GPI 321 – Always hire great sales candidates regardless of your budget – you can terminate the slackers later.

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Always hire a great sales representative when you find him or her because finding one is difficult. It is hard to find good effective likeable sales personnel who are a good fit for your firm and specifically your buyers. If you locate the right guy, do not hesitate to hire him because the best ones are bringing in sales and earning lucrative salaries elsewhere.

Great sales staff are more important than 90% of all company hires you will decide.  Your firm must have an adequate sales staff in order to continue adequate ongoing production. You cannot take risks with these openings so it is advisable to hire more than you believe you will need to fulfill your sales budget. You will not hire too many. The good ones will stand out and you will ask yourself why you waited.

Would you prefer too many sales orders or not enough?  A great question that answers this personnel issue is to imagine the atmosphere at work when your overstaffed sales department brings too many orders versus the day your company is forced to lay off a third of the staff because your understaffed sales department came up short on new customer orders.  It should be evident.

You probably will choose wrong 50% of the time. You do your best. You interview candidates, ask as many relevant questions as you can think of and you do your best. They sound good, look attractive and presentable for your firm and make you think they will be the perfect fit. It initially seems this way until you get them in front of customers of expect them to come to work and things sometimes sour.

Your great feeling passes when reality hits you.  The job you described is not what the candidate thought. Your new hire does not know nearly as much as you thought you heard while talking in the first interview. The guy doesn’t seem as likeable after a few months, does not seem to like customers, does not return calls as fast you would like and now seems to turn off customers within a few statements and blunt emails.  What happened to the great candidate? You will win and pick a good candidate half of the time.  This happens to be one in that other half.  Keep hiring because they do not all work out.

You need to replace those leaving. Yes, you must hire more people than you need in order to end up with the number that you will need to do the job and fulfill the sales budget projections. When you find a great candidate, hire him because you have a 50% chance he will work out. Good ones are indeed rare so tell yourself you are going to always be looking for sales candidates.  Do not think you are covered.

Your great incentive program will force 50% to leave.  If you structure your commissions program correctly and the new hire does not make the potential money offered, he or she will leave voluntarily within six months. He will not be able to afford the decreasing low salary when he earns few if any commissions.  This self-eliminating process will not work if your people are given a never-ending lucrative salary. Your better approach is to start them on a straight salary that diminishes over a year while they are earning commissions which should grow larger each month (i.e. three full months of salary, then 10% less each month for six months, then low straight salary plus commissions).

Never stop looking for great candidates. The less effective sales personnel will eventually leave your firm voluntarily and you will replace them. This turnover will happen, so assume half of your people will not make the cut. They will probably not earn the potential salary level discussed during the interview.

Hire more than you think you need because you are right half of the time. You are wrong half of the time.

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