A Steakhouse Ad

From a sales employment ad I read this morning: Proven, world-class technology with plenty of sizzle I can’t decide if I like that last turn of phrase in an ad or not.  For software sales, it sounds positive.  For slick-talking salespeople, it sounds like a negative stereotype.  I would recommend leaving the “sizzle” for steak.

Continue Reading

Interview Myths

This article from Yahoo’s Hot Jobs contains 5 hiring myths designed to help candidates perform better in an interview.  Myth #1 is excellent for the hiring manager: Myth #1: Be prepared with a list of questions to ask at the close of the interview. There is some truth in this common piece of advice: You should always be prepared, and that usually includes developing questions related to the job. The myth here is that you must wait until it is “your turn” to speak. By waiting until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, “it becomes an interrogation instead of a conversation,” says Greene. Greene recommends that you… Read More

Continue Reading

Subtle Morons…I Mean Oxymorons

I have seen versions of this statement appearing in quite a few sales ads: The ability to work well independently and within a collaborative environment I think I understand what they are saying, but it is a poorly constructed bullet point.  Independent salespeople tend not to work well in collaborative cultures.  The same is true of collaborative salespeople, they tend to struggle in an independent role. For me, this type of writing is either lazy, unfocused and/or wishful.  The better approach here is to define what a typical sale looks like in your company.  Use that information to determine if you need a salesperson with an independent mindset or a… Read More

Continue Reading

Talent Is Dreadfully Cheap

How about this quote from Stephen King’s Danse Macabre (h/t JustSell.com): … talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force — a force so great that the knife is not really cutting at all but bludgeoning and breaking… Discipline and constant work are the whetstones upon which the dull knife of talent is honed until it becomes sharp enough, hopefully, to cut through even the toughest meat and gristle.

Continue Reading

This Is 85% Of Sales Success

From an article in our local StarTribune.com (bold mine): A Carnegie Foundation study once found that only 15 percent of a businessperson’s success could be attributed to job knowledge and technical skills — considered an essential element but overall, a small contribution. A whopping 85 percent could be determined by “attitude” and the “ability to deal with people.” I grant you that “attitude” is a fat word – I’m not sure exactly how he defines it in this survey.  Nonetheless, you get the point when it comes to hiring.  I would estimate that 85% of sales hires are based on technical skills as opposed to the ability to deal with… Read More

Continue Reading

Twice The Fun

Here’s a headscratcher from an ad I read today, Sept. 10: On September 30, 2009, ABC Company will be upgrading the technology we use to receive job applications. Due to the upgrade, you will be asked to reapply to any jobs you have bid on. Any job applications, resumes, and/or cover letters that are submitted to ABC Company prior to September 30th, will not be converted to the new system. They are advertising for a sales position…today.  So my assumption is that if I am a candidate, I can apply today and hope they are so overwhelmed they contact me immediately.  Right?  Otherwise, I will need to reapply in a… Read More

Continue Reading

The Trial Hire

I’m back from a needed break in this sour economy.  Everywhere I go I ask people about their business.  It is fairly consistent – something from “could be better” to “really down.” That economic context allows some freedom for hiring companies to incorporate what I call contextual hiring techniques.  These are typically techniques that take longer to measure and allow the hiring company to see the salesperson in action. Some examples: Job Shadowing – just as it sounds, the candidate spends time with an existing sales rep to get an understanding of the position.  Peggy McKee at Medical Sales Recruiter has a post on this topic.  A friend of mine… Read More

Continue Reading

Adjusting A Sales Process For This Recession

The thought of retiring is going to be a novel idea in the near future, at least according to a new abcnews.com poll.  In a recent survey of Americans (my bold): Half the population in this new ABC News poll thinks both job security and retirement prospects in the years ahead will remain worse than their pre-recession levels. Four in 10 also see worsened prospects for the availability of jobs and advancement, and, consequently, their own spending power. No surprise there.  The second aspect regarding worsened prospects for the availability of jobs is phrased in a negative manner.  However, it is only 40%.  This effect occurs in these difficult economic… Read More

Continue Reading

Funnel Or Sieve?

This Selling Power article title made me laugh – Are You Using a Funnel or a Sieve?  I laughed because my son is a hockey goalie so the word “sieve” carries a special horror.  That horror is compounded by the fact that we just returned from a hockey tournament in Winnipeg where I expected to hear some rowdy crowds and perhaps a sieve chant towards my son. My fears were unfounded as the Canadians were extremely pleasant. Hockey colloquialisms aside, this article makes many excellent points before turning into an advertisement.  This entire graph is valuable: It’s an issue that makes sense from a cost standpoint as well. Karam says… Read More

Continue Reading

Alluring Experience

I’ve written about this phenomenon in the past and I continually encounter it in many sales areas – the allure of experience.  In fact, I just talked to a recruiter from a different part of the country who focuses on sales hiring.  We talked a bit of strategy and I was just dumbfounded. This gentleman focuses solely on finding someone with as much industry experience as possible.  His primary motivation – find candidates who can bring accounts with them.  No discussion about skills, no behavioral-based questions, no attempt at learning their style and motivation…just simple experience. I am not even sure if he asks if it was successful experience. My… Read More

Continue Reading