Where are the Good Salespeople? 12 Questions to Ask

The other day, I was in a meeting where someone was remarking about how difficult it is to find “good salespeople.” She was expressing frustration because she’s hired salespeople who look good during the hiring process, but quickly fail in her environment. Of course, my first inclination was to introduce her to our sales assessments, but I stopped myself because her issue goes beyond screening candidates. It’s a common question that’s rarely answered directly: Where are the good salespeople? The reason people don’t have a good answer is because it’s difficult to say what makes “good salespeople.” First, it’s tough to…


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How to Hire a Salesperson if You’ve Never Done It Before

If you’re not used to it, hiring salespeople can be a daunting task. Bad ones can sometimes do a pretty good job of slipping past a hiring managers. Salespeople — even if they’re terrible — are uniquely positioned to “sell” themselves to interviewers. Separating the strong candidates from the weak ones isn’t quite as simple as just asking the “right” questions. Instead, you have to dig deeper. Here are a handful of ideas… Interview former customers. When you’re checking references, don’t stop with managers or coworkers, ask to speak to satisfied clients. They’re the ones whose impressions count the most. Check W2s….


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Taking on the War for Talent

The other day, we came across a Fortune Magazine article called “A CEO Takes on The War for Talent” that appeared in the magazine’s October 29, 2012 edition. In the article, NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson is highlighted because his company’s business is growing so fast that he can’t hire quickly enough. In order to deal with the challenge, he’s using TriMetrix, which is a tool we have provided our clients for many years. When our clients use it, they get the chance to peak “under the hood” before hiring a candidate. We thought you might enjoy taking a look at…


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Mashable on Hiring Zombies

Recently, we came across this great infographic from Mashable. Thought you all might enjoy seeing it, too. We think you’ll agree that it applies to hiring salespeople in a very real, frightening way. Check it out by clicking on the image. Have you ever hired a zombie? Share your experience in the comments section.


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Best Salespeople

Here’s a short post to answer a big question: Often, VPs of Sales, Sales Managers, and other Sales Leaders ask us to help them find the best salespeople. They tell us they’re tired of being fooled by salespeople who are “all show and no go.” They just want the best. Question is, what’s “best?” The “best” salesperson in one company (or territory, or product line, or for one manager) is not necessarily the “best” somewhere else. Why is that? Two reasons: Almost every salesperson is a human and humans are notoriously complex creatures. Every factor you can imagine (and some…


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How To Find The Best Sales Job

As a professional sales trainer, one of the advantages my work offers me is the chance to see so many different sales jobs. First, I should say that I believe any job has negatives and positives to it. However, some of us are more likely to see one or the other. With that said, it’s impossible to say one job is THE best because we all have different strengths that compliment different jobs. The secret is finding the one that’s right for you. In other words, jobs and people are each unique. The best sales job for you is really…


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86.7% of Salespeople are “Superior”

Last week, during a meeting with a client, I learned that… 86.7% of the salespeople we’ve helped them hire using our sales assessments are performing at a “superior” level. Nowhere in an organization are the metrics more easily measured than in sales. There are hard-and-fast stats that make it straightforward to determine success or failure in sales. And, by this client’s own measure, we have helped solve a major challenge in their organization: How to take the guesswork out of hiring salespeople. The most valuable time in any professional salesperson’s life is spent with clients. What are you learning while…


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The Most Critical Characteristic for Success in Any Endeavor

According to our research, regardless of what you do, Personal Accountability is the most critical personal skill you can exhibit. Personal Accountability, by our definition, is… The willingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions. A person who’s able to take the blame for mistakes (and the credit for wins) is far more effective at any job than someone who’s not. There are a lot of common sense reasons for this: Personally accountable people are more fun to be around because they’re not busy casting blame elsewhere. Personally accountable people are better team-players because others trust them. Personally accountable people have…


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No One is Entitled to Any Job

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, was asked how long he expected to keep his job after the proposed Comcast takeover. He responded by saying, “Nobody is entitled to any job.” At first I wanted to disagree with him (what about a self-employed entrepreneur?). But, you know, I think he’s right. There’s a great book by Dr. Tony Alessandra, Frank Sarr, and Pamela Larsen Truax called Performance Counts And Accountability Pays! The title — by itself — is applicable to what Zucker was saying. He was right because, in order to keep a job, everyone…


