Where do you find people who can sell what you sell at amazing levels and in a way that people will buy again and again?
The number one frustration we hear from recruiting professionals is:
“Where do I find enough good people — people who can sell?”
Thousands of young sales leaders, managers, insurance agents, and entrepreneurs wake up each morning looking for people to add to their sales teams. It’s important for them to find people who can prospect, sell, and serve customers. They want their salespeople to find selling opportunities, make sales, and create repeat customers; because they want to grow their profits and brand reputation. Instead of low sales and high turnover, they want to build a high-retention sales force with a tradition of outstanding performance. A culture better than normal industry results.
With today’s competitive and economic realities, to recruit the best salespeople we must overcome two major problems in order of priority.
- Find Enough of the Right Kind of Candidates.
- Make the Right Selections and Hire the Best.
Proactive vs Reactive Recruiting
Do you know what the hardest thing to do is within the typical sales process? Prospecting! Moving toward people you don’t know. That’s why some companies spend a certain amount of dollars on marketing and advertising to produce interested prospects. Some even set appointments for their reps.
Prospecting and setting appointments to meet with new people is the hardest work activity to do within professional selling. You’re moving toward unknown people, and you don’t know who they are or how they are going to react. In questionnaires or interviews with salespeople, I’ve often heard sales reps blame marketing or a lack of advertising on their own poor sales. They want the company to get people coming toward them – where they have a retail position. They want to take the hardest part out of the sales process and would prefer to just show up and present to people that already want their products or services.
The same goes for recruiting. Good prospecting requires a recruiter to move toward people with whom no previous relationship or needs has been established — to go out into the community to find candidates. In “retail recruiting,” reps wait for new prospects to walk in the door, visit a website, and respond to advertisements. In other words, those responsible for recruiting wait for candidates to send resumes into their offices. They wait until prospects show up. This is easier but less effective and less targeted on great rep candidates who are usually already working.
Think of a fisherman that sits in a boat and doesn’t move around a lake. The fisherman simply throws out bait onto the nearby waters and hopes that right sized fish are in the area and will be attracted to the boat ’s position and the bait and his hook. No strategy other than get the fish to come to him.
But what if there’s a better way? What if we go to the part of the lake where we know the big fish are. What if we go to them? So, here’s what I advise and it always works.
What I’m going to advise you to do, while harder than waiting for candidates to come to you, will work and will produce great salespeople for your company …
Prospecting for Candidates
Great recruiters, like great salespeople, prospect. They move toward lead sources and find the places where the best prospects work and hang out. They put a motor on their boat and set out to search.
They discover and cultivate the best people at centers of influence to help them. They network. They go where they will find the highest quality leads and referrals. They move into the world and search for new candidates. Like a prospector looking for gold, they seek out areas most likely to produce results for them. They do not wait for good candidates to come to them. They go into the world looking and they take a great story with them.
Have you ever panned for gold yourself or watched an experienced miner pan for gold? I saw someone do this in the mountains of Townsend Tennessee. With focused work, I watched the swishing of the pan and the water causing the rocks to shift and the heavier gold to settle in the pan. I didn’t see him find any gold that day, but he did show me a vial of previous finds. He didn’t wait for the stream to send him gold.
Instead, he prospected.
It’s the same for recruiters. Over the long haul, consistent searching in the right places provides the best results. The search for good candidates never ends. It may slow down, but it should never end.
With common interview-to-selection ratios of 6:1, it’s important to keep the top of your recruitment funnel full of potential recruits. So, you should go out into the marketplace, look for candidates, and build recruitment/prospect files.
