We may hate to admit it some times, but Mom was right about most things. And, many of the lessons she taught us also apply to hiring and managing our employees. Please read my guest post about the “12 Lessons From Mom That Apply To Hiring & Managing Employees” by clicking on Recruiter.com.
A few days ago I had to fly to Atlanta on business. My flight had a layover in Charlotte for a couple of hours. I got off the plane feeling more than a little sorry for myself. I had been on a packed flight in a middle seat and I was flying with 2 ruptured discs in my neck. So all in all, I was one miserable traveler. I walked into the ladies restroom in Charlotte’s Terminal B next to Gate 4. I heard her before I saw her. As I rounded the corner into the restroom she said, “Welcome, welcome, welcome! Welcome to Charlotte!” I looked up and saw her wide smile and bright eyes. She looked genuinely happy to see me. She was the restroom attendant. “How are you today? Are you doing ok?” I smiled and said hello and quickly headed for my stall. I listened though as the attendant continued to greet every single person who came in, complimented some, asked questions of others, and wished people safe travels as they left.
As I sat there in the restroom listening, I was struck by how much energy and enthusiasm she had for every single person who was in there, and how sincere she sounded. As I washed my hands at the sink, I took quick glances at her down the long aisle way of the restrooms. I could see how people were responding to her. Sure there were a few who just nodded and even a couple who barely acknowledged her. But most of the people were instantly transformed as if they had just met up with a long lost friend. They quickly chatted with her and thanked her before exiting with a big smile on their faces.
This woman was remarkable and I knew I had to find out more about her. I approached her and asked her if she had a break coming up any time soon. She said she didn’t but asked me how she could help me and if there was something I needed. I told her that I was a talent analyst and explained the work that I did and told her that she was the perfect example of someone with the trait of Positivity. I asked her if I could interview her and ask a few questions while she worked. Luckily for me, she agreed. As she answered my questions she didn’t miss a beat, still engaging each person who entered or left. She helped Mom’s with stroller and Grandma’s with walkers. She found something personal to say to every single person she encountered.
For years I have stressed to managers the importance of hiring salespeople with the innate strength/behavior called Positivity. The Gallup Organization defines Positivity as someone who is generous with praise, quick to smile, the type of person others want to be around. People who have this trait have contagious enthusiasm and find a way to lift the spirits of others. They celebrate every achievement and make things more vital and exciting. They believe that work can be fun and no matter what the set backs you have to keep your sense of humor.
The first thing I asked the restroom attendant was what her name was, and she said, “Mary Love.” Can you believe it? What a perfect name for her. I asked her how long she had been working here and she said two years and that she loves her job. “I love making people smile, there’s not enough of that in the world. I welcome people and bless them and pamper them by keeping my restroom clean so that I make a difference.”
I asked her if people were ever nasty to her or unappreciative when she talked to them. She said that rarely happened and even when it did it didn’t bother her because, “Those people are a blessing too, so I don’t let that bother me.” I asked her if when she went through her training for this position if she was instructed to greet people. She said, “No, I just started doing it…I say what comes out of my heart. I feel like this is my purpose in life, to make a difference in people’s day.”
Wow. “I feel like this is my purpose in life, to make a difference in people’s day.” Those words from her are so powerful and such a great example of the power of positivity in your work. Well, Ms. Mary Love you certainly did that for me. After I finished talking with you, got a hug from you, and a quick picture, I walked to my next gate with a very different attitude and outlook from the one I had when I walked into that restroom.
In fact, her Positivity was still on my mind when my connecting flight landed in Atlanta, and the usual thing happened. The seat belt light goes off, folks begin gathering their belongings, and there are always those people who rush up from the rows behind you rather than waiting to exit when it is their row’s turn. Now what always goes through my mind at this point is my fantasy where I stand up and yell, “Hey – get back to your row! You are not THAT important, wait your turn like the rest of us!!!” and with eyes cast down they skulk back to their seats. Yah right. But this time as I started to feel the slow boil begin, it was quickly cooled by hearing Mary’s words echo in my brain, “Those people are blessings too.” If you know me even a little, you know how NOT like me it is to have that thought.
Mary told me that my interviewing her was a wonderful birthday gift. But I knew the real gift was the one she gave to me and hundreds of other people every day. Her birthday is May 9th and I would love the readers of this article help make her birthday special. Please leave her a Happy Birthday wish in the comment box below. She asked me to send her the link to this post because she was eager to read it, so I know she will see your comments.
Thank you Ms. Mary Love of Charlotte, North Carolina and Happy Birthday.
Unwanted turnover on a sales team can be a fatal blow to achieving revenue goals. Unfortunately, many sales managers still have the mindset that turnover or “churn” is to be expected, especially in rookie sales positions. I couldn’t disagree more. Not only shouldn’t it be expected, it shouldn’t be tolerated either. If you are a sales manager with a high turnover ratio (or the manager of someone who does) you need to find out the reasons and quickly. Not only does this churn cost you thousands of dollars in recruitment and training costs, and untold thousands of dollars in lost opportunities costs, but it also is damaging to morale and makes your company look bad in the eyes of your customers.
So, back to the original question, is the sales manager hiring the wrong people or is the sales manager the problem (or both)? To find out the answers, here are the questions you need to ask…
1. IS THERE ANYTHING HAPPENING IN THE MARKET THAT COULD LEGITIMATELY BE THE CAUSE OF AN INCREASE IN TURNOVER? Is your turnover significantly higher than your competitors? Have there been any major changes in the market or your industry?
2. ARE YOU DOING EXIT INTERVIEWS? YOU MUST! An exit interview should be done by an HR representative for every salesperson who leaves, whether the person is fired or leaves voluntarily. Or, you can use an online service to do this. (Questionpro.com is one that is free and has exit interview templates you can customize.) You need this information to help diagnose and get to the root of the problem.
3. ARE YOU DOING 360 SURVEYS WITH EXISTING SALESPEOPLE? This is an important tool in revealing many potential problems before it’s too late. Again this can be done online and anonymous with free tools such as freeonlinesurveys.com. The following questions are ones that will help you determine whether you have a hiring problem or a management problem, and where the issue(s) may be:
- Did you receive the initial training and onboarding needed to be successful in the position?
- Do you feel you are getting the on-going managerial coaching and training you need?
- Do you have the tools and resources to be successful in your sales role?
- Are you recognized for excellent performance?
- Is poor performance addressed and confronted quickly?
- Do you feel you have a career path with the company?
- Do you feel you are continuing to develop your professional skills and knowledge?
- Was your compensation package presented to you accurately?
- Has the company and your manager lived up to what you expected when hired?
- Are you proud of what you sell and do you feel the company has a solid reputation in the business community?
- Do you believe your manager is invested in your success and can help you achieve your goals?
- Does your sales manager meet with you on a regular basis and communicate information you need to know?
4. ARE YOU PAYING YOUR SALESPEOPLE APPROPRIATELY? You need to analyze your comp plan and consider the following questions:
- What is the likely amount a salesperson will make the first year under this plan?
- Is this competitive with what the salesperson could make with an industry competitor? What about a sales position with another industry?
- Are you asking the salesperson to take all the risk?
- Is the comp plan designed to launch the person successfully or is it full of potential roadblocks?
- Is the comp plan straightforward and easy to understand?
5. ARE YOU SETTING AND MANAGING EXPECTATIONS IN THE INTERVIEW PROCESS? Starting a new job is fraught with stress coming from all areas of a person’s life. The last thing you want is for that new salesperson to feel he was misled (whether intentional or not) about the position. The sales manager must make sure she is 100% transparent about the pros and cons of the job, what the salesperson should expect in the first 30 days, 6 months, one year, and very clear about what expectations the manager has of performance. This should be continually reiterated in each interview and spelled out in writing in the offer letter.
6. ARE YOU FOLLOWING A SET HIRING PROCESS DESIGNED TO FIT TALENTS TO TASK? This means having a set hiring process in place which is specifically designed to identify a person’s talents and skills; then determining if those are a fit for your sales position. The following is the process I use and have found to be effective:
- Define the sales position. What exactly will the salesperson be asked to do? What are the requirements of the job?
- Based on the above information, what talents, skills, and experience does the salesperson need to have on day 1? What are the skills you are willing to train for? This doesn’t mean describe your “IDEAL” candidate. This means list the “deal breakers” those competencies the person MUST have to be considered and those that you would “like” but don’t have to have.
- Based on those requirements, vet every application you receive against those and only proceed with candidates who meet those requirements.
- Do preliminary phone interviews FIRST with those candidates whose applications/resumes you have vetted. The phone interview should be 20-30 minutes and you should use a prepared list of behavioral based interview questions. (see related article “My 25 Favorite Salesperson Interview Questions”) Every person you phone screen should be asked the same questions so that you can fairly assess the answers and stay in EEOC compliance.
- Do face-to-face interviews with those candidates who have “passed” your screening interview. These in-person interviews should also be comprised of a set list of behavioral based questions that are the same for each candidate.
- Do reference checking and background checks at this stage. Don’t wait until you’ve decided on one candidate only to find out the person has something in his or her background or former job that knocks him out of the running. Use an online reference checking system like www.Checkster.com. (see related article ”5 Steps For Getting real Information From Candidates’ References”)
- The candidates should interview with a minimum of two people in the company. Ideally interviews should include the sales manager, the sales manager’s manager, an existing sales person, and an H.R. or manager from a different department that interacts with sales. The interviewer should take specific notes on the candidates’ answers. Then all interviewers should give their evaluation of the candidate to the sales manager or fill out a candidate evaluation form.
- Use a validated, PREDICTIVE, sales assessment for final candidates. Sales assessments are key to increasing your successful hires. Only 14% of sales people hired based on only interview information are successful hires. A good sales assessment should boost that number to about 80%.
- Evaluate ALL the information you have on a candidate before offering the position. This includes interview information, reference checking information, sales assessment results, and of course your “gut instinct.” This is referred to as the 30%-30%-30%-10% rule.
7. DO YOU HAVE AN ONBOARDING PROGRAM IN PLACE? Even if you’ve done everything right in the hiring process up to this point, if you don’t have a well-designed onboarding program you are setting your new hire up for failure. Research shows that salespeople get up to speed 51% faster when a company has an onboarding program. Onboarding includes not just outlining first day or the first week, but the first 30 days and beyond (see related article “Steps For Keeping Your New Sales Hire From Circling The Drain” for onboarding tips).
