Create “teams” not individual players. Create competition that supports the good of the whole.
- Watch their feet – Not the words. Measure, Measure, Measure.
Look at Willies stats below. Now think of your favorite rock star. How are they measured? Again, not too difficult to get my point. But what is the ultimate upside? You won’t end up with a trashed hotel room on their expense account!
* Willy ranked fifth in major league history in games at second base (2,152), ninth in putouts (4,859), seventh in assists (6,336), eighth in total chances (11,429), and third in double plays (1,547).
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