How many times has it happened that you hired a salesperson who didn’t meet your expectations? It was easy to think you were hiring a million-dollar producer, but what you actually hired wasn’t a performer who couldn’t reach their sales goals. This is a sad reality for many business owners and sales managers. Poor performers can come in many shapes and sizes, and they often look fantastic during the interview phase. These are some “Million-Dollar Producers” to keep an eye out for…
The Golden Child
This scenario shows that the sales candidate was a millionaire in their previous sales job. They can prove that they made at least one million dollars in revenue during the year. You’ll discover that your salesperson didn’t generate one million dollars in new revenue but was instead dropped into a “golden territory.” They made “warm calls” with existing clients to cultivate a million dollars worth of existing business. They didn’t create a million dollars in new business.
Have you ever hired a salesperson to deliver a “fraction of” the business in a specific territory? The Mathematician delivers a fraction of what they can. Many clients complained to me that their multi-millionaire producer was in a ten-million-dollar territory. They may have been afraid of prospecting for new business or simply didn’t want it. They may look great in interviews, but sales candidates who aren’t able to meet their quotas consistently will not be hired.
Do you remember the breakfast cereal Lucky Charms or Lucky Charms? The cereal box featured a smiling leprechaun who poured sweet-tasting marshmallows onto the cereal. One of these was a four-leaf clover. Maybe you have had a salesperson who came up with a well-known client and generated a significant financial gain for his previous company. It’s easy to get excited and believe that your candidate will land a large client. The Lucky Charms were just that…lucky. They were able to claim credit for a big deal that fell into their laps. This is the worst thing for a non-performer. They get a false sense that they have achieved something. Do not fall for the “Lucky Charms” – look for actual Sales Champions.
A salesperson who has been in a previous job finds leads that they need to close. A secondary role is taken by the salesperson, such as a sales assistant. The sales manager or owner then manages the sales process and closes the transactions. They then turn the account over to the salesperson for management. As the sales candidate arrives at your home for an interview, you both feel excited, and they share their impressive client list. They can’t achieve the same results without your help driving and closing sales. Do not hire an assistant.
Not Marlon Brando, from “The Godfather.” Brando is a salesperson for a large company that has strong brand recognition. This salesperson is easy to work with and walks into accounts with high levels of credibility.
It’s easy for them to be misled by their false senses of accomplishment when they come knocking on your door looking to find a job. You may not have the same branding or marketing budgets as your former employer. Your sales candidate may have to work harder and with more creativity, which could result in more rejections. This might not be something they are able to handle. You should be careful as you move forward.
These are just some of the Million-Dollar Producers you might interview when hiring your next salesperson. You can only increase your chances of getting the results you want from the “Million-Dollar Producer” sitting across the table.
These questions will help you determine their ability to perform.
“List your top 7 clients and tell me which ones were inherited and which ones that you bought as a new business.” If most of your clients are inherited, you might have a Golden Child rather than a hunter.
“How did you obtain the leads for each of these clients?” If most leads are generated by existing clients or from company referrals, then you might be a warm call-only salesperson.
“Who was the other person involved in the sales process? And how did they get involved?” If their sales manager was present on many of the calls and played a significant role, you might have a Sales Associate instead of a Sales Champion.
These are just some of the questions you could ask. It is important to remember not to be seduced by salespeople’s personalities or client lists from past employers. Keep in mind, if they were so good, why did their previous employer let them go?
Only top sales performers can prove their success. Your ability to do a better job during the hiring process will result in better salespeople and a more rewarding job as a sales leader.