Find, Hire, Train, and Keep Top Performers on Your Sales Team

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You want to hire, train, and retain top sales performers so that your annual goals will be achieved before year end. The last sales quarter is already nipping at your heels. Have your salespeople met their goals so far? Are they top performers month after month, or are they dragging the chain and hobbling the team? Do they possess the Top 5 Competencies imperative for an elite salesperson; do you have an interview process to identify these qualities?

Harvard Business School research states that only 1 to 3% of your team has the ability to be topflight sales performers. When you eliminate your fast talkers, over promisers and those who say I am good at relationship selling (which usually means they are approval seeking missiles without the war head) you are left with only a few who have the potential to earn you a return on your investment. Within those few is the one or two who can become your superstars.

What this means is that of each one hundred salespeople you know or have hired, there will only have been one, or at the most three top performers. In the beginning, top performers may not seem much different from the rest of your team but within a few months you will notice one or two salespeople inching their way forward. It is these star performers that you can ask to hold back deals from this quarter to the beginning of the next. Unless their commission is negatively affected your request will inspire, instead of deflate, their sales effort. This is important because as a company leader you know that balanced performance is comforting to the executive team.

When you are looking for a top salesperson, without knowing the top five competencies that elite sellers have and the interview process to identify them, finding the super-stars will be difficult because your vision may be clouded by the need to fill the territory and achieve at least some results as soon as possible. Too often, as Randy Gage is wont to say, this amounts to stumbling over dollars to pick up pennies!

The question begging to be answered is where can I find these paragons of virtue and performance? Typically, the first response is to advertise or to hire a recruiter. This often results in experiencing the dance of the lemons. These characters float from one company to another touting the adage, I am good with people. If your clients are in the upper echelons of their company these are the exact words you do not want to hear because they are not interested in investing their time developing relationships with salespeople. It is not as if busy executives wake up in the morning and think I am down a friend or two so I hope a nice salesperson will call me today!

The I am good with people agreeable sales reps will not move beyond their first contact within the company because they don’t want to upset anyone by going over their head; staying within their comfort zone is more important than gaining new business. In other words, they do not have the skills to successfully navigate to, and then negotiate with, the buying influencers in a complex decision making environment.

Is it possible to have more than one top performer, or Big Game Hunters and Closers as I describe them in my book, Attract and Keep Your Big Game Hunters and Closers, on your team? After 20 years working with salespeople from various industries, I can tell you that it is possible and highly desirable because they pursue and close the choice, long term prospects. These are the buyers who are less interested in price and more interested in long term value. (A lower status salesperson can only sell on price) You can also count on them to be long term employees because they are highly motivated by money and metrics; recognition is fine but do not mess with their income! Moving from your company to another, even with a signing bonus, is a decision that top performers don’t make easily because the unknown variables are numerous and can lead to unintended consequences that compromise their performance resulting in less favorable metrics. All things being equal, Big Game Hunters and Closers would prefer to stay with the company where their success was developed.

The answer to your question, how can I identify the wheat from the chaff is easier than you might think. Star performers are those who are more of a thinker than an emoter; more analytical than charismatic; they focus more on value than on price; they have a vision for the long term success of the client and your company. The typical enthusiastic ‘I am good with people’ salesperson is not usually your top performer. The best salespeople to look for are those who combine their analytical skills with being a driver to set and reach goals that would cause lower status salespeople to shiver in fright!

How can I help you to find, hire, train, and keep your top performers? We work hard to help companies develop Big Game Hunters and Closers… those who have the raw material to drive business no matter what the market conditions. As you know, having great prospects is useless unless you have salespeople on your team who can convert them to customers.

To help you achieve your fourth quarter goals, I would like to offer you a 45 minute free phone consultation to discuss any concerns you have with the current performance of your sales team. No matter where they are now, I will provide you with three effective measures to up-level their results. My commitment to you is if at the end of the call you do not have at least one good idea that can be implemented immediately I will donate $25.00 to your favourite charity! In addition I would also like to share with you the interview process and the top five competencies of elite salespeople.

Email me at or call 403-249-5853 to book your free consultation.

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