Finding a Good Sales Rep

In a tight economy, finding good help is obviously difficult.

Back in 2010 the unemployment rate was 10%. Now, we are at 3.6%, which essentially is full employment, with some high-tech areas at 2.5%, computer jobs at 1.5% and sales professions at under 3% nationally. So what does one do when the cupboard is almost bare?

First don’t panic and hire anyone who can fog a mirror. One must be creative and flexible. Many of our clients are looking for quality sales reps with varied degrees of success. But remember that everything starts with sales, so it’s important to hire slowly and fire quickly if you must. Here are some helpful hints.

  1. Divide and conquer. Make better use of your existing reps’ time for prospect and troubleshooting by allowing someone else to maintain less critical client contacts and call in your sales rep as needed.
  2. Time management. Track your sales rep time and do a better job in managing, prioritizing and restructuring their activities.
  3. Look within. See if there is anyone in your company who, with some grooming, has the ability to be a sales rep.
  4. Recalibrate. Set realistic specs in this market, be flexible as to what you must have vs. all the things you would like.
  5. Open all doors. Use your primary to tertiary contacts, job boards, social/biz media (LI), recruiters, etc.
  6. Keep track. Monitor your progress in finding quality sales rep by source above, to see which avenues are paying off.
  7. Be consistent. Once you have a prospect pool, put them through the same well-defined interviews, tests, etc.
  8. Be thorough. Find out everything you can about them, from their needs to yours and be prepared to compromise.
  9. Soft skills. You need to take someone who has the right characteristics, such as drive and smarts and train them.
  10. Compensation. Create a win-win comp plan, career options, intangibles etc., in for working for you. Then sell them!
  11. Patience. Remember everything worth doing takes time, patience and dedication to getting them done right.
  12. Plan B. Have more than one person you have selected as backups, if they don’t take the job or work out.

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Michael Neidle

Michael Neidle
Michael Neidle is president and CEO of Optimal Management, an advisor to staffing firm owners and managers.

Michael Neidle

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