8. DO YOU HAVE AN INDIVIDUALIZED COACHING PLAN FOR EACH SALESPERSON? It is the sales manager’s responsibility to develop a salesperson’s talents and skills through coaching (see related article “Tips For Coaching Your Salesperson”). To effectively coach you must first know what those specific talents and skills are (the sales assessment should tell you that) and then have a plan in place for how you will best manage and develop them. A coaching plan should include at a minimum the following information.
- Goals we have agreed upon and date to be achieved
- The salesperson’s expectations of me the sales manager
- My expectations of the salesperson
- Top 3 motivators
- I should remember NOT to do
- Likes recognition in the form of
- What salesperson likes best about sales
- What salesperson like least about sales
- Long range career goals
- Key strengths/weaknesses
- Growth area salesperson would like to develop and how I will assist
All of this information should be discussed in the first days after the new hire begins the job and should be updated every 6 months.
Infographic: What Mis-hired Misfires Cost You
What is the most common challenge I hear from managers? Hands down, it is that they have difficulty finding top sales talent. And, when they do find a qualified candidate the person often opts for a different opportunity (many times a competitor). Why? Obviously there can be many factors for why you aren’t attracting top sales talent, but these are the ones I’ve found to often be at the root of the problem:
1. Not looking for talent in the right places (and not looking continually).
2. Using job ads/posts that are poorly written.
3. Not addressing top talent’s hot buttons.
4. Not setting expectations with the candidate about the hiring process.
The good news is that all 4 of these problems are easily fixed. Here are the steps you can take to not only attract sales talent, but get them eager to come aboard.
Not looking for talent in the right places (and not looking continually).
The first rule of successful recruitment is you should ALWAYS be recruiting and ALWAYS be interviewing. It serves two purposes; it sharpens your interview skills and increases your networking and scope of influence. Like sales, you should never be without prospects in your funnel. If you don’t currently have an opening then simply tell the prospective candidate the truth and add that you would like to meet to get to know the person better. It’s flattering and I’ve never had a person say “no.”
Are you targeting your job ad in the right places? Analyze where you are looking for talent. Ask yourself how someone might reach you if you were not actively looking for a job, because most talented salespeople are NOT actively looking – they have a job. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have one eye open at all times on potential greener pastures! Think about your industry and what media those salespeople are consuming. It’s likely that placing a job ad on industry specific websites or publications versus putting an ad on Monster.com, makes a lot more sense.
Where are some other places those potential candidates might be? I’ve found that posting to the “Jobs” section of industry related “Groups” on LinkedIn yields much more qualified candidates than generic job boards and websites. (See “6 Free Ways To Recruit Salespeople On LinkedIn.”) And while you are on LinkedIn, make sure you do a status update about the position and ask your connections to forward it to those they think might be interested. Ask your current top performers to do the same thing. I’ve found that they tend to know other top performers and have very large networks of work acquaintances.
Another obvious social media choice is Facebook. If your company has a Facebook page, do a post about the job opening. People who are your company followers are fans or your company and likely to be interested. It’s possible that your next great hire could be one of those fans. Or, someone who knows them is, and forwards the info to them.
Get creative. Maybe you make a quick video about the job opening and post the video to your website and YouTube. Send the link out as an email blast to your contacts and ask them to forward it to anyone they know who might be interested. Ask your current salespeople, “If I was a company who wanted to hire you, where would be the best place for me to put my job posting to reach you?”
Using job ads/posts that are poorly written.
Think of a job post as one big news headline. Meaning, your focus should be how you are going to hook the person into reading it. Unfortunately, most job posts/ads read like a laundry list of desired traits that are more like an online dating site request than an engaging and dynamic job overview. The Harvard Business Review did a great article about this, “Your Job Ads Are Driving Away Talent.”
Too often they start off with a P.R. paragraph about the company…Here’s a recent one I saw (names deleted to protect the inept)
XYZ Holding Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based XYZ Inc. and is comprised of: ABC Company and WYZ Company. We are the fastest-growing widget organization in the United States. Consisting of more than 570 retail stores in 39 states and the District of Columbia through 12 retail store names, we are the industry leaders in each of their respective markets. Find a better career and A Better You! We believe that our Associates are our most valuable resource and are, therefore, the key to our future growth, performance and success. We offer opportunities to grow and develop your career while providing world class customer service for our customers!
Wow – doesn’t that just grab you and reel you in? Um…no. It’s all about what the company wants you to know, not what you want to know. The start of the job ad reads like a press release. The opening paragraph needs to hit that salesperson’s hot buttons. Where are the specifics? Where is the mention of money, career advancement, challenges, selling tools, growth potential? Those are the things that grab a top performer’s attention.
A good tip to writing a great first line for a job ad is to ask the candidate a question i.e., “Do you feel you have gone as far as you can with your current company? Do you sometimes feel you spend more time selling your ideas internally than you do with your clients? Do you get the support and the resources you need to be at the top of your game?”
Don’t use third person language in the ad. Things like, “The ideal candidate will have…” do not engage the reader. Write the ad as if you were speaking directly to that talented salesperson you want to hire – because if you’re lucky, you are! When you are listing the “Responsibilities” describe the key aspects of the job, not a list of every possible thing the person might encounter. When listing the “Requirements” you should only list the things that are deal breakers. For example, does the person really have to have a college degree? Is it a must that the person has experience in your particular industry? Keep in mind that the more things you list here, the more likely someone will self-select out. Many people think that if they don’t have a stringent list of requirements they will be inundated with unqualified candidates. But actually, research shows that isn’t the case. Don’t describe your “ideal” candidate, because that person may not exist and you may be inadvertently turning away great candidates.
Not addressing top talent’s hot buttons.
These “hot buttons” are the key things that highly talented salespeople want to know when considering a job. These are the items that should be included in the job ad as well as in an interview. What are those “hot buttons?” The company Sales Benchmark Index did research specifically on that question to find out. I have summarized their findings as to what are the primary concerns that top performing sales people want to know about when considering a job:
• What opportunity (accounts, industry or geography) does the position offer?
• What is my earning potential? Now and in the future?
• Does my new manager have the skills to coach me and hone my skills?
• Will I have a chance to advance my career? In what ways?
• Does the new role offer unique challenges beyond just winning deals?
• What kind of training and professional development will I receive?
• Will I earn recognition for outstanding work? In what ways?
• Will senior leadership listen to my ideas?
• What kinds of tools will I use? Will the infrastructure shackle me or help me win deals?
• What type of internal resources will I have to help me?
• Does the brand and/or reputation of the company open doors? Are the products/services respected?
• Who are the customers? Do they give positive referrals? Are they irritated or delighted?
• How will I quickly ramp up during my onboarding period? Is there an adjusted quota or a guarantee?
• What is the culture like? Is this a winning team? Are the sales people respected?
You won’t be able to address all of these in a job ad but make sure you are hitting as many as you can in order to increase your chances of catching the eye of the right candidate for you. And make sure you are covering these items in your interviews with top performers.
Not setting expectations with the candidate about the hiring process.
Many times I’ve had managers tell me that when they have found a talented salesperson they lose him or her because the person gets irritated with the interview process. This might be because it is taking too long or involves too many steps. The solution to this is to clearly outline the process for the candidate from the beginning.
Map out each step and explain the reason for each step. It’s like how people feel about airline delays, the worst part is not knowing what is happening. Even if you are aggravated by the delay, you definitely prefer knowing the reason for it versus feeling left in the dark or jerked around and not appreciated. Stay in CONSTANT contact with the candidate through email and phone. Don’t let more than two days go by without some kind of contact and/or update. You want this person to feel that they are a top priority for you and your company. After all, he or she might just be your next superstar.
Here is an interesting infographic on the signs that your “rockstar” may be looking to hit the road!
Think you are a good boss? Think you know how your employees (past or present) would rate you? Want to know for sure? Several “Rate Your Boss/Company” type websites have sprung up around the internet and you may want to check them out. And if you are considering a new job, you definitely want to check out your potential new boss and company.
One of the most popular is eBossWatch.com. The eBossWatch website is an anonymous (and free) way to either “Rate Your Boss” (good or bad) or look up a potential boss. The website describes their service as enabling “people to anonymously rate their bosses and employers using a respectable evaluation form so that job seekers can search potential workplaces and can access inside information about what it’s like to work there.”
The founder started the website in 2007, the website states, “after experiencing first-hand the nightmare of working in a hostile work environment. He decided that there had to be a better way for people to evaluate prospective employers.”
A person can go to the website and choose to “Rate My Boss” or do a “Boss Search.” The “Boss Search” database is searchable by name or by company.
When “Rate My Boss” is selected, the person is asked 6 questions and can respond as Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Somewhat Agree, Agree, or Strongly Agree.
For each rating that a boss receives, a graph is generated that a person can click on to view.
Critics of sites like these point out that there is no verification procedure that ensures the person doing the evaluation of the boss really did work for him or her; the boss does not have an opportunity to respond on the website; and the boss is not notified of the posting. But there is no denying the increasing popularity of these types of sites. eBossWatch even does a yearly “Worse Bosses” that they post on the website. It is an interesting mix of the famous and non-famous.
If you want to be proactive and find out what your employees are thinking, you might want to encourage them to go to TellYourBossAnything.com. On this website, employees can type out a message to their boss and the website emails it to the boss.
But how about taking it a step further? If you are a boss and manage more than a few people, you can ask your employees to respond to a poll question or a survey with several questions. It is a great way to get 360° feedback, and if you go to FreeOnlineSurveys.com, it doesn’t cost you anything to do so. If you have something simple you want their input on like, “What would be a good team building outing for us to do?” you can create a simple poll (similar to my blog poll question).
For more in-depth information, you can create a survey with many questions, and have multiple choice answers or fill-in answers. It’s a great way to proactively solicit feedback from your direct reports in a way that is easy, convenient, and anonymous. You might even consider creating one for feedback from customers as well. You can send employees (or clients) the poll or survey as an email with a link to click on or embed it on your website with the html code they give you.
Now, go see if you are on ebosswatch.com, I know you’re dying to do it!
If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure. -Bill Gates
Here’s an interesting Infographic from Inc.com on the real costs of bad bosses.
- The Number 1 Thing Your Employees Want More Of (No, It’s Not Money)
- 10 Phrases Your Sales People Want To Hear
- Why Your Salespeople Quit
- Tips For Coaching Your Salespeople
- It’s Not Me, It’s You: 5 Ways To Avoid Another Horrible Boss (business.time.com)
I was recently discussing with a General Manager the unprecedented success the sales team was experiencing, having made 24 revenue budgets in a row. Spectacular results under normal circumstances, but even more so with a turbulent economy. While there isn’t just one reason for this success, it wasn’t lost on me that they had retained all of their talented salespeople over that same period. More than ever, it drove home the point that retention is a critical component in achieving sales goals.
