PRO-vocative IDEAS from PRO
President's Resource Organization
We are pleased to continue our new service, the PRO-vocative IDEAS e-letter. Each issue will bring you a Thought PRO-voking Idea designed to help you run your business better. If you don’t want to receive these monthly emails, just click the Remove button below.

These ideas don’t come out of an Ivory Tower, but from the real-life experience of entrepreneurs like you. At PRO, Presidents’ Resource Organization, the owners of small businesses gather monthly to share problems, and work towards solutions, based on their own lessons learned. PRO members move their companies to the next level, through this peer group interfacing.

Here’s an example of a PRO-vocative idea and the discussion leading to it: 

Define the right profile to
avoid hiring the wrong salesperson.

Member Problem: 

Larry felt the business climate was improving and wanted to hire a sales person. He asked for information and techniques on how to select and hire the best person. The cost of a bad hire is very expensive, approximately $25,000 for his company. He wanted to discuss with his PRO Board the process they use to achieve a high probability of success with their sales hires.

PRO Advisory Board Recommendations:

Susan -- You must first determine the type of sales person you want. Is your sales person to be a "hunter," one who brings in new business, or a "farmer," someone who will build relationship to generate new business? Each of these sales personalities have different skills and attributes.
John -- After we determine the sales type we are looking for, we write up a position description stating what they are to do and whom they report to. Before we start the search, we also define the needed experience and personality traits -- do they have to be very detail oriented, etc.
Roger -- We have created a personality profile of our successful sales people performing the position we are looking to fill. If this is a new position we discuss the personality traits we are looking for with our outside testing agency. We use this outside agency to score and evaluate the profile questionnaire. We initially interview the candidate and if we like them we will conduct another interview using the personality profile as a guide to probe their internal drives, what makes them tick, and the best way to manage and motivate them.
Jordan -- I agree, but your job is also to recognize the personnel skills your company needs and to train and recruit those people who can implement and help define the strategy.
Bill -- Speaking of interviewing the candidate, the interview process is extremely important. In the interview we don't immediately tell the candidate about the company, our products, the position, etc. We tell them we want to learn about them and after that we will be happy to discuss and answer any questions they have. We take great care not to bias the candidate as to what we are looking for. It is critical to make sure the candidate shares the values and ethics of our company. We must have this alignment. All of our questions during the interview are open ended.
Peter -- When we hire an experienced sales person we also ask for information about past compensation or earnings, if on commission. Ask them to bring in their W-2 or 1099 to authenticate their income claims.

Facilitator's Comment:

Hiring a successful sales person is difficult. Most managers and business owners do not take the time to learn how to properly interview. They treat an open position as taking time from their activity instead of treating this as an opportunity to enhance the organization. Learning how to interview is a must. In addition, it is helpful to create personality profiles to compare candidates with. Most PRO companies, when they study the position, notice there are common personality traits between people who are successful in like positions. Larry left the meeting with the following action plan:

a. To define whether the sales person they are looking for should be a "hunter" or a "farmer"

b. To create a job description of the position.

c. To determine he personality traits of successful individuals, or to use an outside firm that creates and compares personality profiles.

d. To outline the training program the new hire will go through and additional training that may be required to shore up any shortcomings.

There is a certain amount of luck in making a good hire, but being prepared will enhance your luck. Do not continue with those people who cannot perform at the level of expertise you require. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity within your company.


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