By Gordon Hecht, Serta Simmons Bedding
This year, just like last, seems to bring issues (problems) and challenges (big problems) that we’d never image could happen. You’d run out of fingers and toes before you’d complete the list.
Despite all the new difficulties (really big problems) you face, you also have a lingering obstacle that started about a decade ago: hiring good salespeople.
For the record, I believe that commissioned selling is the greatest profession in our nation. There is no limit to the income, you never have to ask for a raise. Selling has no glass ceiling; anyone has a chance to be successful. And there’s never a layoff in sales. Salespeople never lose their jobs; they only lose their products.
Despite that rosy image, I can promise you that very few people graduating college or high school rank selling as their ideal profession.
Very likely, your next Sales Star won’t have you on their list of preferred places to work and is probably employed elsewhere. You will have to go out and find them, but it’s easier when you know what to look for.
Sales Stars can find common ground with a variety of people. Keep your eyes open for the person who starts chatting in a crowded elevator or engages you in a conversation at Mickey D’s or Starbucks. They have that gift of gab, and confidence in selling themselves.
Sales Stars ask questions to seek holistic solutions, and fix problems rather than symptoms. It could be the clerk at the department store or the person who answers the phone at your hair salon. Rather than offer a single item or service, they seek to satisfy all the needs that their business can fill.
Sales Stars say “Thank you” and return your phone calls, emails or texts. Promptness, attentiveness and client development are key points in retaining customers. Many businesses train that. It could be the person who just sold you tires or found that hard-to-find light bulb at Mega Mart. They work long hours, spend a lot of time standing, and are probably paid less than their value.
Sales Stars have a need to earn money. In everyday retail, the store manager’s happiest day is when a salesperson buys a new car. It means that the salesperson needs to earn $400 more a month. Look for that person who is secure in their current job but wants an easy way to bank a few thousand dollars working part-time. In short order your part-time gig will become their full-time career.
Sales Stars still have some gas in the tank. Progressive experience is hard to find, but luckily for you, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day and not all are ready for the rocking chair. More than a few of them are looking to use their skills to earn money in a low-stress way. For the most part, they show up on time with polished shoes, clean shirts and a desire to earn.
Prepare your 60-second hiring pitch. You cross paths with Sales Stars every day. It’s up to you to sell your company to them.
It’s a matter of recognizing the glimmers of talent, then hiring for attitude and training for aptitude. Be ready to invite your future star to your store for coffee or lunch to discuss how they can use their talents on a path to success.
Gordon Hecht is Senior Regional Manager/Strategic Retail Group at Serta Simmons Bedding and a regular contributor to YSN. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.