While there are many strategies for retaining your talented people, it all begins with making sure you are hiring the right people in the first place. This is where a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) can play a big part in helping you and your candidate figure out if the job is a good fit. When you hire someone that not only has the right talents, but also the right fit for your company, you increase the likelihood of retaining that person and lowering your turnover costs. (Curious about what the turnover costs are for you, specifically, for just one position? Click here for a Turnover Cost Calculator.)
What is a RJP? A RJP is usually a brief video or PowerPoint presentation that gives a candidate a feel for what it’s like to work at your company, by presenting a balanced overview of the position. It communicates the responsibilities, challenges, expectations and rewards of the job.
Why do a RJP? Research has shown that having candidates experience a RJP increases retention by as much as 10%. Some experts estimate that RJPs screen out between 15% and 36% of applicants*. Wouldn’t you rather people decide the job isn’t right fit for them BEFORE they go through the job interview process with you?
How the RJP benefits you, the manager. Just as we continually reiterate to salespeople that they must “manage” clients’ expectations, an RJP helps you “manage” a potential new employee’s expectations.
- Because the RJP gives candidates a specific, realistic picture of the job and the company, they know better what to expect, and if hired, they don’t experience “buyer’s remorse” after they start.
- Another way in which RJPs can reduce turnover is that employees who are made aware of the challenges of the job in advance, are better able to cope with them when they arise, and less likely to leave.
- RJPs also communicate an “air of honesty” to applicants. New employees tend to be more committed to their job because they feel the company represented itself honestly.
Different types of RJPs. A RJP can be done as a brochure, or orally presented in an initial interview, or even a detailed email. However, I think the most effective ones are those that are short videos or PowerPoint type presentations. You want the RJP to help a candidate “visualize” what your company’s environment, values, culture, and employees are like, in addition to giving the balanced overview of the specific position. An RJP is NOT a branding or marketing piece.
How to do a RJP. You can be as creative or straightforward as you want to be. The most important component is that it is BALANCED. It needs to convey both the ups and the downs. Be realistic. Consider some of these options:
- A video where several of your salespeople talk about their job; what they like about it, its challenges and rewards, what it’s like working for you and your management style, and what they like about the company.
- A “Day In The Life” video that shows the candidate an average day on the job with one of your salespeople.
- A “Meet The Team” video that enables the candidates to see and hear from their potential co-workers. It can also include a tour of your offices and “introductions” to other key department heads.
- A PowerPoint presentation that uses photographs or video clips along with an audio narration – highlighting key information about the job, your culture, and your company.
* Research studies can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realistic_job_preview
Here’s an interesting infographic on the costs of turnover…
It seems like every week there is a new article about Millennial/Gen Y workers. But when I read these articles, I always wonder if the information given also holds true for Gen Y SALESPEOPLE? I set out to find any current research I could on Gen Y salespeople (those born approximately 1980-1999). It turns out there have been several studies done. What follows is a summary of the most interesting aspects of the various studies and research. Be ready to be surprised because a lot of it is different from what we’ve been hearing about how to manage Gen Y. It’s time to separate fact from fiction when it comes to Gen Y salespeople and how to manage them.
“The Children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for adults, and love to talk rather than work or exercise… They contradict their parents, chatter in front of company, gobble down their food at the table, and intimidate their teachers.”
Who made that astute pronouncement? Socrates (469-399 B.C.E.)! As the quote from Socrates demonstrates, every generation thinks the younger generation has it too easy and is obnoxious. And, that holds true for the older three generations currently in the workforce with Gen Y. It is probably felt more intently because Gen Y workers now make up the largest segment of workers and are growing.
As you read through this information it’s important to keep in mind that even though this is research done on Gen Y salespeople, it’s still generalized. Not every Gen Y salesperson is of course the same. You need to take into account the type of industry you are in, the type of sales, and the individual’s sales talents as well. This information is just a starting point. The best way to know which of this applies to your Gen Y salespeople? Ask them!
FACT 1: The Number 1 Motivator For Gen Y Salespeople Is Money: This one surprised me. Yes, I know that for most salespeople this is a primary motivator, but I didn’t think it would overwhelmingly be number one for Gen Y. There are so many articles about how Gen Y wants to make a difference in their work and are willing to work for less money if it is a company they believe in, yada, yada, yada. Well, guess what? That didn’t even make the top 5 among Gen Y Salespeople. Gen Y salespeople are motivated by money and access to good managers.
FACT 2: Gen Y Salespeople Are Mouthy Expressive. Keep in mind that GenY has grown up on the web. A research study done by Vorsight & The Bridge Group, Inc., on Gen Y salespeople calls it the “democratization of voice on the web.” It means they have always been able to express any opinion they have to just about anyone they want, through the internet. If you have an idea, you can float it out there to all your friends, as well as strangers, and see if spreads; if it has merit. Gen Y salespeople have taken this same expression into the workplace. What feels disrespectful or exasperating to Gen Y and Boomer managers, seems natural to them. That is, to express how you feel about something you are asked to do, or to have an idea put out there for evaluation by others rather than just being told “no” by their manager. If you are managing Gen Y salespeople you need to be willing to listen to their opinions and feedback – even when unsolicited – and be prepared to discuss. This is why many refer to this generation as Generation WHY rather than Generation Y!
FACT 3: Gen Y Salespeople Crave Recognition. Most salespeople enjoy recognition in some form. After all, it is this ego drive that helps propel them to achieve. The difference is that research on Gen Y salespeople shows that they need it a lot more often. Constant feedback is critical to their success or failure. And, they want it now. In a 2012 research study by Achievers and Experience Inc, 80% of Gen Y said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews, and feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job.
FACT 4: Gen Y Salespeople Will Not Typically Leave A Job Just For More Money. Gen Y overall has been described as “job jumpers.” So, it would stand to reason that money motivated Gen Y salespeople would probably be even more like this. Actually, the research shows that isn’t the case. Most would prefer to stay with their current company IF there is a clear career path where they can continue to develop marketable skills and grow their income. In other words, if you show them that they can accomplish their work ambitions with your company, they would like that. If you can’t, they will jump. And really, weren’t you the same way when you were in your 20s? Why would you stay in a position if you feel there are no growth opportunities? Growth doesn’t necessarily mean management either. It means learning new skills, additional training, financial growth, etc.
FACT 5: Gen Y Salespeople Are Impatient But They Are Not Lazy. Yes, they are constantly looking for the next big thing and need to be kept challenged. They tend to work fast, and work on the go. So while managers say Gen Y salespeople aren’t willing to put in long hours, according to a research study by Sibson Consulting; it also found that in actuality, they are more willing to do work in off hours than other generations, but on their own terms. They just aren’t sitting at the office doing it.
FACT 6: Gen Y Salespeople Are Goal Oriented. This may explain then, why the same research study found that those managers also said that 92% of their Gen Y salespeople met their goals as well or better than salespeople of different generations. What this seems to tell us is that while Gen Y salespeople may not want to be at the office until 7pm or come in early, somehow they are getting the work done, and done well.
FACT 7: Gen Y Salespeople Need Different Training. Gen Y salespeople say that they feel the other generations move too slow. They hate going through training with older salespeople because they believe the others are holding them back. They are used to doing things online and quickly. Remember this is a group that grew up playing video games. They tend to learn by doing (experiential learners) rather than being lectured. They need training that is interactive and allows them to experience what is being taught.
FACT 8: Gen Y Salespeople Want More Coaching And Mentoring. When Gen Y salespeople were asked what would help them be more successful, this was the number one answer. This is a generation that is used to having hands-on guidance from parents and teachers. They look to managers to be their mentors and provide insight and feedback. Veteran salespeople can be called upon to mentor as well. And by the way, they are on to something when it comes to mentoring. A research study done on this topic found that 35% of salespeople who do NOT receive mentoring look for another job within 12 months.
FACT 9: Gen Y Salespeople Like Contests & Competitions. One of the common things you read about Gen Y is that they aren’t competitive because they are the “trophy generation” where everyone gets a prize just for participating. We read that they are group oriented (which is true) and that they prefer team goals to individual competition. But this is where Gen Y salespeople differ. They like having individual goals, and they want to know how their goals tie-in to the bigger picture of the company. Gen Y salespeople are competitive and like contests, with 86% responding to a survey that they participate. This is especially true when they get to have input on what the reward will be.
Just what are the rewards that Gen Y salespeople like the most overall? They want cold hard cash, career development opportunities, and trips. (Study by Dr. David Brookmire)
FACT 10: Gen Y Salespeople Don’t Respond Well To “Command and Control” Management. The “command and control” management style works through extrinsic motivators such as threats, dictates, and a manager who is a “commander” instead of a “coach.” That is not how Gen Y was raised and not what they experienced in school and college. This style of management stunts Gen Y salespeople because it inhibits their intrinsic motivation, which is the desire to feel ownership of their work and to feel good helping their clients and achieving goals. Gen Y salespeople work hard when they feel important and appreciated which is called the “psychological pay” principle. A “command and control” management style takes that feeling away from them.
The last piece information I’ll end with is from an article on Inc.com about the most common mistakes a Gen Y salesperson makes.
1. Giving The Prospective Client Too Much Information At Once. This is a common mistake – where the salesperson just throws up information all over the client. Because Gen Y is so good at collecting information – especially about their product, they go overboard and inundate the client with more data than most could ever want. Teaching a Gen Y salesperson to edit is a valuable use of your coaching time.
2. Not Having Information About The Client’s Company. Interestingly though, they tend to not do enough due diligence on the prospective client’s product or services. They need to be focused more on learning about the client and less on presenting why their company’s products are the best.
3. Not Showing Proper Deference To The Client. This issue relates to style as much as anything else. Gen Y salespeople can come across as cocky little know-it-alls to prospective clients. Instead of telling a client what they should be doing, they need to be more consultative and ask questions. They also need to remember that the client knows more about his or her business than the salesperson does, and show respect for that knowledge.
4. Not Having A Clear Expectation And Goal For The Meeting. Too many times a Gen Y salesperson will go into a client meeting and not have a clear idea of what he or she wants to accomplish in that meeting. They need to decide what the end result goal of the meeting is to be, so that they can properly evaluate if it was a success. Simply presenting an idea and ending with an “I’ll get back with you next week,” isn’t a clear goal. An expectation of a “next step” at the very least, should be a goal for each meeting.
