Why good sales reps are SO hard to find (and how to find them)

When I started my business I went through lots of sales reps/recruiters before almost giving up on the sales rep idea. The more business owners I spoke to, the more I heard the same challenge, “There are just no good sales guys out there”. Thankfully, I learned some lessons along the way and discovered (eventually) how to solve one of the biggest problems most small owners face . i.e. How to find GREAT sales people.

The two biggest reasons I feel business owners and myself were failing miserably when it came to finding great sales reps were:

  1. Expectations around what a sales rep ACTUALLY should do is very wrong
  2. Sales structures for sales people are usually very wrong

Let me unpack each one:

The expectations of a sales rep:

Forget the expression of hunters (sales reps who hunt for new business) and farmers (reps who farm existing business). Sales reps essentially fall into 1 of 3 categories.

Brilliant Closers — These are salespeople who are brilliant when it comes to closing leads which they have been given. (still very hard to find, but where we all should be aiming)

Terrible Closers — The majority of sales reps however unfortunately fall into this category. Given a number of leads, they will close a tiny percentage.

Golden Geese — These are the sales reps that most business owners/sale managers go looking for and measure their current people against. These are people who, after receiving training on your product, can find, nurture AND close new business. The emphasis on “can find”. The biggest problem of the myth of the golden goose, is that these sales reps exist BUT are one in a million and we are better off forgetting about them altogether.

I believe that searching for a Golden Goose is the total wrong approach for the following reasons:

  1. They are almost impossible to find
  2. You can for sure get short term benefit from a Golden Goose but you can’t build a business around one. The only way to build a sustainable scalable business is to create sales processes which “findable sales people” can slot into and this starts with a lead generation program, not a Golden Goose.

That brings me back to the three categories above (Brilliant closers, Terrible closers, Golden Geese). Successful salespeople need to be able to close, not prospect. Prospecting or lead generation needs to be your (or your marketing managers) main priority, not your sales reps’. Creating a reliable consistent lead generation machine is by no means an easy task but once in place, it will set your future salespeople and your business up for tremendous success.

A lead generation program ,which consistently brings in good quality leads, is NOT your salespersons’ problem. If we are ever going to find and hire successful salespeople then we need to accept this.

Once we cross this precipice, we can then start our journey to find our Brilliant Closers. In order to be successful at this we first need to have the right salary structure in place.

Sales Rep Salary Structure:

“Good sales people are driven by cold hard cash” is the biggest myth ever told after the Golden Goose Salesperson. The reality is good and great sales people are driven by many factors but ALL require security.

Expecting a good sales person to leave their current job and come to your company and potentially not be able to pay their bills because they haven’t earned enough commission will NEVER attract the right type of salesperson. Furthermore if a salesperson joins you on this basis you can be 100% assured that they aren’t the right type of person either. A salesperson needs to know that they will still be able to live if they don’t sell enough of your product. Expecting that the fear of not being able to keep afloat each month, if certain targets aren’t reached, will drive someone to perform at their best is both cruel and ineffective.

We have found that the best sales salary package incorporates a good basic and other rewards such as recognition, bonuses or prizes. Commission alone, counterintuitively, almost never results in a salesperson performing well. A salesperson mostly performs well because they are inherently a good salesperson, not because they could earn a bit extra commission this month.

But why would a salesperson then sell to their max if there is no clear carrot spurring them on? That makes no sense, right? Well, does you accountant do his/her best work whether or not he/her earns a commission? Does your operations manager check stock correctly without demanding payment. If you give your sales reps recognition when they have done well, give them the security that they need (good basic salary) AND they are the right person for the job, they will do their best work (we have seen this time and time again).

In Summary:

Finding great salespeople and building a consistent lead generating machine should be all small business owner’s biggest priority. Lead generation is the egg, the salesperson is the chicken. In order to attract and keep the chicken you need to be prepared to take the risk and provide food each month regardless of whether or not the chicken lays the required number of eggs.

Patrice & Associates makes finding sales reps easy

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  • Hospitality Recruiter Helps Find Me a Job!

    Chris Giles was very helpful throughout this whole process. First he helped me get my resume polished to send off, he was very patient with me during this. I was very busy with my job search and interviews, but he always made sure to follow up if I didn't get something back to him and was always patient with me. Once we had my resume updated he got it sent off and set up my interviews, he was very helpful in coaching me and making sure I was prepared for the interview. Chris was always there to answer any questions I had and touched base frequently as we were waiting to hear back about things certain things. If I hadn't heard back from one of the hiring departments he would contact them and I would hear from them later that day. Now after getting hired and starting the training program he checks in with me weekly to see how things are going and provides a listening ear if I need to vent about anything. He has been very encouraging and has helped me be more confident going through this hiring  process. Thank you Chris!   Charissa Hahn     Have a Hospitality Recruitment Specialist work for you for FREE Hospitality Recruiter Helps Find Me a Job!
  • I would like to thank Frank Rondeau for leading me through all the steps required to land  a great job opportunity. Frank took the time to ask questions about my career goals and personal plans to create a personal resume, based on my career and work experience, in order to connect me with a great job fit for myself- and for my future employer. The end result was getting my interview process handled, and giving me appropriate advice on how to handle the interview for it to be successful... and it sure was. Thank you Frank and Patrice and Associates for helping me get started on this exciting next chapter of my life! -Elaine Garcia   Started on this exciting next chapter of my life!
  • Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!

    Karl was the best asset in securing my new position. He was there coaching and teaching me every step of the way. I have been working in the food industry for 20+ years and this is the first time I have used a recruiter. I have been on both ends of the hiring process and Karl has helped to know what people are looking for and what I should be looking for when hiring new employees. I look forward to meeting Karl and shaking his hand. If needed I would seek Karl out again!         Mahmoud Elkhyati         Need help with your resume – Have a Recruitment Specialist help you for FREE       Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!
  • Hospitality Recruitment Works!

    My interactions with Mr. Richard were professional. He was very accommodating to my wants in needs when it came to the company I was looking to become a part of. I had tried myself to obtain a position with this company, but I was not able to do so on my own. With Richard's help I was able to land the position.  He kept me in the loop when it came to every interview that I had from beginning to end and kept me very upbeat and positive about the experience. I believe this is how a head hunter or recruiter should perform when dealing with clients very professional and had integrity in everything that he did.     Albert Jones     Hospitality Recruitment matches YOUR skills with the perfect job Hospitality Recruitment Works!
  • Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help

    Daniel was a great help to me on my job search. From the first time I was contacted by him I felt he was here not only to help the company find the right candidate but he was there to make sure I was right for the position.  Daniel is very persistent when he is working with you.  He knows that time is of the essence and he helps you adhere to a very strict timeline to be successful.  Daniel is there for you when you are feeling unsure and is always available to discuss just about anything.  He has a wealth of FOH & BOH knowledge and that really put me at ease because I have not met many recruiters with FOH & BOH experience. Talking to someone who has been where you have been really puts you at ease!  I am very appreciative that I had the chance to work with Daniel on this occasion.  I am thankful he was understanding, attentive, communicative, and seems to generally care about you as a person and a perspective candidate! Katherine Woods         Career Coaches that help you for FREE Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help