Find Enough of the Right Kind of Candidates
To do this you should use multiple channels — some are better than others. Some require less time than others. Some are more appropriate for how social a person you may be. Make sure you work the places and develop the influential sources that produce enough high quality candidates. The channels most often used are:
- Internet: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Indeed (reverse searches – reaching out to employed sales reps)
- People and businesses who serve you
- Seminars and recruitment shows
- Employees and existing/new reps
- Religious organizations and nonprofits
- Educational institutions
- Area sales training firms
- Competitors’ existing reps
- Chambers of Commerce – the diplomats, reps, and the salespeople who come to chamber coffees and after-hour events
- Business groups like Rotary and business networking groups like Business Networking International
Just like mining for gold or prospecting for sales, some sources produce better quality candidates than others. Be sure you use multiple sources for the greatest return. Don’t put too much energy into mostly passive retail or clerking methods dependent solely on internet job boards and different types of advertising. Those have some value as backups, but they are limited. To find the best reps, you will get out in the community to look for candidates and develop your network of referral sources. Often, your best reps and community centers of influence are good starting points.
A Proven Path to Your Success – A Personal Network
Imagine this picture. Each day you struggle to find quality candidates. You place ads in your local newspaper and check the Internet boards. You get many responses. However, many of these come from people who cannot find a job anywhere else. You sift through dozens of resumes to find only a few candidates worth screening by phone. After screening, some make it to your office for an interview. The resumes may look better than they do! Even so, you decide to move ahead with the best candidates of the lot, but you know they don’t have the high quality characteristics you seek. You begin to lower your standards, and blame your inability to recruit high-quality people on being in a difficult career field. Of the three people you recruit, only one seems to start off well.
Now picture this alternative. You spend the next several weeks focused on developing relationships with many people you know and respect. You gain their support in helping you find high-quality people. The number of people you interview drops by 70%. However, the number of high-quality people you see goes up by 80%. You spend most of your time nurturing and developing your network. As a result, you primarily spend screening and interviewing time with high-quality candidates. Of the resulting three people you recruit, all three achieve a fast start and go on to become high-producing reps. Company morale also blossoms. Interested people help you find quality candidates
A personal network opens up a proven path to successful recruiting. It can provide enough high-quality candidates to keep your prospecting funnel full of new hire potential. Great recruiting begins with getting the names of quality candidates. Quality is more important than quantity. To do this well, it is important to keep developing your network of individuals who look for and refer high-quality candidates.
Remember, people like to help, especially if you ask them to. This is especially true if they already like you and your business. It gives them a great feeling to point other good people your way.
Studies show that certain sources provide the best candidates for top-producing sales reps. Recruits from these sources produce high-quality candidates who get off to a fast start, are highly motivated, and remain productively employed. Lesser prospecting sources may produce struggling recruits that have lower motivation and hurt your retention rate.
Here’s a key question:
Start by asking: “Who are the “interested people” who can help me find others? — Who are the people who like my business and what we do?”
We want you to find the solutions for building a winning sourcing effort. To do that, let’s start with two simple steps.
How to Build An Amazing Network That Helps You
First, find and get to know great referral sources. They are the people who work in occupations that put them in front of possible candidates, and they can understand the difficulty and rewards of your business.
If a trusted friend gives you a treasure map pointing to a diamond mine, and you know for certain you will find diamonds if you follow the directions, what will you do?
You now have in your possession a map to a diamond mine with an endless supply of recruiting diamonds. This roadmap has been compiled from personal experience, industry experts, and studies of very successful people and companies. If you act upon this information, follow the directions for the next 90 days, and then continue to take care of and nurture your network, you will experience a minimum of 50% increase in your income over the next two years.
Follow a 90-Day Start-up Process
Build out your personal sourcing network. This is the second step to create amazing sourcing in your recruiting efforts.
Build a Network Grid
Build a Contact Database (Connect with each person on LinkedIn and Facebook).
Commit to two appointments (coffee, lunch, or phone call) weekly with the people within your personal network of “interested people.” (Set a goal to eventually have 25 referral sources. If you have two appointments weekly, that will mean you will meet with each person once per quarter.)
Over the years, I’ve seen great sales organizations settle for what comes at them. They wait and respond to static websites and ad placements only. They wait on new candidates instead of going out into the community with a great story about their company and its opportunity. I’ve seen amazing positions go unfilled or the sales leaders settle for less than the best.
But not you. You’re going to do what’s hard. You’re going to go to the great salespeople already working and find the ones that want a better opportunity and a better sales culture.
And, you’re going to build an amazing sales team of goal-achieving people.