“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.” - Confucius
- 10 Phrases Your Salespeople Want To Hear
- Steve Jobs on Hiring And Managing Talented People
- 20 Low-Cost or No-Cost Ways to Increase Employee Engagement
- Tips For Coaching Your Salespeople
- The Number 1 Thing your Employees Want More Of…(No It’s Not Money)
- Do Your Salespeople Think Of You As A Manager Or A Leader?
Gen Y/Millennial Salespeople – The Facts Infographic:
I’m just going to start right off the bat and say, I know this whole topic is snarky and a little cynical. And, I know that this rant could be turned around and just as easily be stupid things interviewing managers say and do. (Hmmm, future blog post alert!) But, I’ve been compiling these “pet peeves” over the years and frankly, it’s time to air the dirty laundry. So, if you are interviewing or even just applying for a job – don’t do this stuff. If you are the hiring manager and see any of the things listed here, be wary! Oh, and feel free to pile on and add your comments as well.
Obviously when you are responding to a job posting, you aren’t going to use your email address at your current job; you use a personal email address. That’s fine. But if your personal email is a little too personal, like BustyBabe@whatever.com, don’t bother responding. Is it really that hard to go onto Yahoo or Google and create a new email address that is appropriate for business correspondence? How can I take you seriously, YouDaMan@ or LivinLarge@? (Yes, those are actual email monikers I’ve had correspondence from…)
If your mission statement/objective listed at the top of your resume says “Seeking a career position that utilizes my extensive knowledge of event coordination…” and the open position is for sales; I’m thinking “no.” Even if you don’t have relevant experience, at least tailor your objective to the position for which you are applying! Tell me why you want this position and what attributes you would bring to it. That opening statement on your resume is the hook – like the lead in a print article – to get me to keep reading. How about tailoring your whole resume to the job you are applying for while you’re at it? No, not lying, but customizing. That means listing the skills and experiences that are most relevant to this position.
Have examples to back up your claims about successes. I WANT to hear about how fabulous you are, but I need you to be able to give me specifics. I’m continually shocked at how many times someone will talk about being a “top-biller” or landing a great account and then not be able to give me a specific example. Specifics give you credibility, vagueness gives you the aura of a faker.
But don’t ramble. Yes, give examples and detail, but keep it focused and stay on point. Sometimes I want to shout, “You’re circling over Omaha, bring it in for a landing!”
Please stop answering “a little of both” to every question I ask about preferences. As in, “Do you prefer working independently or having a set path to follow?” Or, “Would you say you are someone who prefers a steady pace or someone who prefers not knowing what each day will bring?” Yes, to some degree you might like a little of both, but we’re talking about overall preferences – as in, if you had to choose which one suits you best. Stop straddling the middle of the road; take a stand and answer how you truly think.
Stop saying “like” when you should be using “said.” This is particularly an issue with ”Millennials” but not exclusively. As in, “I was like, ‘you shouldn’t do that’ and my boss was like, ‘it really doesn’t matter’.” It’s distracting, and I find myself counting how many times you say “like” instead of listening to what you are trying to tell me.
When I call you for an initial phone interview, could you at least seem a little excited? I have no visual cues to go on like you do in an in-person interview, so amp it up! Have extra energy to compensate for that lack of non-verbal information.
If you don’t stop giving me one or two-word responses, I swear I’m going to just abruptly end the interview with a two-word response of my own, as in “we’re done!” An interview is about exchanging information to see if you are the right fit for our company and if we are the right fit for you. It’s a conversation not an interrogation. If you don’t elaborate and give some depth and detail to your answers, that’s hard to do. If the interviewer isn’t very good at asking open-ended questions and is asking too many “yes” or “no” questions, you can always answer “yes” or “no” and then follow-up with an explanation or example.
Please don’t take two days to respond back to my email. Yes, I know you are busy with your current job, but if you aren’t getting back to me right away then I can only assume you would not get back to a client right away either.
Proof read EVERYTHING you send. I actually tracked this for a couple of weeks a few months ago. 89% of the emails, cover letters, or resumes that I received had typos or grammatical errors. Not only does this show lack of attention to detail, it also can make you look stupid. How do I know that you won’t make these same mistakes with clients? (For a whole separate blog rant on grammar and speaking mistakes click here.)
Dress appropriately for your in-person interview. And don’t bring your Starbucks in with you.
Answer my objections before I even bring them up to you. Evaluate yourself as if you are the prospective employer and all you know about you is what is on your resume or LinkedIn profile. What concerns would you have about hiring you? Chances are, I have the same concerns so be proactive and address them. It’s really impressive when you do – it shows self-awareness and of course the ability to overcome objections with a prospective client.
Be interested in the position you are applying for please! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been interviewing someone for a sales position only to discover in the interview that the person isn’t really interested in selling. (“What I really want is to be an on-air personality!” If you are only interested in this position as a way to get your foot in the door in the hopes of getting some completely non-related position in the company, you are wasting your time and mine.
Here’s an interesting infographic for Interviewers and Interviewees!
Infographic from www.ClassesandCareers.com
Think reference checking is a waste of time? Out of 17,368 people who were interviewing for a job* and who were told their interview statements and resume information would be verified, 1/3 were found to have lied!
Contrary to what many employers think, there really ARE effective ways to do reference checking on a salesperson (or sales manager) candidate and get valuable information to help you in your hiring decisions.
STEP 1: The Consent Form Waiver. Each candidate that you plan on checking references for should sign a reference check consent form. This has become standard procedure in many industries and a candidate should have no problem agreeing to this. (Click here for a sample form.) Having this is critical to getting reference participation, because you can then tell references you have this waiver and can email it to them. This enables references to feel more comfortable in being candid about the candidate.
STEP 2: You Choose The References. This is key… YOU can decide who you want to be a reference and tell the candidate, instead of the candidate choosing. How does this work? First, in your interviews with candidates, make sure you take good notes on the answers to your questions about former bosses, co-workers, and clients. Then, if you decide to proceed in the hiring process with the candidate, you will have a list of names to request to talk to and specific information to ask the references about in your call. Here are the types of questions that will yield you this information:
- Client Examples: Ask candidates to tell you about a sale (or accomplishment) with a customer they are proud of and why. Ask for one example from their current job, and one from a previous job. Jot down the names of the clients and a few key points. When you are ready to ask for references, tell the candidate you would like to talk to the current client. If the candidate says she can’t do that because she doesn’t want the current client to know she is interviewing, no problem, ask for the client from her previous position example. You can also ask for examples of long-term client relationships, clients where they grew them from small investments to large investments, etc.
- Former Boss Examples: Ask candidates to tell you about the best boss they ever had and why. Again, take note if they say the name of the person, at the very least they will certainly mention which company it was. Variations on this question could be, “From which boss did you learn the most? Which boss would you be willing to work for again and why?” When it is time to do reference checks you can refer back to these examples and tell the candidate you want to speak with them as references. Make it clear to candidates that it is your policy to speak to at a minimum, one former boss so they know this isn’t optional. If you get excuses such as the person isn’t there anymore or they are no longer in contact with the former boss, be wary. Rarely does a person lose contact with a favorite boss and have no idea how to get in touch with him or her.
- Co-worker Examples: Outside sales is an individual pursuit, not a team sport. However, it’s important to know if a candidate can play nice with others inside the building. Also, co-workers give you a different perspective of a person than that of former bosses and clients. Ask candidates for an example of how they worked with someone in another department to achieve a goal. A truthful example will almost always include a specific name of a person – even if it is just a first name. Note the key points of the example. Or, you could ask for an example of a co-worker they admired and why or who they learned from the most. Now you will have the name or names of co-workers that you can request to talk to for your reference checking.
You need to speak to a minimum of at least 3 references. It’s important to get a variety of perspectives in order to accurately judge the information you receive. Reference checking isn’t just about verifying facts, it also can significantly aid in understanding a person’s skills, and help you determine if the person is a good fit for your company’s culture and your management style.
STEP 3: How To Contact The References. What’s the best way for you to contact the references you have requested? You don’t, the candidate does. Once you have determined who you want to talk to you have the candidate call the references and set up the appointments. Aren’t they going to “coach” the references? If they are smart they will, but so what? That can happen no matter who is facilitating the calls, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get information that may help you.
Give the candidate several days and time windows to offer the references. By having the candidate set the calls, you don’t waste time chasing down the references and it dramatically increases the likelihood that the person will keep the appointment. Once the call appointments are confirmed have the candidate give you email addresses for each one so that you can send in advance of the call, a copy of the Reference Checking Consent Form Waiver that you had the candidate sign.
STEP 4: What To Ask The References. Obviously this depends on the relationship of the candidate to the person giving the reference. Here are some types of questions you might ask:
- Client References: Certainly you will want to refer back to your interview notes about the example the candidate gave you and ask some specific questions about it; such as, “Jessica said that she was most proud of the XYZ idea she put together for you. Can you tell me a little about that and why it was successful?” You might also ask what the client’s first impression of the candidate was and if that changed once the client started working with him or her. Or, ask the client how the candidate first approached the client and what persuaded the client to give her business to the candidate. Another good question is, “Jessica says she is a creative problem solver. Was she able to demonstrate that with you?” These types of questions will tell you a lot about the process candidates use in their selling as well as their relationship building skills.
- Former Boss References: You will want to ask some of the basic verification questions such as dates of employment, compensation, is the person eligible for re-hire, etc. Then you can get into asking questions about the specific example(s) the candidate gave you about that person. “John said that you were the best boss he ever had. What is it that you think was most important in managing him?” Other leading questions are, “What do you feel was John’s most significant accomplishment?” “How often did John surpass his budget goals?” “How does he handle stress?” “How does he build relationships with people inside the building?” “What are the most important things for me to do if I am his manager?” “What are his motivators?” “What should I be careful not to do?” You might want to wrap up with a “rating” question such as, “On a 1-5 scale with 5 being the absolute best, how would you rate John on: Professionalism… Dependability/Responsibility… Initiative… Sales Drive… Attitude?”
- Co-worker References: Start off with questions about the examples that the candidate gave you in the interview about this person. Ask a co-worker for three adjectives that come to mind when describing the candidate. You can ask the co-worker what attributes set this candidate apart from other salespeople. Ask the co-worker how he would describe the relationships that the candidate had with clients. You might want to ask if the candidate was good at developing relationships with support personnel and examples of such. Co-worker references can provide great insight into a candidate because people tend to be more relaxed and truer to their real nature when with co-workers versus a boss or a client.
