Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life. –Mary Kay Ash
Meeting with a client recently, we were discussing the search for salespeople. The meeting began as most do on this topic with my client telling me all the types of people he has tried in the position and how unsuccessful they have been. The conclusion we came to was that he was searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The person already had product and process knowledge, was a great communicator, was available and wasn’t too expensive… I pushed him a bit further to make a point and said, “Sounds like this is impossible! I guess you should just shut the company down…” Obviously, he didn’t like this comment, but I had to get his mind to open up. Sales people that failed in the past were different people, in a different time. The key to a search for any position is to be able to consider as many prospective people as possible.
Either they needed to change their processes to fit a broader spectrum of candidates, or we needed to find nontraditional sales candidates to increase the pool.
Many have asked me where the name Rainmaker came from for my company. It actually stems from a former manager of mine many years ago. I had a penchant for finding the diamonds in the rough. I loved finding people from outside the industry and bringing them into our company. With some coaching, training and patience, many turned into rock stars. After doing this several times, my manager sarcastically asked me, “What do you think you are, some kind of rainmaker?” He favored the old ‘hire someone who already knows how to do it and put them in the position’ theory.
My philosophy that I learned from many folks much smarter than me was to hire for attitude, train for skills. I looked for people that knew how to communicate. They actively searched for ways to improve themselves and their organization. And finally, they were high energy. I wanted people that wanted to leave their mark. They want to win. Generally, this type of person is much more likely to stay with you and perform for you if you take the time to invest and develop them. The quick fix will be looking for the next greener pasture.
So here is the hard part… finding them and being patient with them as they learn the skills needed to do the job. I have found historically that many clients and customers will be very forgiving of learning the information. They have no patience for a sales professional that can’t talk them or doesn’t seem to genuinely care. Think outside your industry. Take the road less traveled. Instead of targeting sales people within the industry like everyone else, find industries where the core personality traits are similar and you can teach them the details. Take a chance on someone that has a natural ability to connect with people and let them learn the details they will need to know.
So how do I know? Natural connectors will nearly always not only greet you when you meet, but also naturally ask you more. Instead of just how are you today, it will be additional questions asking what you are doing today, what is happening in your life. Connectors are naturally curious. The bottom line in any organization is sales. If you don’t have them, it doesn’t matter how good any other portion of your organization and product are, you will not last long. Invest in them, train them, develop them, care about them, and they will drive your business to the next level.