How to hire and retain a sales champion.


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Some sales champions have gone on to become very successful business owners and teachers. Great sales people are made. Anyone can become successful in selling. Read more here....

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How to hire and retain a sales champion.

  1. 1. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. How to hire and retain a sales champion. Behind every company's increase in market share there is at least one sales champion. Someone who understands human needs, communicates clearly and knows how to gain a buyer's trust. Some sales champions have gone on to become very successful business owners and teachers. Great sales people are made. Anyone can become successful in selling. All it takes is the right training. Right? Maybe. Its not as simple as that. To make it in sales or anything else you must bring a big desire and a clear reason. Unfortunately employers often overlook these inner ingredients during the hiring process. Many sales managers still make the mistake of hiring a salesperson swayed largely by their resume, looks, dress and talk. They believe this is all that is necessary to mold them into a grand producer. Just a little training and send them off to conquer the marketplace. When minimum emphasis is placed on what's behind the nice suit and smooth talk you will shoot yourself in the foot. The interview process should be your opportunity to get a holistic picture before signing them on. How can you use the interviewing process to better know if the person sitting across from you has those inner traits necessary to make a good candidate? If great sales people are made, this does not override your responsibility as a manager to conduct a thorough and complete interview. Lacking certain basic intrinsic ingredients will guarantee that your potential sales rock star will fail and quit soon after. Turnover is time consuming and costly. Advances in communication and social media technology can give your sales team incredible access to analytics on your prospect's behavior, interests and needs. Useful information that can result in creating different sales strategies. Strategies that can even produce higher conversion rates. However, relying mostly on analytics as your assurance to close a sale or keep a customer loyal is a trap. Share This
  2. 2. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. The art of selling is simple but demands superlative care and persistence. Selling achievement is hard work while being very rewarding and profitable. Talk with any experienced, successful salesperson and they will tell you without these "inside" qualities, disappointments and failures will end your career quickly. Sales success requires a deeper motivation as one's foundation. Sales training then becomes easier and more effective because your student brings the right stuff and willingly embraces knowledge and personal growth. Start with identifying your student's desire level and go from there. How can you find out if your applicant is the one you're looking for? How can you save time during the interview process and make the right hiring decision? What are the best sales training methods? How can you retain your sales champion once you've found them? Edward C. Barnes was a poor man with no resources. He owned no special technical or selling skills. Barnes had that inner fire to become an ally to one of the greatest minds of the day, Thomas Edison. With his last bit of money, he hopped on a railcar traveling from the midwest out to New Jersey. When he stepped off the railcar he looked like a tramp. When he arrived in Edison’s office unannounced, his poor appearance made the clerks laugh, especially when he revealed that he had come to be Mr. Edison’s partner. He persisted, returning many times to Edison's office. He ignored the ridicule and finally got his interview with the boss. That famous interview got him a job as a handyman. Edison was impressed with Barnes’s determination, but that alone was insufficient to convince him to take the extraordinary step of making him a partner. Instead Barnes spent years cleaning and repairing equipment, until one day he heard Edison’s sales force laughing over the latest invention, the dictaphone. They said it would never sell. Why replace a secretary with a machine? But Barnes, the handyman, jumped up and cried, “I can sell it!” He got the job. For a month Barnes pounded the New York City pavement on a handyman’s salary. At the end of that month he had sold seven machines. When he returned to Edison, full of ideas for selling more machines all across the country, Edison made him his partner in the dictaphone business, the only partner Edison ever had. What made Barnes so important to Edison? The inventor had thousands of people working for him, but only Barnes was willing to display his faith in Edison’s work and to put that faith into action. He didn’t demand a fancy expense account and a big salary to do it either. Share This
