Sales success starts with getting the right people



    It’s easy to predict the level of success a sales person will have at your first meeting.  It usually comes down to three things – capability, commitment and industry fit.  And usually if all three aren’t there in some measure, it’s not going to work out.  

    The media sales industry can be fertile ground for people who see high commission opportunities as their best way to financial success. But they don’t have a clue what it takes to translate that desire into reality.  One of your jobs is to help them understand the reality that they need to be willing to work hard enough to achieve that. 

    Often, Sales Managers don’t dig deep enough to find out BEFORE they give them a job to know if they have the skills or the desire to develop them. I remember when I started in radio promotions/sales; because I had an advertising agency background, the station manager saw me as a quick fix for a struggling radio station – hoping my big advertiser contacts would bring in some much needed revenue.  I saw it as the only place that could pay me what I was previously earning, was vaguely related to the work I was experienced at and it looked like fun.  It wasn’t.  I didn’t have any sales capability at that time – nor did I have the desire to achieve it (massive call reluctance), was a reasonable fit (cos I like drinking mostly) and I had little commitment to the role. 

    If my potential employer had dug a bit deeper by asking me to give some examples (what we now call “behavioral interviewing”) of my ability to sell, he would have quickly found out that I had none. Maybe he saw potential cos I consider myself a pretty good sales person now.  Fair enough; but a couple more questions would have revealed my commitment was questionable (unless you consider my commitment to paying the rent as relevant). And fit; how do you know someone fits with your team?  Get them to meet a couple of your key people, even just over coffee, and they’ll soon tell you if they’ll fit in or not.

    If it were me, I’d go for no less than 50% capability (and give them some good training and support), 80% team fit and 110% commitment.

    From contributor Trish Stonestreet

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