Archive for January, 2010

Top 10 Tips for Successfully Recruiting Salespeople

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Sales people provide life for all companies. If everything starts with sales people, it only makes sense to make sure that you are recruiting the best potential sales people

Tip 1: Recruit from want, not need. Make recruiting an everyday activity, don’t wait until you need it.

Tip 2: Have a strategy to recruit people all the time. To orchestrate a successful ongoing recruiting program you must first have a game-plan. Plan and develop a flow chart of your desired results. Write down the obvious. You must know why you are looking to create a recruiting strategy. “When the why gets strong, the how gets easy.”

Tip 3: Know who is in charge of recruiting and his/her qualifications. People must be educated on creating and orchestrating a strategy that works. Don’t leave the who and how to chance.

Tip 4: Newspaper ads – the Sunday paper is full of ads for sales people. If you plan on using help wanted ads as part of your recruiting, you must write the ad with the mindset of the good sales person you are looking to recruit. Use two age-old formulas: WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” and AIDA – “Attention, interest, desire and action” when creating your ads.

Tip 5: Try using several avenues to recruit such as full color newspaper inserts, business journal classifieds, a banner ad on your web site, local colleges, Internet job postings, radio ads, military bases, job fairs and employee referral program. Never leave the vitality of your company to just one avenue of marketing. You must build a marketing web that has many marketing branches to attract good people.

Tip 6: Have an “ideal employee” profile. Know who you are looking for before you find them. When you’ve developed a precise guideline of what the perfect recruit looks like, you can begin your process with that in mind and then remove the emotions involved in interviewing.

Tip 7: Payment plans satisfy base-level needs of the potential recruit. Pay all recruits during training and guarantee them a living wage during their learning curve. Many potentially good sales people are not given the chance to ever enter the business. Lower the barriers of entry in order to find the best people.

Tip 8: Have at least 50 written interview questions. Don’t you show a sales person how to profile customers? Preparation is key to a good interview. Be ready with sub questions to the interviewee’s answers that allow him or her to elaborate and communicate in detail. A good interview will follow the 80/20-rule and allow the recruit to speak 80% of the time.

Tip 9: Test and profile a potential sales person. Anyone who has interviewed people has come across a great interview, horrible employee. A good recruiting strategy must utilize many tools to reduce the emotion and help to make a more logical and quantitative selection. There are many tools today that can be used to gauge the personality, sales aptitude, emotional IQ, intelligence and just about anything else you want to know about a possible future employee

Tip 10: Don’t hire people based only upon resumes. If you want to hire good sales people, recruit and hire based on talent and attitude and teach them the necessary skills.

Recruiting and hiring effectively is a continuous process that is both part science and being creative. Having a consistent plan will make your recruiting a success.

Mark Tewart, author of “How To Be A Sales Superstar”

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The Marketing and Sales Genuis of Howard Stern: Business Lessons for a Shock Jock

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

No, I am not crazy and yes I am talking about the well known shock jock known for his outrageous radio show. Howard Stern is a genius for many reasons and they all apply to how you can succeed as a salesperson, manager and entrepreneur.

Let’s examine several of the reasons and the lessons that can be learned. First of all, lesson number one in business is to never be boring. Although, you may not agree with Howard Stern’s humor or persona, he certainly isn’t boring and that not only attracts people, it keeps people listening who say they might not like him or his show. I liken it to the train wreck theory. People may say they are horrified by something but it does not keep them from paying attention to it.

One of the lessons to writing good advertising copy is in having a great headline. Ninety percent of the effectiveness of a good sales letter can be traced to an attractive headline. If someone is not drawn in by the headline then they certainly won’t read the rest of the letter. The same rule applies to having an effective meet and greet when you first come in contact with a potential customer. Your potential customers are going to make instant and lasting judgments about you. You have to get someone’s attention, stand out from the crowd and give a compelling reason for someone to keep paying attention. Howard Stern gets attention and keeps people listening.

Secondly, be contrarian. The world is full of what I call “me too’s.” Decide who you are and be that person or business. Don’t look at everyone else and copy what they are doing. The masses are not successful and copying others just makes you another faceless entity. The fact is that you stand a much greater chance of being successful if you do exactly the opposite of the masses. Be somebody, do something and be newsworthy in doing it. Don’t be a copycat. Howard Stern stands out and goes against the grain of what everyone else is doing in radio and therefore has created a category of one.