When talking to references, don’t forget…
♦ Take good notes
♦ Follow H.R. policies
♦ Be friendly and conversational (this isn’t an interrogation)
♦ Ask open-ended questions
♦ Listen, listen, listen
Step 5: Social Media/Online Resources. Always check the candidate’s LinkedIn profile. They can be a treasure trove of information. You can also fact check information candidates have told you in the interview with their profile. Scroll through the candidate’s connections and see if you have any mutual ones or even 2nd degree connections. These are potentially people you may want to speak to in your reference checking.
There are online, automated services that can help you gather reference checking information and provide helpful additional insights. One such company is www.Checkster.com. You decide how many references and what type of references (i.e., 2 former bosses, 3 clients, etc.) you want the candidate to invite to participate. The references go online and answer a questionnaire about the candidate. The questions are tailored to your open job position and the information that is important to you. The references responses remain anonymous. This can significantly aid in references providing more specific information about the candidate.
The job candidate is required to sign an online consent form and a release of liabilities form. Because it is an automated process, it ensures that there is consistency in the questions being asked about each of your candidates. There is also a sophisticated reference fraud detection process in place. A minimum of 3 and a maximum of 20 references can participate and the candidate takes a self-assessment as well. The employer then receives a detailed report of the findings and a “gap analysis” report comparing the candidate’s self-assessment with that of the references. It’s economical (prices depend on volume) and a time efficient way to gather valuable information about your candidates. (Click HERE to test drive the process for free.)
One last thing… Don’t wait and do references on a final candidate. You may be too invested in the candidate by that point to evaluate the information you receive in an unbiased way. Instead, do reference checks earlier in the hiring process with perhaps your top 3 candidates. It’s too important to leave it to the last minute or not do at all!
“I don’t live to work, it’s more the other way around. I work to live. Incidentally, what’s your policy on Columbus Day?”
– Owen Wilson’s character in the movie “You, Me and Dupree”
* Research study by Julia Levashina, Frederick P. Morgeson, Michael A. Campion
Here’s an interesting infographic on the most popular lies people use on their resumés and in interviews….
Whether you are an Apple fan or not, it’s hard to deny that Steve Jobs was a brilliant and visionary business leader. (Full disclosure – I am not an Apple fan and only Android devices are allowed in our home!) In reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I am constantly amazed at Jobs’ ability to get people to do what he wanted them to do. While his tactics in people management make me wince – he either berated people and said they were the dumbest (insert profanity here) or said their idea was the most brilliant ever – he definitely had an eye for talent.
He was able to get the best and brightest to come to work for Apple even when the company was 30 days from bankruptcy. That is impressive. But what impressed me even more was that he knew what to look for in terms of talented people, what they wanted, and how that would further his goals.
Here is what Jobs told the author as quoted from Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs, about hiring talented people…
“For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one… The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A-players. People said they wouldn’t get along, they’d hate working with each other.
But I realized that A-players like to work with A-players, they just didn’t like working with C-players. At Pixar, it was a whole company of A-players. When I got back to Apple, that’s what I decided to try to do. You need to have a collaborative hiring process. When we hire someone, even if they’re going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers. My role model was J. Robert Oppenheimer. I read about the type of people he sought for the atom bomb project. I wasn’t nearly as good as he was, but that’s what I aspired to do.”
Ok, granted we are building sales teams not atom bombs. But think about what he says as it applies to a sales team. If he’s right that the difference between the best and average is about 30%, what could your sales team accomplish if it was 30% better?
Even more important is what Steve Jobs said about A-players wanting to work with A-players. He nailed this one. EVERY top sales performer I have ever interviewed has expressed this sentiment in some way or another. So many sales managers think that their team by necessity will be made up of A, B, and C-players. But top sales teams are made up of ALL A-players, meaning that all of the salespeople have A player talent and the potential to be top performers. Not all will be performing the same because some of those with A player talent might be rookies or salespeople new to your industry. If you have C-players – meaning those with just average talent who do just enough to get by (euphemistically called “role players” by managers) but will never be top performers – you will never maximize your team’s performance.
By keeping those C-players you are also impacting your A-players. Not only do they typically not want to be surrounded by those of lesser talent, they also find it de-motivating. It’s like a pro tennis player playing a match against a junior. Not only isn’t it fun, it can degrade your skills because people tend to “play down” to the level they are playing against. A-players are motivated by other A-players and push themselves because they want to stay in the top group and be respected by those top people.
As you begin this new year, take some time to evaluate where you want to be by the end of the year, and if you have the talent to get there.
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” -Steve Jobs
The 12 Most Inspirational Quotes From Steve Jobs
Graphic by Tanner Ringerud, Head of Creative Services at BuzzFeed
A research study recently done in the UK found that 70% of employees see their “9-5 buddies” as the most important factor in enjoying their job. While the survey was not done only with salespeople, I have to think, given the social nature of most salespeople, that this would be a key factor among them as well. Additionally the study found that only 55% thought money was the most important thing. (Ok, that percentage might not be as high among salespeople!) I think this survey’s findings* on the importance of having a connection with your co-workers, further underscores the need for every newly hired salesperson to have a sales “buddy” or what I like to call a “Sales Pal.”
One of the best ways to create a successful launch of a new hire is to pair him or her with an accomplished salesperson who is interested in helping others succeed by being a mentor. In other words…a Sales Pal.
Need more convincing? 87% of the top 100 training programs used a mentoring/buddy system as part of their onboarding for new hires.** (Tips For Creating A Salesperson Onboarding Program.)
Another study found that 60% of managers who fail to onboard successfully, cite failure to establish effective co-worker relationships as a primary reason.*** Researchers also found that new employees are more likely to have learned and embraced company values and culture if they have a mentor or buddy.***
So, boil all this down and what does it mean? Sales Pal = Retention
What is a Sales Pal?
A Sales Pal is someone who takes on the role of a “player/coach” with your new hire. The Sales Pal is there as a resource and peer adviser. A Sales Pal should be a superior performer (not necessarily someone who has been there the longest) and have good interpersonal skills and a desire to coach and help others.
The Sales Pal is someone who knows what it takes to be successful in this particular sales role in your organization. He or she can be instrumental in guiding the new hire in the right direction. The Sales Pale should not be responsible for providing sales training but rather training in how things get done in your company. Every sales department is different.
The Sales Pal should be someone that the new hire can easily relate to and can trust completely. One of the purposes of this role is to create an informal environment in which the employee can ask and receive information about the ins and outs of how things work in your department and in your company. These may be questions that the new hire would be hesitant to ask you, because you are the boss. Besides, what if it’s a question about how to best handle you?!
The other important purpose of a Sales Pal is that having someone in this role has been shown to significantly speed up the learning curve for the new hire. Additionally, it helps establish a comfort level for the new hire and a feeling that someone at work cares about his or her success and “has my back.” It creates a sense of belonging. All new hires should have a Sales Pal whether they are a rookie seller or a veteran seller with years of experience.
Provide the Sales Pal with any tools that might be needed to be effective. Go over with the Sales Pal what your expectations are for how this person will help the new hire and how you envision the person maximizing the relationship. Give pointers on coaching and effective communication skills. You should monitor how things are going periodically. Check in with both the new hire and the Sales Pal to get input from each on the process. If it is not working, or not a good fit, consider a change to someone different. You can always position it as you want to expose the new hire to different types of successful sellers.
You should be sure that the salesperson you select understands that there is no additional pay or compensation for being a Sales Pal. However, if you can provide small tokens of appreciation, that can be a nice, unexpected touch that demonstrates your gratitude.
It is usually not a good idea to have the same person be a Sales Pal for every new hire. You will want to rotate this among several accomplished salespeople.
How To Select The Right Sales Pal
- Select someone who you are sure will be a positive role model and who WANTS to do it. Not everyone will want to invest the time and effort in doing something like this. Make clear that this is a commitment for more than just a week – it is open ended.
- Ensure the Sales Pal has time to be accessible to the new hire and that it won’t affect the person’s own selling. Someone who is disorganized or has difficulty with time management is likely not a good selection.
- Try to match the new hire with a Sales Pal that you think he or she will relate best to and learn the most from.
- Select someone who is proud of your organization and has demonstrated strong interpersonal and leadership skills. It also should be someone who can teach and communicate procedures and policies well.
- Select someone who is energized by taking on additional responsibilities and will look at being selected as a reward of recognition not a burden.
Sales Pal Responsibilities
- Be an accessible resource and coach for the new hire on policies, procedures, work rules, company culture, clients, etc.
- Don’t try to clone yourself. The new hire may have a different way of selling and that’s fine.
- Don’t be judgmental or criticize. Be a sounding board or let the new hire vent when needed.
- Provide insight and positive feedback to the new hire on things that you are observing and offer guidance.
- Introduce and include the new hire in social interactions in the office to facilitate the person feeling that he or she is a valued part of the team.
- Assist in training the new hire at the sales manager’s direction.
- Be patient, invest in the relationship and don’t try to cover everything in a day or a week.
- Identify additional resources for the new hire.
- Be discreet. The new hire will only trust you if he or she knows that you will keep things confidential.
- Be positive. A new hire already is nervous and may have doubts. If you are not a positive influence that will increase a person’s anxiety about this new position.
- Be proactive. Ask the new hire specific questions about how things are progressing and how you could help.
- Try to avoid giving your opinions about others in the office and no gossiping.
Take the time to map out a formal Sales Pal program for your sales department. As Robin would say, “Holy cow Batman, that’s brilliant!”* Jobsite.co.uk, ** As ranked by Training Magazine, *** “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success” by Talya N. Baver, PhD.
(Here’s an infographic on research Gallup, Inc. has done on the importance of having a “best friend” at work. Will a “Sales Pal” become a best friend? Who knows? But it couldn’t hurt!)
- Social Tools Can Improve Employee Onboarding (blogs.hbr.org)
- Onboarding: The Made-Up Word that Delivers Big Value (openviewpartners.com)
- The Importance Of Being Trained: Why Onboarding Increases Employee Retention (dyn.com)
What time of day is best to Tweet? What day is best to do a LinkedIn update? Is there an ideal message length to increase clicks? (Yes!) Can including a question mark or exclamation point impact the number of clicks you receive? (Yes!) Should you use a hashtag in your Tweet if it is a Business To Consumer message? (maybe not).
