“Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a salesman”, said no child…ever.
No matter your industry, there is a distinct lack of top caliber candidates to fill great sales roles. Why is that?
Consider these three points which may uncover some of the reasons why you’re battling to fill the sales positions in your company.
When you say “salesman”, most people will automatically conjure up a fast-talking, pushy used-car dealer, or a telemarketer who calls at 5:00 pm and simply won’t take no for an answer.
If that doesn’t raise alarm bells, then the words “great commission structure” will. A somewhat risky way to invest a whole lot of time and money in somebody else’s company with the very real possibility of failure is not a happy thought.
Yes, the public perception of the sales industry is pretty dire.
How do you combat this image?
As a company, consider rewording your job role. Account Manager, Business Development Executive or Customer Consultant sounds far better than Sales Representative.
Another suggestion is to take a good look at your compensation package. Would you work for that basic salary, and on that commission structure? Too many companies consider their sales force as dispensable, but nothing can be further from the truth. It’s worthwhile making their compensation package as attractive as possible to attract – and retain – the high achievers.
The skills and personality traits it takes to make a great career in sales are not common. You’re looking for a mix of ethics, morality, drive, and empathy. This rare combination means that your sales person will be able to form relationships quickly and effectively, gaining trust in their prospective customer.
Many sales people – sadly – do fit the mould of the glib and superficial shark out to get his share of the pie. And because of this, most hiring managers automatically look for these “hunter-type” personalities when they are hiring. Unfortunately, many of these abrasive personalities simply don’t make it past the first sales call.
Depending on your product or service, to look out for a careful, considered person with a strong moral code and a steely determination, may be a better option for you.
Problem Solving and Alternative Avenues
Sales is a tough job – no matter how you color it. It’s likely that some sales people may have a jaded perception of the traditional sales role, and not be eager to enter the fray again.
A good Sales Manager, however, will encourage his team to look for other ways to make their sales quota. To insist that they knock on cold doors for six hours of every day will wear down even the most resilient person.
However, a great sales leader will use a test and measure approach to teach his team that there are many ways to skin a cat – proverbially speaking – and to find the joy in it. Get rid of what’s not working, improve on what is, and the results will come pouring in.
There’s nothing more motivating to a sales person that a healthy check at the end of the month!
Trying a different approach to your sales recruitment, or changing the parameters of your ideal candidate, may be just what you need to find great sales talent for your business.
Ken Lazar, Principal
Experts in Recruiting Sales and Sales Management Professionals