for Sales Professionals & Industry Leaders
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If the cap fits...'re hiring the right people

Question - If he turns up to the interview wearing a baseball cap on backwards, would you hire him?...

...If you're hiring an Umpire, then maybe, yes!

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Educating Rhonda

Your customer buys your sales rep first and then they buy your product. You, as a hiring manager, look at skill sets, and qualifications and personality type and how the person is going to fit into your team. What about how well your future sales rep fits in with their prospective customers? Can they talk the same language? Do they understand the customer's mind set? In some cases, can they be as tough as their customers?

Long ago I managed a team of advertising sales people. I placed an ad for sales people and started getting calls from a rep who was working for a competing publication that focused on the automotive industry.

Ronda, not her real name, was raw. She was a phone- pounding-in-your-face sales-rep. Ronda had heard how much nicer it was to work in our patch and there was room to move. She called and called, keeping at me until finally I agreed to interview her.

Ronda was even more raw in person. We needed more penetration in the automotive market, we had nothing in the iron lots, the “used only” dealerships. We had the readership and our inventory of private-party cars was a good match for the iron lots.

We hired Ronda because she was a great match for the tough boys and very few very tough girls who sold the used iron, Ronda pounded the phone and within a month had taken us from 0 to 10 dealers running ads. In another month she was up to 15.

Her typical call to a dealer went something like this; “Jerry, this is Ronda with your local shopper. You are running ads in the big city paper and that's good because they have a lot of readership. You need to run with us because we have more readership, and our readers love your kind of car. I know you are tight with your money so you'll be happy to know we can get you ups for less. (car dealer jargon for visits to the dealership) What’s your fax number? I’m faxing a form. Give me ten cars to run next week. I’ll give you a screaming deal. You’ll get the ups.”

She would laugh at whatever their objection was and keep pounding. If they hung up on her she would call back and say something like, “Oh, I get it, your phone rings so seldom now you dropped it in shock. Come on give me ten cars to run. I'll get you the ups. You sell one a month at your mark- up and cover the cost of advertising with us for three months. You don’t want Joe over on Florin Road to get all the business do you?” She would call and talk to them in a way that might have had customers in another market segment calling to complain, but it was completely appropriate for her market.

Ronda was wonderful calling on the customers we had her call on. How would she have done calling on Advertising Agencies using the same tactics? She would have failed miserably. A few years later when her income was more than she'd ever thought possible and I'd polished some of her raw edges, she called on the more upscale dealers and their Advertising Agencies and she did better than fine.

Not all sales people are alike, thank goodness, and not all customers are alike. When someone you hired is not working out, ask yourself if you have them dealing with the wrong set of customers. Think about which set of your customers are your employee's peers. If the answer is none, you might have made a hiring mistake.

Interview Yourself Before You Interview Anyone

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Take Action

Each e-letter will encourage you to take immediate action to implement consultative selling skills and positive leadership principles. 


Here are some questions to ask yourself as your are staffing. Will they do the work required?
# Does this person have or can they learn the skills?
# Are they a fit with their future leader’s style?
# Are they a fit within their future team?
# And in many cases for sales people the most important question of all. “Are they a fit with our customers?”

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