  3. 3. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. Barnes focused favorable attention on himself by rendering service far beyond a handyman’s responsibility. As the only one of Edison’s employees to render this service, Barnes was the only one who was able to uncover such tremendous benefits for himself and Edison's company. All without the benefits of analytics or heavy sales training. Barnes brought his dream and resolve with him. He was ready and available for opportunity once it came. And it indeed came. If you are like many organizations today you are probably satiated with a ton of seemingly qualified applicants wanting that sales job you posted. Limited mostly by time, your attention span might be compromised or you might dread the interview and selection process period. Many managers I speak with see this whole event as long, drawn out and a waste of valuable time. Hence they will hire often on a gut instinct. That may initially feel right but it can lead to a negative outcome, loss of morale and turnover. We all want a sales champion on our team but often miss them when we don't ask the right questions or focus on their answers. Here are some interview questions to weed out the job "tire kickers". Your mission is to find those who are passionate about building a career with your organization. Vague, unenthusiastic responses can signal that this person may not be the right one for the position. If you come to this point it is better to then be courteous, thank the applicant and ask that they leave their information. Then move on to the next person. Remember that you want to look for answers that are sincere and enthusiastically expressed. Learn to be a skillful interviewer. It will save you a lot of grief and regrets. During the interview, take into account what experiences they have on their resume then listen for answers that are realistic and reasonable. High ambition is a good quality if it squares with reality. Except, perhaps, for a favorite son or daughter from an owner's family, I don't know of anyone who has become a company president within two weeks of being hired. Bad hiring decisions can hurt your credibility and cost your company. Use your interview time to obtain in-depth information and a clear story behind a candidate's experiences. Design and review your questions ahead of time. Like a good carpenter, measure twice, cut once. Share This
  4. 4. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. Try these. 1. Can you talk about what you have learned from your research about our company? 2. When did you first become attracted to the whole idea of selling? 3. In your previous sales jobs how would you describe your experiences? 4. Talk about why you are interested in our company? 5. Where would you like to see yourself within our company? What are some of the things you want to achieve here? 6. Talk about the things you have done to prepare for this job interview? Resume content can be a help in determining your candidate's qualifications, however I recommend they not be your do all and end gauge in hiring. Things to look for on a resume. *Education level. *Other education related to the position *Any real life professional experience. *Non-traditional experiences. *Related or non related skills. *Large gaps in employment. *Promotions, career changes and reasons for leaving a job *Any work samples they can provide if relevant. *Spelling, grammatical errors. *Any other skills or talents Share This
  5. 5. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. After the interview process you may still have to make a hard choice from among a well qualified list of candidates. There's a couple of things you can do at this point to help you determine the right hire. Go over your notes, re- examine the applications and reach out to HR or a superior for opinions and ideas. Does the applicant have the desire, attitude, resolve and the qualifications more closely than the others? Sticking to these criteria will also protect you, in the unlikely but possible event, of litigation by a disgruntled non-hired individual. Be thorough in checking references. Once you have done all this homework and are sure you have the right person, offer the job. A good practice includes sending thank you letters to all the applicants you didn't select. Keep their information on file. Stay on good term with everyone. Basic Training. As sales trainer you should take the time to convey to your new hire your organization's mission and culture. Knowing what your organization stands for will motivate and instill faith in the person selling your products and services. A person who believes in your product will invariably go the extra mile. The sales personality is naturally an independent one. They value being in control and being free to operate without someone looking over their shoulder all the time. You can encourage them by promoting support from the organization while encouraging them to treat their activities as their own business. There is new research on a concept used with sales and non sales employees called “job crafting”. Job crafting can offer your salesforce the freedom to craft motive, strength and passion into everyday work. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review this approach is a powerful tool that can reenergize one's job. It also presents an opportunity for both employee and supervisor to develop a collaboration based on mutual trust and respect. Good for everyone. Prepare your new student for the real world. We are all human and can become demoralized and upset when we don't close that one sale or we lose that great customer. Sometimes these outcomes can't be controlled. Many times they can be prevented by re-enforcing our power to care and serve. I have many times gone into a kind of dark night of doubt when all my efforts to win a client didn't happen. I had to learn to resist the tendency to lick my wounds and fall into despondency. We all know stories of accomplished salespersons who have sunk into the failure ditch because they let the disappointments get to them. Sadly, they ceased paying attention to the very reason they got into sales in the first place. Share This
