Playing the Recruiting “WHAT IF” Game

Apr 04, 2014

Let’s set the stage – You’re a manager in charge of a top sales team, you’re breaking records and owning your market right?  Life’s great!  Maybe.  For now.  As any savvy, been-around-the-block business manager can tell you though – you can’t ever just rest on what you’ve got.  You’ve got to keep your eye on the future – and sometimes play the “what if” game.

  • What if – your top producer gets lured away by a competitor?
  • What if -- your #3 player’s husband gets transferred to another state and she’s leaving tomorrow to join him?
  • What if --your always-good-for-a-solid-sales-month producer up and quits the business (and everything else) for good because of an unexpected heart attack?

WHAT THEN? Listen, you can’t anticipate everything – but you can be prepared and make sure you’re in a constant state of recruit, train, motivate, direct and upgrade.  That way – when the ‘what if’s’ become ‘what nows’ – you’ve got a system you can count on to keep you in business.

First, get a handle on your recruiting goal. It’s funny – sales managers are some of the first to tell their team they need to establish attainable, written goals in their pursuit of success.  Somehow they often forget though that goals apply to them as well!  How many people do you need, what kind of people do you want and how soon do you need them?

Secondly, prospect for interviews. Ahhh, the dreaded PROSPECTING.  What steady, consistent way are you reaching out to prospective team members this month, EVERY month so that you can capture their attention and schedule a bonafide interview?  From direct mail to social media to picking up the phone – you’ve got to prospect – so have some fun with it, put yourself into it – and schedule it every day.

Stage your interviews. Follow a process – Greet your applicant, explain why you’re hiring, describe the type of person you’re looking for, ask questions, stage a visual presentation and schedule a second interview.  Remember to keep it simple, help the candidate to see your company as unique.  (Ask yourself why you would want to join your sales team?  That will help you see the benefits from a new salesperson’s point of view!)  And be enthusiastic!

Follow up! I can’t tell you how many times good candidates have gone to competitors because the recruiter failed to follow up.  Just as you would the interview – CALENDAR your follow up contact.

Keeping a steady stream of new recruits does more than just give you a “cushion” for the what-if situations that are inevitable, it also allows you to replace low producers.  I like to say that even the Bible shared some insight on this one, “Seek not the living among the dead!”  You won’t feel compelled to keep the foot-draggers in the office if you’ve got energetic new producers buzzing around!  New salespeople also eliminate complacency in an office.  Their energy and enthusiasm will be contagious and can be a great way to kick start a team on the verge of being stuck in a rut.

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