There is an old story that offers one explanation as to why the rich keep getting richer, and the poor stay poor. The story teaches, “To the ones who accept much responsibility and gain success through that responsibility, to them more responsibility and success will be given.”

When you prove that you can build something successful in times of great challenge, you will attract more success in many ways.

Assume for a moment that a trusted, wealthy friend asked you — and you agreed — to take care of her prized plant while she takes a six-month vacation. She gives you specific instructions on the daily care of the plant, and she promises you that at the end of the six months she would pay you $50,000 if the plant is still alive and thriving. She explains that this plant produces a valuable oil her company uses in its pharmaceutical formula, which saves millions of lives every year. It is the last living plant of its kind.

What would be your disciplined approach to taking care of the plant?

Would you follow the instructions very carefully, or would you assume there had to be an easier way? Would you consider taking unproven shortcuts? Would you approach this agreed-upon commitment casually, thinking the plant would be just fine if you missed a day or two of care? Would you rearrange your schedule in order to honor your commitment and follow the instructions completely?

What if you ran out of fertilizer? Would you take the time to find the exact same replacement, or would you lower your standards thinking, “Well, all fertilizers are the same. What damage could it cause?”

What do you want your friend’s reaction to be when she returns from her trip and sees her prized plant?

Are you thinking of your business as a prized plant that needs daily care? Are you working daily  on building a team of people who will help you keep your business thriving as an entity that will continue to support you and your family for many years to come?

As you look at the current situation of building an agency and a team that will allow you to have a thriving and growing business, have you found yourself in a huge commitment like the one described above? Do you feel you are at a point where the plant is beginning to wither and die, because your efforts to care for the plant are just not working as they have in the past?

You probably are working longer hours. The solutions of the past are not working any longer. The landscape of the market and the culture of the workforce have changed dramatically.

The Number One challenge with building a team is finding enough strong candidates. The number of people on your team is dwindling; you are working longer hours, sales are down, and the existing team is getting stressed handling the load.

You are simply exhausted by looking at hundreds of resumes and dozens of personality profiles. So, you lower your standards and begin to question the validity of the personality profile you are using.

You begin to ignore the information or stop using the profile.

Your standards become:

a. “They are available and they want the job.”
b. “They are licensed.”
c. “They are nice and sound good on the phone.”
d. “You just need a body who will show up.”

You hire people and put them on 90-day probationary period, which will cost you $2,000 each in monthly salary. You skip the steps in the selection process, because you are afraid of finding some reason not to hire the candidate.

The impact of this solution is that you quickly learn that you made a hiring mistake, but you are hopeful things will get better. You begin to tolerate arriving to work late, missing too many days of work, poor team morale, lower sales, and many other things that you normally would not allow. Working longer hours, higher lapse/can ratios, and missing travel and other bonuses becomes the norm.

You are spending so much time trying to coach weak team members that you do not have time to coach in order to proactively look for stronger team members. You have stepped into the doom-loop zone – spending all your energy attempting to whip a plow horse into being a race horse.

Your destiny is failure.

There is a solution.

First, it is not an easy solution. Easy doesn’t pay much. Instead of going in the opposite direction of lowering your standards, it is necessary to buckle down and start working smarter and harder.

The solution is to learn and use a comprehensive recruiting system. The system follows these guidelines:

  1. Find more quality candidates.
    a. For online Sourcing – Use Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or any top online tool where you can write your own job description. Create a job description that is challenging and compelling and focuses on your agency aspirant opportunity.
    b. Create a proactive search process. Just as you train selling team members to chase new auto, start chasing better candidates who do not have a resume online. Use LinkedIn, email current customers, and develop a center of influence network who will send you candidates.
  2. Follow all the steps in a best-practice recruiting process.
  3. Stop ignoring important information, thinking things will be different, just because you are a great coach.
  4. Take advantage of using your recruiting / coaching calls with a recruiting expert.

You have the capacity to recruit and coach the best. It is your business, your livelihood, your future, and your family’s future that is on the line. Treat it with the same respect and diligence that you would give a valuable plant that needs tender care that can save the lives of many people.


To learn more about finding better candidates and/or how to use the Recruit the Best™ Team system, schedule a call with recruiting expert Steve Suggs by using his calendar app at Steve has written a free report on how to use LinkedIn to find more candidates. The report includes job descriptions and strategies for attracting top candidates.

Steve Suggs is EVP of Sales Manage Solutions in East Tennessee. He is co-author of the popular book: “Can They Sell?” and speaks and trains all over the country. Steve can usually be found on the phone helping clients build (or re-build) dynamic sales teams. One of the nation’s top sales recruiting experts, he brings a crisp and pragmatic focus to the challenges of finding good salespeople in a hot economy. His clients include many companies which have decreased sales turnover and dramatically increased sales production under his coaching. About 20 years ago, after a successful sales leadership role in financial services, Steve came to Sales Manage Solutions, where he is now a business partner with Lance Cooper, the founder.

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