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Archive for July, 2010

10 Commandments Of Successful Sales Selection

1. Always select talent and skills over experience.

2. Do not put the entire burden of the company on this hire.

3. Do not clone yourself.

4. Do not expect to hire perfection.

5. Do not start the process unless you can hire the right candidate today.

6. Do not run the process out of sequence.

7. Do not miss opportunities to see the candidate in action.

8. Do not change the compensation plan during the process.

9. Trust the instruments more than your gut.

10. Do not assume you are the candidates’ only option.

Sinking Stock Syndrome

I made that up, Sinking Stock Syndrome, from some interactions I have had recently with a couple of small business owners.  Both owners suffered from this syndrome which had disastrously negative effects on their company, both in revenue and morale.

Here is how I define my newly-minted syndrome – an irrational hope that a grossly underperforming salesperson will miraculously turn things around and become a sales superstar.

It rarely happens.

The problem stems from the business owner who has invested in this failing salesperson.  Notice I used “business owners” – I do believe this syndrome is more prevalent among this group as they are closely tied to the business (i.e. financially, emotionally, historically).  They usually have a relatively accurate count of the resources invested in this salesperson.

The sinking stock analogy will be understandable to anyone who buys and sells stock.  When you purchase a stock, you expect (hope) it increases in value.  When it goes the other way, you encounter a sinking feeling as you have now lost money.  It is at this point that you need to make cold, objective decisions about the stock.  Is it going to rebound in an acceptable time frame or did you make a bad investment?

The temptation is to hang on to the stock with the expectation it will turnaround and at least get back to the buy price you paid so you can break even.  While you wait, the stock drops further and you have now lost more money.

Hope keeps you from dumping the stock.  The desire to earn back what you have lost keeps you from making the tough decision to sell.

Business owners can get caught in this same trap.  They know a salesperson is not performing and that they are losing money by continuing to keep them in the role.  Other employees see that this salesperson is not closing deals and they start to become upset.  This salesperson stays on the payroll even though it is clear that he/she cannot do the job.  At some point, the tough decision has to be made.  It can be to put together a get-well plan for the salesperson.  However, most times it is to part ways…or should I say cut your losses?

It is difficult, almost an admission of failure that hits the owner directly.  But it has to be done.

The Unanswered Question

Take a look at this headline from Twin Cities Business:

MN June Unemployment Rate Drops, Sheds 3,700 Jobs

Jobs are lost and the unemployment rate decreases…how can this be?  It is a question that begs an answer, yet you won’t find it in this article.  The closest it comes:

Minnesota’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted 6.8 percent even though employers cut 3,700 jobs during the month, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said on Thursday.

Clearly workers had to leave the workforce or unemployment benefits expired for many Minnesotans.  It is probably a combination of both factors.  This is a critical flaw in the unemployment number.  The better approach here would be to track how many people are actually working.

Writing Gone Bad

A sentence I just read in a laptop battery warranty statement:

We are happy to send a replacement when you receive a defective item from us.


Pink Slip Parties?

I received my share of pink slips in my career so this title frightened me when I first saw it in the Twin Cities Business Magazine.  However, this strikes me as rather clever:

The party, akin to speed dating for the unemployed…

The idea is to provide an opportunity for job seekers to mingle with local recruiters in a more informal setting than a traditional board room. Job seekers should dress to impress, bring copies of their resume, and be ready to network, Virgin Mobile and JobsDirectUSA said.

The companies call the party “the most fun and laid-back job interview most who attend will ever experience.”

Job Location-North Dakota

Ok, I know it isn’t an exotic port of call, but North Dakota does have one very interesting fact – 3.3% unemployment.  From our local Pioneer Planet newspaper:

Ziesch says the state had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation in June at 3.3 percent. He says North Dakota has about 10,700 unfilled jobs.

Yes, it is a sparsely populated state, but they definitely have demand.  This time of year is the right time to visit, too.  6 months from now and you will be crying through blizzards the like you have never seen.

Nonetheless, count me as a fan of North Dakota.

Happy Independence Day 2010

Ok, so I am a day late, but what a great day it was.  Parades, cookout, fireworks all with friends and family.  I think if you want to get a real slice of Americana, come celebrate the Fourth with us.

I hope you are able to enjoy a day off on this Monday.  Here is something I found interesting from the JustSell newsletter:

Thomas Jefferson & John Adams — the only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who became president — both died on the same day… July 4th, 1826 — the 50th celebration of Independence Day.

Happy Canada Day

I almost forgot this, eh?  I was recently in Winnipeg for a week and have only good things to say about our neighbors to the north.  I ate some Tim Horton’s, drank Molson and watched a lot of hockey – a perfect week for a guy from Minnesota.

We have many customers in Canada and I just wanted to give a shout out to them this fine day.

What Color Is The Sky In Your World?

Remember that great line from Frasier Crane on Cheers?  It is getting close to a holiday weekend so my mind is starting to drift a bit – my apologies.  I did come across this rather entertaining test from the website – Let Your Favorite Color Guide Your Career.  Take the test by selecting your favorite color from the top row and your favorite from the bottom row.  Scroll down and you will get your results.

I was blue-purple (can you tell from the website colors?).

All these years of selling assessments…maybe we overlooked something simple here.

Ok, maybe not.  Still, you have to admit it was interesting.