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Recruiting for Riches: How to Build Your Winning Sales Team

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Do you struggle to find top-producing people? Do you make bad hires that either quit or have to be de-hired? Are you frustrated by hiring people that are not “as advertised?”

Here are six of the top action items an effective and efficient recruiter does to execute a rewarding recruitment strategy. Ready, here we go:

No. 1: Commit adequate time and resources

Now is not the time to be thrifty. Allocate uninterrupted time to do the phone and in-person interviews. Be thorough, but don’t let the process drag on and don’t string candidates along, or you’ll lose top tier. Marketing effectively for top recruits or using an outside recruiter can be expensive, but is worth the investment if it means expediting the process and yielding a top performer. Don’t cut corners, pinch pennies, and shave minutes. You are only cheating your customers, co-workers, company and yourself. You either invest adequately upfront or you squander your investment later.

No. 2: Define the job and compensation program

Determine exactly what you expect or need from the position and hire accordingly. The job description should outline specific duties, responsibilities, and expectations. The compensation program should be crafted to allow for initial training, ramp-up period, and shift to a standard compensation program after six months. Sales is performance-driven, and thus the compensation should incentivize and reward performance, especially incrementally, when targets for revenue, profit, closing ratio, etc. are met. Conversely, there should be penalties for non-performance or underperformance.

No. 3: Develop a profile of your ideal candidate

Look for a candidate that possesses the core competencies of top performers, has a high ego-drive and ego-strength with an equally high level of empathy. The candidate must be money motivated or motivated by things money can buy, and be a person of integrity and character. The candidate must exude confidence, conviction and a belief in their story, while being customer care oriented. Lastly, look for someone with a high degree of talent and a great attitude who has pride, passion and enthusiasm for taking initiative, working and making sales.

No. 4: Work your network

Do not be so quick to run a want ad. You, your spouse, neighbors, friends, and coworkers all know people who could be a good fit. These same people also encounter salespeople and deal with them. They might meet someone who could be a good fit, or know someone who is. Additionally, if these same people work their personal and professional networks and tell everyone they know that you’re looking to hire, don’t be surprised when your request is fulfilled. Every actor in Hollywood might be within six degrees of separation from actor Kevin Bacon, but it’s more likely that you are six degrees from a great salesperson.

No. 5: Write emotionally appealing recruitment marketing materials that include filters

Start with a thought-provoking headline such as “Do You Have This Much Opportunity?” List the benefits the job offers before your requirements for the position. Tell the readers what’s in it for them. Set the bar high by stating that they must have experience earning a similar amount of income versus requiring industry experience. Do not request résumés, as you will limit some top-producers who don’t have one, and can write their ticket anywhere in a heartbeat. Place filters to focus your search as well as to speed response. Require candidates to call to be screened and schedule a confidential phone interview to save them time and determine those most qualified.

No. 6: Think outside the box

Do not limit your recruiting efforts to simply a classified ad or online jobsite. Instead, leverage several other high-yield avenues such as radio, television, schools, job fairs, signage (truck, building, billboard, area locations, bulletin boards, etc.), direct mail, inserts, circulars, church bulletins, fraternity/sorority magazines, professional recruiters, etc.

With this information you will more readily distinguish between those candidates who are the seeds, the weeds, and the ghosts that turn into the “Phantom Menace” — and you’ll profit greatly as a result.

When recruiting a sales team, realize the impact it can have, positively or negatively, on top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability as well as the time and opportunity costs. Keeping this in mind will help guide your commitment to the process and making the right decisions.