LEADERSHIP SERIES: Research suggests that Sales Leadership is the difference maker between good performance and superior performance. And how sales leaders embrace five essential roles is critical to the success of their teams. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around sales leadership useful and thought-provoking.
Why Now Is Never a Good Time to Find Your Next Salesperson
How comfortable would you be making the decision if someone forced you to buy a car for your family in the next hour? Unless you happen to have been researching automobiles lately, the possibility would probably make you feel more than a little uneasy. No one likes to make important decisions in a snap, and especially ones that they will have to live with for years to come.
So why do so many sales managers leave recruiting – a critical task that can make or break the long-term success of their department and company – until the very last minute, when they need to find a new salesperson quickly?
It’s probably the case that most of them don’t mean to, but they get too distracted with other projects and responsibilities to recruit consistently when it’s not an urgent priority. But that’s a big mistake; recruiting is like exercising or eating right: something you’ll always wish you would have done later when it matters.
The reason is simple: now is never the ideal time to find your next salesperson. Given the extraordinarily high costs that come with employee turnover, not to mention the time and effort put into training a sales producer who doesn’t work out, and the damage he or she can cause to your territory, you simply can’t afford to hire the first decent candidate who comes along. You need to have options ready at your fingertips, in case you lose one of your team members unexpectedly.
And besides, just like keeping track of your fitness, taking ownership of the recruiting process isn’t as hard as it looks once you’re used to doing it. In fact, the most important part is simply being aware. Once you decide to make recruiting a priority, you’ll begin to notice good sales candidates in all kinds of places… including many you wouldn’t expect.
We have talked to dozens of sales leaders who have found high performers at colleges, through friends, working in retail shops, and in all kinds of social settings. In the vast majority of these cases, the manager in question wasn’t actively “recruiting” per se, as much as they were just keeping their eyes open in case someone came along. From there, they simply touch base with these folks now and again, finding out what’s happening with their lives and careers, whether they’ve moved to different parts of the country, and so on. Then, when they need to start conducting interviews, they have all kinds of great candidates right at their fingertips.
The flip side is also true: when you’re focused on staffing and recruiting, you’re far more likely to anticipate departures from your team. Again, this is more a matter of consciousness than anything else. Looking out for signs that one of your salespeople might be thinking about retiring or moving on makes you a lot less likely to be blindsided by the news.
Having the right sales people on your staff, and working in the right territories, isn’t just a nice luxury… it’s something you need for your team to grow and thrive. Keep that in mind, and do your recruiting a little bit at a time. Now is never a great time to find your next salesperson, but can be the perfect time to hire a winner.
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