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Hello, I am Steve Suggs, sales recruiting expert and author of the book, Can They Sell. Welcome to my sales recruitment video blog. 5 minutes of learning to hire the best salespeople.

What do Mozart, Bill Gates and the Beatles all have in common?

They have work ethic.

These 3 are the Olympians of work ethic. They all became masters of their craft. In the book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about these three in “The 10,000 Hour Rule.” His study shows, “Noone has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time [than 10,000 hours]. It seems it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.” He goes on to say, “The amateurs never practice more than about three hours a week over the course of their childhood and by the age of 20 they had totaled 2000 hours of practice. The professionals, on the other hand, steadily increased their practice time every year, until by the age of 20, they reached 10,000 hours.”  He adds, “And what’s more,

the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.”

Mozart produced his greatest work after composing for more than 20 years. The Beatles started playing together 7 years prior to landing in America, and they had performed live over 1200 times. By the end of his high school year, Bill Gates had the opportunity to amass hours and hours of computer programming. So what do Mozart, Bill Gates and The Beatles have in common? They all became an overnight success in only 10,000 hours.

When recruiting salespeople, we are not necessarily looking for those salespeople who have spent 10,000 hours mastering the craft of sales, but…

we are looking for those individuals who have the work ethic to invest 10,000 hours in order to master the art and science of sales.

Work ethic is a character trait that is developed during our childhood. Here’s how the process worked on the farm where I grew up.

It’s summertime and time to plant the crops that will provide our food for the winter. My mom gathers all five children together and gives each one of us a job to do. She said, “Steve, your job is to take the power Rototiller and plow up this half acre of ground. You should be able to get this finished in about 6 hours. She gave me the goal, and she gave me the deadline.

After about an hour in the 90° heat plowing up the hard ground with a machine that wasn’t quite big enough for the job I had to do, I began to sweat. I wanted to quit. I knew there had to be an easier, better way. I go to my mom and begin to complain and tell her all the reasons why her plan is not going to work. She listened, sympathized and then told me to get back to work, because this job had been done within 6 hours with the same tool the previous 5 years. I argued a bit more, and she told me if I didn’t get back to work I would suffer the consequences. She gave me a good combination of encouragement and a threat of discipline that caused me to go back and attempt to finish the job.

After about 3 more hours, I began to see some progress. This progress encouraged me. After a couple more times of trying to get out of work, procrastinating and trying to convince my mom that she was expecting too much, I finally finished the job in under 7 hours. I leaned on the fence post, looked back at the large area of plowed ground and was very proud and satisfied of a job well done. I was tired, but it was a good kind of tired. I also felt an appreciation toward my mom for having pushed me to finish.

This same scenario repeated itself many times over during this summer and many summers to follow where my mom helped me understand how to set a goal, attach a deadline to the goal, push through the sweat zone and get to the other side to the point of gratification for a job well done. I became bonded to the trait of work ethic and to my mother for having taught me the lesson. When we talk about the 10,000-hour rule, I like to tell everyone that an hour on the farm is worth 2 hours toward the 10,000-hour rule.

During the interview process it’s very important to discover the trait of work ethic in the candidates who we interview.

We do this by getting them to tell a story very similar to the one that I just told. Simply asking these questions will help you do that.

  • Who’s had the most influence on you in your life?
  • What did they teach you about work ethic?

Those candidates with work ethic will have a great story just like my story. They will also have elements of the story of Mozart, Bill Gates, and the Beatles. You will recognize whether or not they have the potential to be a candidate for 10,000 hours.

Thank you for joining me. See you next time on the Can They Sell video blog for more sales job recruitment training. As always, please leave your comments below and forward this video to anyone who will benefit. Now go enjoy recruiting the best, and have fun in the sales interview.

Learn more about the following:

 Where to find sales people, where to find sale reps

• What to look for while recruiting salespeople – 5 Dimensions of the Best Salesperson Profile Hiring sales, hire salespeople, hire sales people, hiring sales people, hiring sales reps, IT sales recruitment, recruiting sales people, sales job recruitment
• How to look for the 5 Dimensions – get questionnaires – interview questions for sales, interview questions for salespeople, sales interview, interview questions for sales people


To YOUR Success,

Steve Suggs




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