  6. 6. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. This scenario can be prevented by being a skillful trainer and real ally to your student. There is a great new book called "Shine at Work" authored by lecturer and teacher Diane Ingram. I recommend every HR, trainer and manager make this book required reading for all employees. They will relate quickly to Diane's ideas and deliver work passionately. For more information contact me personally at: Be a motivator. Boost motivation by recognition, rewards, cooperation and building trust with your salesperson. This will create a culture of interest, performance and loyalty. Your engaged salespeople will want to do more and care more. Managers also become enthusiastic about building real sales teams, not just manage bodies. Your customers will take notice and that's great for customer loyalty. Tickets to events and experiences like travel, flying lessons, cooking classes, you name it make excellent reward ideas. Example: Software developer, WorldPerfect Corporation president Alan Ashton decided to send all his sales winners and their families on an all expense trip to Hawaii went they doubled their sales volume. That raised a ton of excitement and unity. Your engagement programs should be doing what they are supposed to do. Engage, motivate and inspire your sale force to achievement and success. A well mapped out incentive initiative will serve you well. What your sales students need to be taught. The values and benefits of investing time and attention with prospects and customers is a key formula to winning a buyers confidence. Its the sign of a pro to know what a prospect really needs. Not always what they think they need. Example of this can be in working with a prospect who feels he needs to cut back to save money when by making an investment in your offer they will cut costs and boost production. Perfect preparation makes for a great presentation, however it is often assumed that a fantastic sales presentation will always "lock up the deal." Not really. Better to be an expert in your product, present well, be a skillful questioner and help your prospect discover the best reasons to buy. This will bring value to the seller and to your company in the eyes of the buyer. Learn the fine balance of educating and selling your prospect. Find out the why and under what conditions the prospect will buy from you. Get them to say yes and then share some of your material. When they sign, assure them they've made a good decision and you will be there to serve them. Share This
  7. 7. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. When your prospect is vague about what they need or want, politely ask for clarity. Don't assume you have psychic powers. You will waste a lot of time and lose opportunities if you rely on your crystal ball. There is no such thing as being able to sell anything to anybody. That kind of arrogance will short circuit your career. Avoid pressure tactics. What worked for the snake oil salesman doesn't work today. Back in the day such peddlers were marginal figures who operated at the fringes of established society, outwitting farmers and townspeople. You might have read about the fictitious clock peddler, Sam Slick, who used flattery and false praise to place a timepiece in every home he visited. Buyers today are infinitely more informed than those old days. They have a plethora of choices and access to information via the internet and other sources. A prospect is a also human being and must go through a period of self-discovery before making a buying decision. Let your questions lead them to a discovery they can own. Besides, anyone with a healthy self esteem will be turned off from buying from you if you insist on telling them what they should buy. Know when its time to step away from investing time and material with someone who is not ready to buy. Teach your student where they should set the boundaries to disengage the prospect. Sometimes no means no. If you graciously step back and get them to agree to receive updates about your company, no doesn't have to mean no forever. Something I've experience myself. The same prospect who rejected my offer 2 years before became a great customer because I found a reasonable way to stay in touch. Don't become a free consultant in the hope this will make your prospect like you more and buy from you. There is power and posture in asking your prospect to be clear if the additional education and information you will provide them is what they need to buy. You will be amazed at the results. Teach your sales student to know when to shut their trap. How many times have I had a prospect ready to buy yet I kept talking until they changed their mind and said no. Learn how to relax, converse and shut your mouth so you can listen to the buyer and have a normal conversation. Don't lose your cool or blame the buyer if they aren't buying according to your timetable. Learn how to assure your buyer and work around apparent detours to the finish line. Refine and be in charge of your emotions so you don't burn your bridges. There's always tomorrow. Share This
