- How much of your business came from referrals?
- Who were your best sources of referrals?
- What are you doing to further cultivate those relationships?
- How can you provide more value for those individuals?
Hire the right salespeople
Sales is easy to understand and hard to do. Most people are not going to be successful in sales. As a result, if you are serious about building a great sales team you have to be serious about recruiting great sales talent. Nothing will make a bigger difference for your sales organization than hiring the right people.
Ron Clark is Managing Director - Sales for BNY Mellon Wealth Management in the Mid-Atlantic. He is a successful, veteran sales executive who will tell you that his number one priority is to hire the right people. Here are some of the characteristics for which he looks:
- Integrity, the desire to achieve, and a willingness to be coachable (characteristics that you can't train).
- People who have been demonstrably successful at what they've done in the past and can tell you the numbers to back up their success stories.
- People who have been committed to being successful at whatever they have done.
- People who are good at building new relationships as demonstrated in part by their community service.
- Industry experience.
While Ron has the final decision on any candidate, four different people from the organization interview any candidate and all of them typically must agree on a candidate before he or she is hired.
In addition, every serious candidate for a sales position must take an on-line sales assessment tool. As Ron says, "The assessment tools are effective at helping us to circle back and ask more questions about candidates. It also gives us a format to organize our conversations and our notes. We like to like people, and the test helps us to be thorough and objective."
Questions to Consider
- What are your criteria for a strong sales candidate?
- How many candidates have you interviewed recently?
- How strong is your interview process for hiring salespeople?
- Have you incorporated a proven sales assessment tool into your hiring process?
Improving sales results takes both good strategy and a lot of hard work. By developing a target list and being more intentional about developing referral sources, you are doing the hard work that every great salesperson is willing to do to be successful. In turn, by focusing on hiring the right salespeople to begin with, you are being strategic and building a great team that can generate strong results for years to come.
Eric Herrenkohl is Founder and President of Herrenkohl Consulting (www.herrenkohlconsulting.com), a management consulting firm focused on creating organizations that drive growth and profits. His work has been published or cited in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Inc.com, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, and MSNBC.com. Eric is also the author of Performance Principles, a monthly e-letter that reaches thousands of subscribers across North America and is re-printed in a number of industry and company newsletters.