Whether you are trying to build a sales team from the ground up or looking to replace a single member in an already thriving team, knowing how to recruit the best direct sales talent is critical to your success. Are you missing the best fit for your team?
We’re passionate about recruiting top performers, so we wanted to discuss some of the common mistakes and some of the best tips to ensuring that you’re hiring the best and brightest in the world of direct sales.
So- when it comes to recruiting, what do most folks do wrong?
Mistake #1- Only look for experience
Don’t get me wrong: there are fields in which experience should probably be the number one criteria. (Surgery is a good example.) But direct sales is not one of those fields.
It may seem logical that the more experienced a rep is, the better they will perform for your organization. In actuality, experience rarely equals success.
Experienced reps come to the table with their own sets of baggage. Maybe they have bad habits. Or they had honed their skills to match a particular product or industry and their success may not translate well to your offerings.
This doesn’t mean that a recruit with previous experience can’t be successful, but it does mean that experience should never be your primary criteria when scheduling interviews with prospective recruits. (For better criteria to consider, check out these 7 traits of successful sales reps!)
Mistake #2- Bring On Too Many People
It’s tempting to find some charismatic young folks who want to work part-time and have a large pool of reps out working. It’s more workforce for your money, right?
Well, you might be hiring more people, but you may see less results.
When recruiting direct sales agents, it’s important to really take your time and look for quality over quantity. In our experience, hiring 5 dedicated people who are working hard full-time can yield far better results than 10 part-time employees putting in part-time effort.
Mistake #3- Bring On Someone Who Doesn’t Fit Your Culture
They have a track record of success! They have incredible communication skills! They can sell anything to anyone! Why wouldn’t you bring them on your team?
Well, if a recruit doesn’t fit your organization’s culture or believe in your values, you can’t trust them to represent your products well. If they have a bad attitude or don’t respect the established members of your team, they can poison that culture for the rest of your organization.
Hiring a new team member isn’t just about one person’s results, you’re hiring someone to enhance the performance of the entire team. Focus on hiring a good fit culture-wise and you will be investing in the success of the whole organization.
Mistake #4- Let A Bad Fit Linger
They don’t play well with the rest of the team, but they hit their numbers. Or, conversely, they may have a hard time hitting their numbers at all, but are likable people. Or maybe they consistently show the type of traits that lead to failure. But maybe they can change if you just give them enough…
Okay, real talk: if you have to make excuses for a rep that isn’t working well in your team, then they are not a good fit for your team. Letting a bad fit linger in an organization is going to do nothing but poison the well for the rest of the employees, make a bad impact on your customers, and ultimately impact your bottom line. And it holds that employee back from an opportunity where they would be a better fit.
When you keep the wrong hire on your sales team, you’re not doing anyone any favors- and that includes the rep in question!
So let’s say you avoid these common pitfalls in the recruiting process. How can you be a master at direct sales recruiting? We have 4 best practices for Direct Sales Hiring Success:
Tip #1- Have a defined process.
Know where your team is heading. Know what you need to do to get there. And think about the type of people you need to make that happen. Got it?
Okay, now make sure you have the right processes in place to help you retain those people.
If you’re hiring the best people for your organization, your organization should have the best company structure in place for them. Before you start hiring, make sure that you have a good onboarding process and a good training process ready to go. And, if you want recruits to grow with your business, make sure you have a development system in place so you can effectively communicate what it takes to move up in the company.
If you have the processes in place for reps to be successful, you will have an easier time finding the right fit for your organization.
Tip #2- Cast a wide net to find the best candidates.
How are you finding your candidates? Job boards like Indeed or Monster? Craigslist?
That’s just fine… but you’ll only hit about ½ of the candidates you’re looking for.
It’s important to not do the same-old-same-old when recruiting. Remember, the best direct sales reps, the ones with the best approach to winning new business, might not be actively looking for jobs! They may be seeking different types of employment, or be in a completely different line of work entirely.
Direct sales is a fairly unique position, and most people are unaware of the particular rewards and challenges associated with it. Maybe a qualified recruit has bad misconceptions about “door-to-door” sales work! That’s why it’s important to reach out every way possible to get the best direct sales talent.
Encourage personal references from your sales force. Look for ambitious and talented folks in the retail or customer service industries who are good, (maybe too good,) at their jobs and might want to move into something more challenging. Even keep an eye out for customers who had a good experience with a rep of yours and might have what it takes.
If you’re open to all recruiting possibilities, you will be open to all the qualified sales talent!
Tip #3- Hire for ambition over experience.
As we stated before, don’t fall into the trap of recruiting based on experience. Instead, look for the best predictor of direct sales success: hunger.
The best direct sales agents are never satisfied with what they have- they are always looking for opportunities to grow. So keep that in mind when looking for candidates- are they ambitious? Are they eager to meet people and engage with new ideas? Do they have consistently high energy even when things aren’t going well? Are they willing to dedicate time?
A hungry sales rep will exhibit all of these traits and be able to perform consistently regardless of the product or customer. So put that attribute at the top of your list on your interviews!
Tip #4- Remember your values.
Your values don’t just impact your new hire- they impact your entire organization. It only takes one bad hire to undo years of work in crafting your company culture.
That’s why it’s so important to commit to recruiting hires that actually hold your values. Take the time to really dig deep with candidates to determine what is really important to them. Make sure they actually live out those values and aren’t just telling you what you want to hear.
It’s tempting to build a sales team fast, but it’s much more important to take the time and make sure you’re building it right.
At Solcomm, we have a well defined process and the metrics to measure for success. We are exceedingly effective in providing the tools to recruit the best direct sales teams. To learn more about building a direct sales business with Solcomm, click here.