  8. 8. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. Be upfront and come clean with your prospect if during the closing or selling process there is a problem. You will gain their respect and trust. Create an opportunity for buyer and seller to come together to problem solve. Create a team approach to a challenging situation. Promote personal development and self improvement. Encourage your students to explore ways they can improve their craft. Embarking on this path positively impacts every other area of one's life. Help your student: Improve their response to adversity, challenges and temporary defeat. A positive mental attitude will embrace constructive feedback as an opportunity to improve. Be more results focused by not being afraid to use the Babe Ruth approach. The Babe knew his craft well but was not afraid to swing and miss often. Cheer them when they put forth a best effort and cheer them when they score. “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” ~ Babe Ruth Emphasis working hard with dedication. Great achievers have a great work ethic. Don't focus only on the money you want to make but on creating, nurturing and maintaining positive relationships. The money will come. Become a student of history, the history of sales leaders. Study what made them the best in their field. Napoleon Hill Born in 1883, in a one room cabin on the very poor side of Virginia. He started as a mountain reporter at age 13 and went on to become a student of Andrew Carnegie and advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt. He achieved huge sales success and authored the Science of Personal Achievement and his classic work, Think and Grow Rich. His life and books continue to inspire millions around the world. John H. Patterson The founder and CEO of the National Cash Register Co. He became the father of modern sales training. He was among the first entrepreneurs to organize sales training programs and retreats. Share This
  9. 9. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. David Ogilvy The legendary advertising executive who created iconic campaigns for Hathaway, Dove, Schweppes, and Rolls-Royce began his career in sales, moving cooking stoves door to door. He was so successful the company he worked for asked him to write an instruction manual that it then distributed to other members of its sales force. Mary Kay Ash Became a super successful salesperson. Ash quit her job in 1963 and created a business plan for a beauty and cosmetics company that relied on women to sell merchandise to their friends and acquaintances through direct sales (otherwise known as multi-level marketing). Dale Carnegie The son of a hardscrabble Missouri farmer, Carnegie began his career selling products and correspondence courses to ranchers. He eventually landed in New York City, where he began to offer a series of public speaking classes that were frequented by many budding salespeople. His landmark book How to Win Friends and Influence People instructs readers to become more effective communicators who focus on fostering healthy team dynamics. Carnegie was also ahead of his time in exhorting his followers to pursue work-life balance. Joe Girard This Detroit native made a name for himself as the greatest car salesman of the post-war era. As a young boy, he sold subscriptions to the Detroit Free Press door-to-door and learned that sales operated according to a law of averages all its own. The more doorbells he rang, the more money he made. He carried that philosophy forward when he graduated to selling big-ticket items. During a 15-year period that began in 1963, he sold more than 13,000 Chevrolets at a local dealership—at one point selling 18 cars in a single workday. Erica Feidner Despite a long sales cycle and little volume driven by repeat purchases, this legendary piano saleswoman sold more than $40 million in Steinways before retiring a few years ago. Ron Popeil The Ronco founder pioneered the process of selling consumer appliances and other products by infomercial. His exuberance created a market for The Solid Flavor Injector, Mr. Microphone, and the Showtime Rotisserie. Share This
  10. 10. Taico® :: 67 Patterson Village Ct., Bldg F :: Patterson, NY 12563 :: 845-228-GIFT (4438) :: fax: 845-228-5136 :: © 2012 Taico® Incentive Services Inc. Larry Ellison The king of aggressive corporate technology sales. The database company he founded has for years been criticized for offering over-the-top discounts to win new business, followed unexpected fees larded on to cover the costs of additional services. Ellison himself is credited (or blamed) for creating a culture of winning new business at any cost. He is famous for calling sales managers late at night and on weekends to ask pointed questions about stalled deals or lost accounts. Zig Ziglar One of the leading motivational speakers in recent years, Ziglar has helped shape the modern vocabulary of sales as much as any other sales expert. In particular, he encourages salespeople to commit to a lifetime of learning and training; to be extremely shrewd when it comes to setting (and thereby exceeding) goals and quotas; and to maintain a heightened level of motivation by constantly visualizing success. Napoleon Barragan The founder of 1-800-Mattress was a genius at using technology to open new sales channels for his Simmons and Sealys. He was one of the first and most successful adopters of the 1-800 number, correctly predicting that consumers would be perfectly willing to have mattresses delivered to their homes sight unseen. Soon after the advent of e-commerce, he registered the domain name, and derived significant online sales at a time when few retailers were thinking about the Web. Follow these suggestions. Study the lives of the sales greats. Apply what you've learned. Be a great teacher and go out there and create some sales champions. Share This