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The “Hidden Thief” Within—Disengaged Employees

While the image of the disengaged employee was captured by the actor Ron Livingston in his portrayal of “Peter Gibbons” in the movie Office Space, spotting this hidden thief within your organization may not be quite that easy. Gallup recently found that almost 70% of all workers are not actively engaged at work. These workers are costing their respective companies millions. However, they are not always to blame. I believe a large number of organizations may prevent this from happening by having a strategy that is well defined and helps tackle this costly issue. The down turn in the economy…


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A Case For The Over 55 Salesperson

I’m hearing, reading and getting more comments about companies not wanting to hire “older” salespeople. No one over 55 is desired for sales because the belief is that “they can’t keep up with the younger generations.” “They are a health insurance liability.” Help me here. How is “keeping up” defined? Since when is energy level a function of age? Agreed, there is some natural slowing physically. But so what? Since when does selling successfully mean only high energy? Energy level is worthless if you can’t get to work on time and it doesn’t bother you. Style is meaningless if traveling…


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Keep Your Sales Team

It’s often standard procedure in tough economic times to cut budgets, trim expenses and reduce staff. We all know this drill. It seems epidemic – the “catch 22” cycle of reactionary strategies, intended to help companies weather the downturn. And then when conditions improve, there’s another reactionary strategy of scrambling to catch up. Cutting salespeople sure seems economically sensible on the surface, but have you ever wondered what these types of behaviors the really cost? Look at real costs of reduced sales efforts in your organization: • Lost contact • Lost margin • Lost revenue • Lost opportunities • Reduced…


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Eliminate or Cultivate

As we experience another period of economic downturn, we see companies reacting to conditions in some surprising ways. They dismiss salespeople, apparently thinking that this source of new business has less significance when selling is tougher. Isn’t this the same faulty tactic as not fixing the roof after the rain has stopped? The necessity of building trust and value is never more important than in tough times. Qualifying, questioning and uncovering dominant needs, desires and wishes, positioning your value proposition, building trust and value, and asking for commitment are even more critical in tough times. Surely, you want to hold…


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The First 30 Days and Beyond…

In my last blog, I talked about some good pre-employment screening ideas. Let’s continue on that theme and talk about the orientation process. The first 90 days for a new employee are critical for the long-term success of a new associate and their respective organization. It also provides a road map for success (or failure) of that new sales person. Here are some things to think about as you bring on new associates. Before a new hire’s official first day, start to send them emails to their home email about important notes and meetings. Additionally, if you use blast voicemail…


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Make the Best of the Interview Process

I joined The Brooks Group just over a month ago and I thought it would be apropos to offer some tips or reminders on hiring and potentially bringing on a new associate. Pre employment: 1. The 80/20 rule should apply when it comes to who is doing the talking. Try and ask open-ended questions to ensure the candidate does most of the talking. 2. While the candidate impressing you is most important, keep in mind that you should sell the company to the candidate as well. There are many ways to make the candidate feel welcome, for example: Start the…


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CEO Bill Brooks Answers Your Questions: Week 6

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CEO Bill Brooks Answers Your Questions: Week 2



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The Power of Personality Clashes and Where They can Take You

Hewlett-Packard’s problems can all be traced back to a personality conflict between former Chairman Patricia Dunn and Board Member Tom Perkins. In the Monday, October 9, 2006 Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com), George Anders and Alan Murray go into great detail about the history of the conflict and its serious fallout. The article, “Behind H-P Chairman’s Fall, Clash With a Powerful Director,” also contained this sidebar… It’s pretty clear that this all can be traced back to a personality conflict between the two. They really couldn’t be much more different. My favorite – and I think the most telling – part…


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Wanted: One Passionate Interview

We talk a lot about the importance of assessing job candidates to make sure they’re a good fit with your organization. The use of assessments is really starting to catch on – I read something recently that said 3 out of 10 organizations are now using them to one degree or another. Now hiring managers are really starting to look beyond the resume and the interview and more into the candidate themselves. What are they looking for? Passion. As a sales or hiring manager, you have to have people that have drive and energy. That doesn’t mean they’re an egotistical…


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