You can build a winning sales force.
The heart of any retail or service business is its sales team. These are the men and women who directly promote your products or services to potential customers, individuals with a knack for selling or closing deals. They are also some of the toughest people to recruit and retain, as their capabilities precede them.
You can build a strong sales team from within as well as bring in outside talent. Once you identify the type of people you want on your team, you’ll be able to fill each position with the right person every time.
Let’s take a look at the ways you can build a strong sales team.
1. Look from within. Who are the talented people in your company? Do any possess the requirements to sell or obtain leads?
Mary in accounting is good with numbers, but she also is a friendly voice that your customers respect. You hadn’t considered her for a sales position, but she may be a natural, an employee that knows your products. Evaluate a broad selection of employees that might have what it takes to sell and post your job opening within the company first. You may not like to lose Mary’s services in accounting, but you might lose her to a competitor if you don’t consider here capabilities.
2. Ask your employees. Beyond your current employees, you’ll need to look outside of your firm for sales candidates. You can reduce the risk of hiring a bad candidate by asking your employees to refer a qualified individual to the company.
You put out the word that you’ll offer a $500 bonus to employees who successfully refer a sales candidate who is hired and stays on for at least 90 days. Isaiah in receiving isn’t interested in sales, but his cousin is. Isaiah passes on Jack’s contact information and you’re impressed enough to extend an offer. You get a recommended employee and Isaiah receives a well deserved bonus.
3. Spread the word with suppliers. Your company deals with two or three suppliers that you have regular contact with each week. You mention to your supplier contacts that your sales force is expanding.
Doug is your office supply liaison and will soon retire. He recommends his probable replacement, Kendra, who agrees to be interviewed. You hire her based on the reputation and recommendation of someone you do business with.
4. Tap your network. Beyond employees, their friends and your business partners, your next strategy is to explore your business network. These are people you know from the Chamber of Commerce, your Business Network International group or the business club that meets at your church, synagogue or other house of worship.
Chances are that someone you know in these groups might be interested in working for you. They can also spread the word to their contacts, perhaps finding someone whom they can recommend personally.
5. Other approaches. If you still need to fill your team with sales people and have exhausted your network, there are other options available to you. You may lose the known contact and may have to pay a fee to hire this individual, but that person may meet your sales staff requirements.
Check your Facebook and LinkedIn connections for possible sales people. LinkedIn is particularly useful as you can search your connections or search by region or capabilities. You may also find someone through one of your connections, an individual you’re not directly connected to through LinkedIn, but can be introduced to you by a mutual acquaintance.
Lastly, check with local schools for recent graduates that might be groomed to take on a sales position. You can also work with a recruiter, paying a sizable fee, but possibly getting the superstar closer you need.
Incentives are a tool you can use to attract and retain sales people. Use some of that incentive money to reward those who bring capable people to you and you’ll never lack for qualified recommendations.