The company Compendium did a study with more than 200 companies, to find out how companies can get the most effective Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter engagement when they post. Their study looked at variables including number of words, punctuation marks, times of day, and days of the week to determine what worked best for business-to-business and business-to-consumer postings.
Some of the key findings were:
Best Days To Post: Monday and Wednesday are best on Twitter if you are marketing to consumers, and LinkedIn is better on Monday. But if your company is targeting business-to-business services/products, post to LinkedIn on Sunday, and to Twitter on Wednesday.
Best Time Of Day: The time of day you send out your social messages makes a huge difference in terms of getting maximum clicks. The best time to share on Twitter is between 10am-2pm. Facebook content numbers spike in a more narrow window, between 11am-noon, and then again in late afternoon. LinkedIn content is read (as you would expect) in the morning and around lunch.
Ideal Length of Post: There does seem to be an “ideal length” for messages in terms of engagement. For B2B on LinkedIn ideal length is 16-25 words, and 11-25 on Twitter. For postings targeted to consumers on LinkedIn 21-25 words is ideal length, with 1-5 on Twitter. So apparently getting that marketing Tweet down to five words is your next big task.
Using Question Marks: Now here is a really surprising finding! Messages on LinkedIn and Twitter can receive between 25 and 52% fewer clicks if they include a question mark. This is odd because some research studies I’ve seen show that asking a question in your message increases engagement. So, I guess the takeaway is ask the question but don’t put a questions mark on the end of the post!
Using Exclamation Points: It’s a mixed bag of results for exclamation points (my personal favorite). Using an exclamation mark can create about 25% more clicks on LinkedIn, but 8-15% fewer clicks on Twitter.
Using Hashtags: Do you use hashtags on your Tweets? We’ve all been told to do this to make it easier for people to search Tweets by keywords, right? For business-to-business Tweets including # can cause 193% more clicks. Wow! However, if your message is to consumers it can cause 82% fewer clicks. I’d love to know why consumers are so turned off by a hashtag.
Using Numbers: Usually we use a number instead of spelling out the word for sake of brevity in postings. Interestingly, using a number doesn’t change much in terms of clicks with one exception. Business-to-business Tweets with numbers get 50% more clicks.
You can find all of the study’s findings below in this infographic:
46% of new hires fail within 18 months. Only 19% will achieve unequivocal success.
When I read those scary statistics (courtesy of Profiles International, Inc.) I was shocked. Sure, I’ve seen more than a few terrific new hires circle the drain quickly, but I never would have guessed those numbers! So, I started reading up on the topic to find out why such a high percentage of new hires fail – and focused more specifically on salespeople.
What did I find? Overwhelming evidence that how we handle a newly hired salesperson’s (or any professional new hire for that matter) first 30 days largely determines whether or not that new hire will be in that rare group of 19% who are successful. If you want that talented new salesperson you’ve hired to be successful in your company, there are definitive steps you need to take to make that happen. Talent and/or experience alone are not enough for a salesperson to succeed.
Before The First Day Checklist:
- Keep in touch with the new hire at least once a week until the person starts. Just because you’ve offered the job and the person has accepted doesn’t mean that things can’t change between that point and the person’s first day.
- Prepare a Schedule/Agenda that outlines exactly what the person will be doing each day during training, who he or she will be meeting with and when. Email the person a copy of this before the first day and have a copy ready on his or her desk.
- Offer the new hire a “family tour” of your offices. Not only does this help the person by showing them where they park, what door to come in, etc., it also builds family buy-in and engenders good feelings.
- Make sure you have sent out an email to all employees ahead of time announcing the hiring with information about the salesperson, so that employees can extend a warm welcome. Include the new hire’s email address (with his or her permission) and ask employees to reach out before he or she starts with a welcome email note.
- Have business cards printed and on the new salesperson’s desk.
- Give the receptionist the new salesperson’s name and photo if you have it (LinkedIn is a good place to check) so that the new sales person can be recognized and greeted warmly. Post it in your lunchroom too.
- Make sure the new salesperson’s desk/cubicle is clean – check drawers and files. Have it stocked with pens, stapler, tape, legal pad, post it notes, scissors, paper clips, staples, file folders, and hanging files – no searching for supplies.
- Make the desk/cubicle inviting by placing a “welcome” card signed by the sales staff. Consider a welcome package such as a basket of his or her favorite snacks and company swag (logo tee shirts, coffee mug, etc.)
- Have a printed list of employees’ names, department, and phone numbers.
- Make sure the new salesperson’s phone, email, and computer are working and ready to be used on day one including any password access that is needed.
- If any files are left from the previous person who sat there GO THROUGH THEM and remove anything that does not have to be in the file. No need for new hires to start their first day wondering why their predecessor is not there!
- Have all of the forms and HR paperwork that the new salesperson will need to fill out, ready and waiting. If you are not going through it with the person and HR is, make sure you have scheduled an appointment ahead of time with that department for the new salesperson’s first day.
Being prepared in advance for your new hire sends the message to the person that he or she is important to you. It says you are invested in making this person a success and sets the right tone for your relationship.
Doing the steps listed above will help ensure your new salespeople get a great launch into your organization on that all important first day. But to get them into that 19% of successful hires, you have to make sure the next 29 days (or more!) are designed to give them the training, development, and support needed to keep them engaged; and that means having a well thought-out Onboarding Plan. Click here for Tips For Developing Your Onboarding Program.
Research has found that it takes a new salesperson in a company without an effective onboarding program 51% longer to generate the same revenue as a new salesperson in a company with an effective onboarding program.
If you’ve done any interviewing I’m sure you have a few questions that you ask every candidate. We all have our favorite questions for various reasons. Because I have interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of salespeople over the years, I now have accumulated quite a few “favorites.” I’ve found great questions in so many different places….Books, articles, internet, co-workers, and from salespeople themselves.
These are the questions that I have found most effective in helping uncover a candidate’s sales talents and characteristics. What you won’t see in this list are questions that are designed to catch a candidate off guard. I’m not a big fan of that. Actually, my experience usually is that the more relaxed candidates are with you, the more likely they are to reveal their true thoughts and show their real characteristics. So, my interviews tend to be very conversational – not confrontational. But you do have to be careful not to tip off the candidate as to the answer you are looking for, so watch your body language. Or, if you are interviewing over the phone, don’t lead the candidate towards a particular answer with your responses and verbal cues. (see my post “The Dos And Don’ts Of Interviewing).
Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list of all the questions you need to ask when interviewing a salesperson. And, not all of these questions may be right for your particular sales position. These questions are geared to an experienced seller, not a rookie, and not all of them are asked on the first interview.
After I interview a candidate I go back through my notes on their answers. This helps me evaluate whether or not I want to move forward with a candidate (either to the next round of interviews or take a sales talent assessment). The great thing about doing this with each candidate is that over time, you are able to see what types of answers correspond with candidates who do well on the sales assessment and are high performers in the job. Using that information, you can edit your questions accordingly and make your interviews even more effective! So, without further ado…
My 25 Favorite Salesperson Interview Questions:
- What do you say when the prospect says send me some information?
- In your work, what feels like a win to you?
- What do you like and dislike about your current sales job and why?
- What do you do personally for your professional development?
- Describe a situation with a client or prospect where you made a mistake. How did you handle the error?
- What are your top three open-ended questions for initial sales calls?
- What do you see as the key skills in closing?
- What are some of the challenges you see that are facing this industry?
- How do you find and target new accounts for prospecting?
- What kind of problems do you have to solve as a salesperson?
- Do you follow a sales system? Please describe.
- What kind of sales environment do you thrive in? Why?
- What do you want your next job to do for you that your last job didn’t?
- Tell me about a buyer or customer you call on. What motivates him/her? What are his/her personality traits and needs? How do you sell him/her?
- What percentage did your sales increase or decrease last quarter versus the same quarter last year and why?
- What are your favorite closing questions?
- What motivates you?
- What is the toughest goal you ever set for yourself?
- Tell me about something specific in your current job that you think you do significantly better than others in the same position. Why is that the case?
- Which phase of the sales process do you like most? Which one the least? Why?
- What concerns do you have about working under a commission pay plan?
- Why would we be sorry if we didn’t hire you?
- Describe the most challenging objection or rejection you’ve faced in a sale and how you responded.
- Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to getting a sale.
- How important is it to you to lead others?
Check out this infographic on strange but true actual interview questions…
“If it’s free, it’s for me!” as the old saying goes. Then again, you have to balance that with, “You get what you pay for!” Recently, I have been helping clients with their sales recruitment efforts. We all know that it is hard to find qualified, outside, commissioned, salespeople regardless of the industry you are in. If you are a large company with a H.R. department that can spend $400 to place ads on CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com, that’s great. But, I started to wonder, ”Is there a better way?” So, I began researching job websites, job boards, and aggregators. I started trolling recruitment groups and websites to learn what works and what doesn’t. I’m increasingly finding that spending big money on recruitment ads is only one option in the recruitment wheelhouse. In fact, there are a number of $0 ways to find your next salesperson that can work even better than the high cost traditional route.
Most job sites are free for the job seeker, but of course can be quite costly for the employer to post a job. But did you know that there are many “free-to-post” job websites, boards, and aggregators available?
Before we get to those, I’ll quickly review some of the basic social media things you should already be doing. Taking advantage of all the free ways you can use social media for recruitment, is a quick and painless way to effectively get the word out about your open position. At a minimum, you should post the job opening in the following ways:
1. A status update on your personal and company LinkedIn Page.
2. Asked your employees to do the same on their LinkedIn Profile Page.
3. Posted the position on your company Facebook Page.
4. Asked your employees to post about the position on their Facebook Pages.
5. Posted the position on your company website.
6. Tweeted the position to your company followers.(Please see my blog posts; Recruit Top Sales Talent Using LinkedIn & Your Website, 6 Free Ways To Recruit Salespeople on LinkedIn and 6 Free Ways To Recruit Salespeople On Twitter for more info on these topics.)
After all these years, I’m still convinced that the number one way to find your next sales superstar is a referral from your current sales superstars. This should always be your number one focus. Involve your sellers in every way you can think of in order to find the right person. And don’t forget, this should be an ongoing process – not just something you do when you have an opening.
Now, if you’ve done those steps, you are ready to post it to these free job websites. All of these that I have listed are completely free to use, not a limited time trial free offer. Several also have upgrade services that you can purchase, but I think the basic services are amazing for what you get.
