By Daniel Tardy—SVP, Business & Leadership Spoke, Ramsey Solutions
I have a confession to make. I truly love my job. Helping small business owners is my passion, and I can’t wait to get to work each morning. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. As an entrepreneur, you’re probably just as fired up about what you do.
The problem comes when you try to instill that passion into your team, especially your salespeople. Because if anyone needs to bring it day after day, it’s the sales team—or else no one has a job.
There are lots of actions you can take, like offering great incentives and compensation packages, an awesome place to work and plenty of motivation. But no matter what you do, you can’t MAKE someone into a winner who doesn’t have it inside them. My grandfather, who was a small business owner for many years, used to say, “It’s like trying to make an eagle out of a buzzard. They’re just two different animals. Buzzards eat dead things and eagles soar.”
So how do you spot potential sales superstars? Here’s what I do to ensure I have the right people on my team.
- Take plenty of time. Our hiring process is a long, involved one. Most of our candidates are interviewed multiple times, including one interview with their spouse. It can take months. No matter how much we need someone, no one joins our team unless they are the perfect fit for the job. We’re willing to wait.
- Make sure they light up. When you start talking about the position or they do, are they excited? They need to have a passion for EntreLeadership or they won’t make it.
- Never rely on resumes. They’re great to learn about skill sets or as conversation starters but not much more.
- Test the candidate’s sales ability. As part of the interview process, the potential new team member has to sell me an EntreLeadership Master Series ticket on the spot. But that’s just a start. If they pass that test, then we literally role play for the next couple of weeks. I’m the business owner and they have to email me and get me on the phone, which I never answer the first few times. Then when we actually speak, I give them a lot of objections or act disinterested. My ultimate goal is to find someone who:
- Can overcome objections.
- Is persistent but not obnoxiously so.
- Does their research.
- Knows how to build value.
- Finds things that are unique to my specific pain points.
- Is not too cheesy.
- Asks enough questions to identify what’s driving me.
- Listens instead of talks too much.
- Asks for the sale and closes the deal.
The great Muhammad Ali once said, “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them.” When hiring team members, don’t ever settle for anything less. Rock stars only, please. Stay away from buzzards and watch your team and your business take flight.
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