Sales Management Corner-Common Sense Rule #5

Where To Look To Find Your Next Salesperson

A long time ago when I was stacking up frequent flier miles hiring and working with salespeople I believed  what salespeople put in their resumes. You would think that someone who aced his college statistics course would have known that people can create almost any positive spin based on statistics. Face it, I was naive. It didn’t take long, however, to figure out that it’s impossible for every rep to have grown their territories by 150% and be looking for another sales position.

I’ll get to resumes next week but prior to that it is worth taking some time to ponder where and how to find your next salesperson. In pre-electronic times resumes would come via snail mail. (That must sound absolutely absurd to all the X and Ygeners.) I would put an ad in the paper in the city where I needed to find a salesperson and wah-lah, in came the resumes. Or, you kept a couple of head hunters busy looking for salespeople in specific cities.

Fortunately, I’ve gotten a little wiser in the ways of finding salespeople. When a cient needs a salesperson these are some of the things I do to locate one:

  1. I have about ten to fifteen CEO types in the Twin Cities who I have known for a long time. I contact these people first to see if they know of people looking for a new sales position.
  2. There is another group of salespeople I know well so they are the next people I contact.
  3. At any given time I have resumes from people who are looking for a sales position.
  4. I’ll attend some networking events where I know there will be salespeople.
  5. I’ll spend a couple of days on the phone connecting with people who have good networks.
  6. If there are salespeople calling on the client I’m consulting with I’ll connect with them to see if they know of reps.
  7. If I’m looking for a rep with specific industry experience I will connect with people in that industry.

However, this process doesn’t help the sales manager in Alabama looking for a salesperson in Seattle. I found that the best way to hire a rep in another city where I do not have contacts is to connect with customers in that city and ask specific buyers or decision makers who the best reps are that call on them. Or, if there is a competitive salesperson who is worth contacting go after him or her. That can be risky so check that state’s legal/HR status on non-compete clauses.

Prior to doing any of this give some thought to the characteristics of the person you want to hire. The more accurate the description is of the person you want to hire the easier it will be for people to identify reps in their world.

The Final Thought: “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” Douglas H. Everett


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