This job site features an easy-to-use interface. (The founder tested it with his 92 year old grandmother!). If you want to be proactive, it offers resume search and you can also have them email you resumes that match your keywords or browsing history. However, I did not find many resumes that were current in the “sales” category. Most were from 2010-2011. You can post unlimited jobs for free and applicants can apply on-line. The website says that they have over 4 million jobs in their search engine.
Gigajob claims 2,399,302 members with 265,753 jobs posted and 1,645 resumes. The site confused me at first because it says, “Gigajob $1 is your free job site – for finding jobs and filling job vacancies.” Huh? But it is free. The website is owned by a German company and I suspect the $1 might be a typo and is supposed to say #1. Regardless, there are lots of great features here. You can search resumes (which are current) or set up resume email alerts. It provides you with a url link to the job you post and you can include that link on your website, Facebook page, email signature, etc. This is great if you don’t have a way for people to apply online from your own website. You can simply redirect them with the link to your posting on Gigajob which DOES have an online application feature. The applications will come directly to you. Their site will show you how many people have viewed your job posts and a nice touch is that you can upload your logo and place it on the job posting.
This site is a bit confusing at first because it is ad supported (all of them are – which is why they are free!), but the ads are placed haphazardly around the pages. It does have a resume search option but most of the ones I found were from 2010 or older. However, LotsOfJobs claims 49,898 users registered and offers some great functions. You can create a company profile for applicants to view that includes your logo and company information. When you post a job you can select for candidates to apply on-line, be redirected to your own website url, or specify an email address to reply to. You also are able to see how many people have viewed your job posting(s) each day.
One of the big pluses to this site is that it is also indexed by SimplyHired.com which is one of the largest search engine aggregators. JobSpider says that it is the #1 free internet job search engine and jobs board. It features a resume search function and a quick review of it showed some dated resumes but also many current ones as well. You can view how many people see your job posting each day and it also has the apply on line option.
Jobvertise is well established in this area having been around for over 10 years on the net. They claim over one million resumes and 250,000 jobs. The basic service is free and there are upgrades that you can purchase. Along with the resume search function you can receive relevant resumes emailed to you. The resumes are very current although as a basic customer (i.e., FREE) you do not see a resume in your search until it has been up for 21 days. When you post a job you can create a customized “Jobs Page” for candidates to view which lists all the jobs you have available. You can even add your own HTML to it or import it onto your own website. Very cool! It also has the online application feature which makes it easy for people to respond to your job posting.
Like JobSpider, this site is also indexed by SimplyHired.com, so that is a great bonus. It boasts 1500 employers and 350,000 users. It has a resume search, however, it does not list the date the resumes were posted so you have no way of knowing if they are current. I like that it offers you a company profile page complete with logo and a specific url that you can use to direct people to your job postings. Also, each job posting that you post has a specific url that you can link to as well. The job posting has an apply on line button. ResumeBucket does not give you any analytics on your job postings so you do not know how many have viewed your listing.
This site is the new kid on the block. It is about a year old and is one of Inc. magazine’s fastest growing companies. It is not a jobs only website. It is more like a Craig’s List. Just like newspaper classifieds, there are many different categories. There is a very large Jobs section. The site itself lists over 500,000 new listings per month so it is definitely getting good eyeball traffic. In your job posting you can include click-able links (to your website, Facebook page, etc.). It offers the apply on line function as well as a specific url address to view the ad that you can reference on your other social media sites. ClassifiedAds also shows you how many times your job posting has been viewed.
The site claims 15,000 job postings. You can browse resumes or set up the automated feature that emails you when resumes matching your keywords are posted. All of the jobs are “human edited” which keeps the “work at home” offers from cluttering up the job postings. It does offer a company profile page where allegedly you can upload a logo. I did not have any success in doing so. AllStarJobs also is indexed by Simply Hired which gives you additional visibility. It offers the online application button and tells you how many people have seen your posting.
This is the “granddaddy” of all the job sites and job boards. It has over 10,000 job channels on Twitter. A listing on TweetMyJobs automatically is distributed to Simply Hired, JuJu, Trovit and other job aggregators. In addition, job seekers are instantaneously notified as soon as a relevant job is posted that matches what they are looking for. This means that Twitter members who have indicated they are interested in sales positions in your area would be sent a text or email alert about your position.
Every job posted at TweetMyJobs is included on TweetMyJobs.com, where job seekers can search job listings according to the criteria they select. TweetMyJobs has a Facebook app that facilitates referrals by showing interested candidates if any of their friends have inside connections with your company. The site will also email you an analytics report that details your job posting views. If you are not listing on TweetMyJobs you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity.
With 950,000 monthly Facebook users, this is one of Facebook’s “power apps.” (Log in to Facebook and search “Marketplace by Oodle”) This is not exclusively a job posting site or job board. It is more like classifieds (many liken it also to ebay). While you can sell items on Marketplace, it is much more than that. It has a very active and in-depth Jobs section. Here you can post your open position(s) and then link it to your Company Facebook page as one of the “app boxes” below your timeline cover photo. Then when interested parties click on it, they are taken directly to your job listings on Facebook Marketplace. The one thing it is missing that I wish it had is that you do not know how many people view your listing. However, if you connect it to an app box on your Company Facebook Page you WILL be able to see how many people have clicked the Marketplace app box on your page by looking under “Reach” in your site analytics. This is a terrific free service and you should jump on it before Facebook appropriates it and starts charging!
A couple of things to remember about posting to these job sites…. Don’t forget to make a note of which ones you have posted to so that you can go in and either renew an ad when it is about to expire or cancel it when you have filled the position. Some automatically expire after 30 days – some are open ended. Also, keep track of where your applicants are coming from so that you will know which sites deliver you the best results. And, if they are working for you – go back and give them some positive feedback and appreciation for the free services.
One last thought…The sites I list above are mass targeted job sites. You should do an internet search to see if your particular industry has some free job boards or job websites too.
If you know of any additional free job posting sites that you would like to share, please hit the comment button and let us know!
For my media sales folks – I have found these industry specific free job posting sites:
What questions should you ask? What questions can you ask? What questions should you never ask?
The interviewing process is obviously is a critical component to hiring the right person. However, most managers are given little or no training in how to interview and have to develop their skills through trial and error. That can be costly in more ways than one. Not only does that mean you might not be finding out the information you need to know, it also leaves you open to discrimination claims and potential lawsuits. Not only should a manager know the following information, but if co-workers in other departments are also interviewing your candidate, make sure they know as well.
When you are interviewing the candidate, stick to pre-planned questions throughout the interview. From a legal perspective as well as properly evaluating talent, the best interviews are those where the interviewer asks every candidate the same questions. By doing so, you can compare the candidates accurately.
The more methodical and systematic your interview process is, the more likely it will provide you the information needed to make good judgments about individuals’ fit for the position. The key is taking accurate notes of their answers so you can evaluate them and documenting in writing each step of the interview process.
For a successful interview, “DO” this:
- Describe the interview process and let them know that you will be taking notes or using a tape recorder.
- Avoid asking questions that can be answered with “yes” and “no”.
- After you ask a question give the candidate a chance to elaborate. Silences can provoke additional responses.
- If the candidate doesn’t have an answer on a question or seems nervous, go to another question. You can always come back to the question later once the person is more comfortable.
- Be careful that your body language or verbal responses are not telegraphing to the candidate the answer you are looking for – remain neutral such as, “I see, how so, tell me more, interesting,” etc.
- LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN! Do not tell stories or go off on tangents, stick to just asking the questions. Conversation can come later.
- After you have asked all of your questions, ask the candidate what questions he or she has for you.
- Know when to bring the interview to a close. Don’t go on too long or drag it out.
- Do not document such things as young, old, good-looking, or any type of physical attribute.
- Do not shorten an interview that is ordinarily scheduled for a certain amount of time. If the interview routine lasts an hour, do not shorten it. It could later be used in a discrimination suit.
- Do not imply long-term employment. The interviewer may defeat the “at-will employment” by statements made in an interview.
- Do not inquire about children or ask if childcare arrangements have been made.
- Do not ask the candidate’s age, what year he or she graduated from school.
- Do not ask for a photograph.
- Do not ask if the person owns a home or how long a person has lived at a particular address.
- Do not ask, directly or indirectly, information about social organizations, religious affiliations (do you go to church?) or clubs to which the candidate belongs.
- Do not inquire about the candidates feelings toward working with co-workers of different races.
- Do not ask the candidates to specify where they or their parents were born. You may ask them if they are able to verify that they can legally work in the U.S.
- Do not ask questions about marital status, number or age of children, pregnancy, or future childbearing plans.
- Do not ask for a maiden name.
- Do not ask the candidate to discuss a physical condition or disability. Do not ask if the candidate as ever been treated for a specific condition or if they have been hospitalized.
- Do not ask candidates if they have ever been treated by a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist; if they have had a major illness in the last five years; or how many sick days they took off from work.
- Do not ask if they are taking any prescription drugs; if they have ever been treated for a drug addiction or alcoholism.
- Do not ask if they have ever filed for workers’ compensation insurance.
- Do not ask the candidate about the type of discharge from military service.
- Do not ask about arrest records. You can ask if the person has been convicted of a felony but cannot automatically exclude people with convictions unless it is appropriate to the job.
- If the candidate has a visible disability (e.g. uses a wheelchair), or volunteers information about a disability, the interviewer may not ask questions about the nature of the disability, the severity, the condition causing the disability, any prognosis, or if the candidate might need any special leave because of the disability.
- The interviewer may describe the specific tasks or functions of the job and ask whether the candidate can perform these functions with or without a reasonable accommodation. Interviewers can ask questions related to essential job functions. If a candidate asks about an accommodation, the interviewer can ask what the candidate thinks he/she needs to perform the job.
And most importantly, write down your impressions of the candidate right after the interview. Otherwise you could forget important details, especially when you are interviewing many candidates over a period of time.
Here’s a fun Infographic on the strangest interview questions ever!
“A Twitter follower is almost 3 times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection and 8 times more likely to apply than a Facebook friend.” This is according to the 2012 Social Recruiting Activity Report done by Bullhorn. They used data from over 35,000 recruiters to identify current trends and successes in social recruiting. Considering those statistics and that Twitter is the easiest to use of all the social media sites, it makes sense to use it for recruiting salespeople.