Next you should declare who you are and who you want to be. Don’t wait for some magic person or media to anoint you or certify that you are something. Howard Stern declared himself the ‘King of All Media” and that was when he was almost solely known for his radio show. Because Mr. Stern was willing to decide what he wanted, declare and then shout it from the rooftops people started to accept it and treat him as the king of all media. Suddenly, Howard Stern was in movies, TV, CD’s and multiple different forms of media that he was either not in or was not even being considered for by industry people in those particular media forms. Who do you want to be? Decide and declare it. I have a saying, “You are who you decide to be in any given moment. It does not take money, fame, education, connections, other people or any other excuse that you might presently be sabotaging yourself by using as an excuse to keep you or your business from being what you want.

Another essential element of success is to create a following. Make you and your business personable. The more personable you are and the more you communicate that in an endearing and enduring fashion the greater following you will create. If you have customer that have not heard from you in some fashion for eighteen months then it is as if they never did business with you. You are forgotten and all the hard work that went into creating a customer and potential follower is gone. Most people work so hard on getting new customers that they ignore the customer’s they have. You must move your customers from being customers to being followers and fans.  Howard Stern works very hard at creating consistent followers and then creates fans from his followers.

Howard Stern’s radio show is like a radio soap opera with real live stories involving him and his co-stars. Each person on the show opens themselves up in a personal way that invites the listeners into very private view of their lives. The listeners feel connected because they can relate to what’s going on in their world. The Stern Show was reality radio before there was reality TV.  Don’t be afraid to show some warts and be personal with your customers, they will connect with you on a deeper level and trust you more for talking about the so-called “elephant in the room” that nobody would mention. Be vulnerable and people will let you in; act perfect and people will shun you. Nobody can relate to perfection.

There are clues to success and you can find them all over. Often the best places to look are in places most would not look. Somehow I doubt that MBA classes are being taught today about the marketing and sales genius of the Howard Stern Show. The reality there is probably more lessons to be learned in listening to two hours of Howard Stern than taking two hours of an MBA class. Who knew you could learn so much about business from a so-called shock jock.

Mark Tewart, author of “How To Be A Sales Superstar- Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It”

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The Death Of Traditional Salespeople

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

You may find this article a bit odd knowing that it is being written by a trainer and speaker on the subject of sales. I believe traditional selling is dead on arrival. The days of hiring and building a well trained sales staff that executes all facets of the sale, follow up, prospecting, marketing, telephone skills and building a database of repeat buyers has for the most part been dead for a while.

Some of you reading this may be shocked or even angry at such a statement and declare that it is certainly not the case at your business. However, it is the case for ninety-five percent of businesses across the country. If you have been able to recruit, hire, train and retain a professional staff of salespeople who execute on an extremely high level then I say “bravo to you.” Our company has certainly helped many businesses do the same thing. However, after almost thirty years in the business I can tell you it is not the norm.

What I see in business today as an average is scary. I see lazy, untrained staffs that either cannot or will not learn the skills necessary to become a strong, professional salesperson. I see businesses with weak or non-existent game plans to recruit, hire and train a strong professional staff. I see managers who like to sit behind their desks and wait for untrained sales staffs to bring them deals.

I continue to see businesses moving to more and more specialization and technology. I see businesses utilizing CRM’s, on site or external Internet departments, outsourced BDC’s and sales processes that heavily utilize managers and technology. Although technology does not sell, it surely assists you in the process. More businesses will move towards an old school but now new school process of product specialists and managers. People will only be trained and expected to perform in certain areas of competency. Any form of finance will be moved more towards the front of the sale rather than the back of the sale. Many smart businesses have moved towards this arrangement years ago.

Businesses have been beating their heads up against the wall forever trying to get salespeople not only trained, but get them actually doing it. For the most part, it has not worked. I have heard certain sales trainers cry out “It’s not an option.” That’s easy to say, but those same sales trainers went broke while owning their own businesses. I am not writing this article to be politically correct. I am writing this article to be a witness to the truth as I see it. The average salesperson today in most stores is lucky to have a job let alone resembling anything close to a professional salesperson. Customers just won’t tolerate amateurs and old school selling anymore.

If you are fighting the same battles you have been fighting for years and not getting better results then it may be time to stop blaming your managers and look in the mirror. It may be time to try a different approach. And to all the truly professional salespeople out there that don’t fit into the ninety-five percent category I mentioned, you have my apologies as you should be held in very high esteem and not lumped in with all the rest. You are truly some of the most valuable people on earth. If you would like to receive my free report on the new generation of selling, email me at info@tewart.com with the phrase “new generation” in the subject line

Mark Tewart, author of “How To Be A Sales Superstar”

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