So, if you don't go across the street and raid your rival because of non-compete clauses, or maybe you don't have the Fort Knox war chest to bring over competing reps right now See The Pros And cons OF Raiding And Pillaging, 9/23/02, what can you do to build a stellar sales force?
You build from scratch - or add to the reps you have. But let's say you must add three or four reps over the next 90 days; or maybe you're taking over an existing but under-performing sales force, and you need to clean house.What do you do? Here are five steps to build that Super Bowl of sales forces:
1) RECRUITING: Where do you find these diamonds in the rough? Head to the mall/strip centers. Look at the cosmetic counters and in jewelry stores. Remember, they sell emotion and touch/feel, much as we do in Radio sales. Be on the lookout at sporting events for vendor sellers. Food servers and bank tellers are accustomed to dealing with angry customers and can handle rejection.You must go after these people - hardly anyone wakes up and says, "I want to sell Radio today."
2) REFERRALS: It's time to set up a bounty for superstars. Some market managers spiff their current reps $200 for anybody who refers a good "hire." Some even give $1,000 - $500 after six months and another $500 after one year - to the referring party,which could be anybody in or outside the market. If the lead comes from inside the sales department, this encourages the referring rep to work with the new hire to ensure the person's success on the team.
3) WALK-INS: Ongoing commercials should bring you some qualified leads. If you do other forms of advertising to attract sales reps, you must make sure you are hiring the head and the heart, since everyone looks good on a resume'. Remember, these people are coming to you and you must ask the right questions to make sure they're serious about Radio sales as a career.One mandatory question is: "What do you know about our company?" If they know nothing or very little, send them away immediately! If they don't do their research for themselves before the interview, what makes you think they will do it for you, once they are on your payroll?
4) PERFORMANCE: Now that you have narrowed your list, have the applicant do a presentation to the sales force during a sales meeting or other function.You want to see how they perform in front of people. Can they take questions? Are they good communicators? Can they handle pressure, and will they prepare? If the existing sales team is impressed, they will help the new hire become a successful team member.
5) ACID TEST: Finish the interview with this story: A farmer was looking for farm hands and decided to post a job opening in the city.Three boys (or girls) interviewed.(The third one is your applicant).The first person came in and, after an extensive interview, was asked the following question: "Here is a small pebble - how long could you work with this pebble in your shoe?" First person says, "I can work four hours with that pebble in my shoe." The second person,same question, responds, "I can work six hours with that pebble in my shoe." Now, pose the question to your applicant. The correct answer is: "I wouldn't work a minute with that pebble in my shoe. I would immediately take it out and start working." I have posed that question to many candidates. Of the ones who gave the right answer, 95% turned out to be superstars! Hire them right away if they answer correctly.You need street-smart people, not accountants.