Twitter is also a great way to learn about a candidate who does apply for a sales position. Go the person’s Twitter page profile and read through it. It can give you insight on how they communicate and what they find interesting. Is there a good balance between interesting information and just fun things? How large is their network? Does it include people within your industry? Is the person respectful of others and engage in conversations? Does it look like this is someone you would like to work with every day?
If your company does not have a Twitter account, you need to set one up first and get people to follow it. It’s easy and quick to do. There’s a great guide to doing this at https://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics#topic_104.
1. Add The Twitter Follow Button To Your Website
Hopefully, you have already done this, but in case you haven’t, add the Twitter Follow Button to your company website to build up your followers on Twitter and thus increase your potential audience when you Tweet about a job opening. The Follow Button allows users to sign up as a follower of your Twitter account, directly from your website where the button is installed.
To add the Follow Button to your website, log in to your Twitter account and then go to: https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons#follow
2. Add The Tweet Button To Your Website’s Job Posting
The Twitter Follow Button as described above, allows a person to become a follower of your Tweets. But the Twitter Tweet Button is different. The Tweet Button is placed next to specific things on your website like a job posting.
Placing the Tweet Button next to your job posting makes it easy for someone to “re-tweet” your job posting if they come across it on your website’s Jobs Page. This allows a person to quickly share the website content with all of that person’s Twitter followers. By clicking the Tweet button a pre-populated Tweet box pops up containing a link to your webpage, and the person can type in a message before sending out as a Tweet. Ask your employees to do this. By doing so, your job posting now gets “re-tweeted” to hundreds if not thousands of people – all at no cost.
To add the Tweet Button to your website, log in to your Twitter account and then go to: https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons
3. Tweet To Your Followers
Twitter can be an effective way to get the word out quickly about your job opening. Use your company’s Twitter account to Tweet a message to your followers and ask them to “re-tweet” it to their followers.
Use hash tags in your Tweet. To make your job posting tweets standout you can also use hash tags which are the “pound sign” on your keyboard, (#). Hash tags are used as a way to filter and find information on Twitter. All you have to do is include the hash tag with a keyword in your tweet and it becomes instantly searchable. Here are a few examples of hash tags you might consider using: #radiojob, #jobpost, #employment, #recruiting, #hiring, #radio career, #staffing, #salesjob, #NAJ (that is Twitter lingo for ‘Need A Job?’)
You can use more than one hash tag in your tweet but remember you are limited to 140 characters so be strategic in which hash tags you use. They are one of the best and easiest sources to find engaged users who are looking for jobs. It also helps others who are not your followers to find your Tweet in searches. For example if you had a Tweet along the lines of:
Love Radio? Come sell with us. Great commission. More info at www.ourstation.com/jobs.html #radio jobs
Anyone who does a search using the key words of “radio jobs” would see your Tweet. You can try different hash tags with your Tweet and see what garners you the best response. You can make anything a hash tag, including the name of your company.
4. Search For Candidates
You can also be proactive and search and source directly for job seekers, using keyword search. Free sites like Search.Twitter.com allow you to search by hash tag (i.e., “radio sales”), keyword, and with their advanced search, even by zip code radius. Enter keywords such as “media salesperson” or “commission sales”. The more keyword combinations you try the more results you will get. One benefit to using Twitter is that they allow you to contact members directly. Once you have a name you can contact the person with information to see if he or she is interested.
5. Job Post On Social Media Job Boards
There are many social media job boards out there where you can post a job and have it aggregated to sites like Twitter and Facebook. A great FREE resource to use is www.TweetMyJobs.com. It is a social media job board. It’s unlike the usual “job board” in that job seekers are instantaneously notified as soon as a relevant job is tweeted that matches what they are looking for. This means that Twitter members who have indicated they are interested in media sales positions would be sent a text or email alert about your position (if it meets their other criteria such as location).
Every job posted at TweetMyJobs is included on TweetMyJobs.com, where job seekers can search job listings according to the criteria they select. TweetMyJobs has a Facebook app that facilitates referrals by showing interested candidates if any of their friends have inside connections with your company.
Also, the job posting is included in the leading job search aggregator sites such as Simply Hired, Juju and Trovit automatically. Another great aspect of this service is the opportunity to track where your results are coming from through the use of the “personal dashboard” at TweetMyJobs. It provides you with an overview of how your jobs are performing in real time. You can see which distribution sources are sending you applications.
For a listing of other FREE to post job boards and websites click on Looking To Hire? 10 FREE Recruitment Websites.
6. Link Your Tweets To Your Facebook Page
You can link your Twitter account to your Facebook account so that your Tweets will automatically post to your Facebook page’s wall. This is a great way to cross promote and drive your Facebook followers to your Twitter page and vice versa.
Just log in to your Twitter account and go to your settings. In settings, click on the “profile” tab on the right side of the page. Scroll to the bottom and click “sign in to Facebook and connect your accounts.” Click “log in with Facebook” and you will be prompted to enter your Facebook password. Click “allow” to accept permissions. That’s it! now your tweets will post to your Facebook wall (re-tweets and replies will not post).
Check out this Infographic for more interesting information on how social recruiting is growing and being utilized.
If you are not using LinkedIn to recruit top sales talent, you are missing a key component to your recruitment strategy. 94.5% of recruiters say they have successfully filled positions using LinkedIn (see Infographic below). The best part of using LinkedIn is that there are several free ways to get terrific results. Below are the ones that I’ve found most effective.
1. Your LinkedIn Company Page
If you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page or possibly worse, an incomplete or not up-to-date one, this is your first place to start. If only your corporate parent has a LinkedIn Company Page, consider creating one for just your operation. A LinkedIn Company Page is usually one of the first places a top talent prospect will go to get information about you. Fill out all the tabs including the “Products/Services” which is where you can showcase all that your company has to offer a perspective employee. You can also upload photos, videos (employee videos and recommendations are a big plus), and your company’s website address(es). To create one go to www.LinkedIn.com/company/add/show.
2. Ask Employees To Link To Your Company Page
To optimize your LinkedIn Company Page for recruiting, ask EVERY employee to link his or her LinkedIn profile page to your Company Page. When a potential candidate sees a lot of employees linked, it represents your company as having engaged employees – a good sign. Also, it allows the person to check and see if he or she has any connections among your employees. For directions on how employees can link their personal profile pages to your LinkedIn Company Page go to http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1588.
3. Post A Job Opening Status Update
You can post a Status Update featuring information about your job opening on the Overview tab of your Company Page. This will be viewable to anyone who views your Company Page and will also be sent out to any of your “followers.”
4. Employee Status Updates
Ask your employees to also post a “Status Update” on their individual LinkedIn profile pages about the job opening. Ask them to be sure to include a link to your LinkedIn Company Page. This is like getting a “referral” as potential job prospects know that only engaged employees would recommend their place of work to someone they know. The multiplier effect of having this done by your employees means that your job opening is potentially being seen now by several hundred (or more) business professionals.
The Advanced Search function on LinkedIn is a fast way for you to proactively find potential job candidates. On your LinkedIn home page go to the right hand corner of the page to the Search Bar and click on Advanced which will take you to the Advanced Search page. On that page you can enter keywords (such as “sales account manager”), location, industry, etc. When you click “search” it will bring back results that fit your criteria. It will show you whether anyone in your network is connected to the people in the search results. If so, you can “Request An Introduction.” If not, you can click on “Connect” and leave the person a message.
6. Post To Your Groups
What groups do you belong to on LinkedIn? If you are not in ANY industry specific groups you should do a search in the top right search box (change to “groups” from “people” with the drop down arrow) and find some to join. Once you have joined Groups you can then post job information by clicking on the Jobs tab on a Group’s home page. You will see that there is an option to “Post a job and share it with this group” but that is available only if you have purchased a LinkedIn job ad. However, you can post your job opening where it says “Post a Job Discussion in this group”
Bonus Idea: FREE Internship & Entry Level Job Postings
LinkedIn has over 20 million student members! If you are looking for college students to intern or for recent college graduates, you should take advantage of a current LinkedIn offering. You can promote your job openings on LinkedIn’s new student jobs portal for free through June 2013. Go to http://lnkd.in/freestudentjobs to get started.
Infographic from http://www.infographiclabs.com
Did you know that LinkedIn is the number one social network for job recruiting? Using LinkedIn to find your next salesperson is a great way to reach talented passive job seekers (those are the potential candidates that are currently employed but might be interested if the right job came along.) And the best part about using LinkedIn for recruitment is that it can be done at NO COST.
In this post I’m going to highlight a few of what I think are the best ways to integrate LinkedIn to your company website, for recruitment purposes. In a subsequent post I will go over how to use LinkedIn’s website for recruiting sales people.
Place the LinkedIn Follow Company Button on your website’s Careers page, Contact Us page and homepage. Or, you could place it as part of your header (or footer) on each webpage. People who are interested in working for your company will get Status Updates about job openings that you post on your LinkedIn Company Page, in their LinkedIn news feed. (Make sure you don’t forget to post job openings as Status Updates on your LinkedIn Company Page and take them off when you have filled the position.)
Place it on the Careers page of your website. This enables visitors to your website to click the button and quickly share the job information with other LinkedIn members whom they think will be interested in the position.
Company Profile Plugin
If you already have an About Us type of page on your website you don’t need this plugin. However, if you don’t, this plugin can function as a virtual business card for your company. It features your logo, a Follow button, a description of your company, and the number of employees who are on LinkedIn. There are several versions of this plugin to choose from to put on your website. You can place it as an icon that when clicked on it opens for more info, or a larger version which is already open and could be placed at the bottom of your Careers page.
Company Insider Plugin
This feature spotlights your company’s employees. I like doing this because it allows a potential candidate to see if any current employees are in their LinkedIn network. It also gives a more personal touch to your website and helps you stand out from your competitors in the war for top sales talent. Place this feature on your website’s Careers page and/or About Us page. An additional benefit for your existing sales people is that they can link to the webpage in their email signature which could drive clients to your website (rather than LinkedIn!) when they want information about their new salesperson.
This is a terrific feature to put on your Website’s Careers page. Research continually shows that the easier you make it for a person to apply for a position the more likely you are to attract a “passive job seeker.” The Apply Button allows candidates to click the button and immediately apply for the job using their existing LinkedIn profile. You can customize the button and include your logo and up to three “yes” or “no” questions of your choosing. You then receive the application along with the candidate’s full profile including referrals, recommendations, and the person’s network of contacts. You can check to see if you have people you know in common. If you do, you can contact that person and find out about the candidate. It’s like “checking references” before you even respond to the application!