Likeable people are rare. They normally attract those around them because they come across warm and caring and interested. They are generally good listeners and more importantly make visitors calm, relaxed and leave them smiling. These people are difficult to find and when you do come across this breed, hire them.
If they show up as potential sales personnel and meet your criteria, they should be put in front of your customers. These personality types are valuable so when they walk in the door and you sense their capabilities, do not waste their talents. Put this extroverted employee in sales under the guidance of someone who will take the time to train him. You need people who customers like and want to call. You want people who customers will rely upon and trust and enjoy working with in your business. These extroverted types are hard to find so when you discover them, do not let them go.
This person may not have a degree or the 15 years’ experience the next guy has. The problem is that your customers may not like who you like and do not necessarily care about the degree. After the first successful visit, the customer cares less about credentials; he knows who he wants to talk to and the person he likes might not be the one you thought you wanted. This choice generally has nothing to do with formal education; it has to do with likeability. Your person either has it or he does not. You must make the match between your sales person and the customer and when your choice is determined to be wrong, you better correct it with someone who the customer likes. You must look for these unique people constantly and when you find them, hire them regardless of the need. Put them in front of your customers and the ultimate sales hike will justify your hiring decision.
Questions to consider when filling sales positions:
- Who is liked? Which of your employees is well liked by customers and should be considered for working in sales? If you do not know, start asking employees because they will generally have a consensus among them as to who they think is good with customers. If you do not know, it is because you have not paid enough attention. Your employees know.
- Who might be a good supervisor? If the employee who is well liked by his peers, would he or she be a good supervisory candidate (even if they need some training)?
- Can you identify an employee liked by both customers and vendors? If you like an employee a lot and notice they get along well with strangers or visitors to your company and they seem well liked also other employees, have you considered offering this current employee a sales position? Have you spoken to them about this possibility? Have you said to them if it does not work out, they can return to their old job? You want good employees but you do not want to put them in a threatening position if the move was your decision. Comfort them; you want a great sales person and not a disgruntled employee. Great employees can do a lot more for the company selling than almost anything else considered.
- What differentiates these people from the rest of the candidates? What do these rare likeable employees do or how do they act differently than all of the other employees? How well do they listen and what differentiates them from the next employee?
- Which employee do the others admire? Which employee has or displays the most innovative ideas that others seem to like, admire or buy into?
- Successful sales-personnel recognize their kind. Have the successful help identify and hire the successful. Who hires new sales personnel? Do you have your most successful sales people help to interview? If you do not, why not? These people like others who are just as motivated so why not allow them to help interview potential candidates?
- Motivate your existing employee to help make the new one successful — pay him/her handsomely. If you have a successful candidate interview a new sales candidate, tell your existing employee that if the new one is hired, he will be in charge of helping to train the new one, plus, he will also receive a percentage of all new sales the new person brings into the company (for at least six months). This may help motivate the existing employee to help the new one, train him, push him to contact new companies and help to speed the training process along faster than normal. This may also provide good incentive to the existing employee to do a good job of sales training knowing his efforts will financially payoff.
- Pay employees for sales leads – make it worth their efforts. Pay your employees regardless of department small incentives for sales leads given or forwarded to the sales department that ultimately turn into sales orders. These payments do not have to be large dollar amounts but formalize the procedure concerning; 1). Writing all contact information, 2). Getting a department acknowledgment signed off, 3). A formal acknowledgment when the first sale comes in and, 4). A written notice of the dollar amount to be awarded and paid through the payroll department.
- Make it easy to make money for anyone to turn in sales leads. Make it easy for anyone in your organization to make a little money just by thinking about and following up on sales leads every day. Would you not appreciate every employee in your company feeding sales ideas and potential leads into your sales department every day? If your sales manager says this will not work because it generates too many leads, you know who you most likely need to replace.