The Greatest Opportunity in 70 Years to Hire High-Performance Salespeople

Christopher Croner

The current global health crisis and lockdowns are putting most companies under extraordinary stress. Many companies have frozen hiring until they can determine the effects of the lockdown and when the economy will bounce back. And yet, some of the greatest fortunes in history have been made in times of crisis, and a window of opportunity has indeed opened up.

This is the greatest opportunity to hire high-performance sales talent since World War II ended.

Salespeople are essential to businesses. A major challenge has always been that there are simply not enough great salespeople to go around, and the best already have jobs and are making great money.

Well, that has all changed, for the moment, for several compelling reasons.

Every salesperson in the world is currently online. Like many of us, salespeople are at home spending more hours online then they normally would.  If you were ever going to reach and connect with great salespeople online, now is the best time ever to do so.

Weaker companies are going to go under. Unfortunately, some companies are not going to be able to survive this crisis. Salespeople know this and are sizing up their companies and industries for viability going forward. If they sense weakness, they will be hedging their bets and looking out for new places to ply their trade.

Salespeople are contemplating their futures and the wellbeing of their families. Salespeople are in their homes, with their families, thinking about everybody’s security and wellbeing. Everything is on the table intellectually and emotionally, which makes this a great time to make contact with new opportunities and ideas.

Change, which was once intimidating, may now represent hope. Many people are afraid of change even if it means a better life. But the current crisis has caused us all to think about change. So, this extraordinarily emotional environment has induced people to now look at the next chapter in their lives with more open minds.

We realize that everything is up in the air right now and the last thing you may be thinking about is adding new employees. On the other hand, we all know the economy will bounce back, so what better time to at least initiate a conversation with top talent while you, and they, have this window of opportunity to do so. 

Systematic Approach to Hiring Top Talent

When it comes to salespeople, it is imperative to identify candidates who have drive. Drive is composed of three non-teachable personality traits:

  • Need for Achievement – Self-starter, driven to go further and never satisfied or complacent.
  • Competitiveness – Loves to win. Hates to lose.
  • Optimism – Not fazed by rejection. Uses rejection as fuel to move on to the next task.

All three characteristics must be in place to ensure you have a high-drive candidate on your hands.

There are four steps to finding high-drive candidates

Write a High-Drive Job Ad

Most ads on job boards lack passion, energy and the high-drive cues to attract top-performing salespeople. Typical low-drive ads are just too generic. Let’s look at an ad designed to capture the attention of high-drive salespeople. 

High-potential sales position with leading construction company. We want you to have a minimum of five years of experience successfully selling construction-related products or services because we can take you even higher. This will be a combination of handling inbound leads with the excitement of pure, new business development, aka hunting. You will be working with a seasoned estimator so you can concentrate on what you do best…selling.

We are all about great service, which goes hand-in-hand with great sales. We love to compete and win in the marketplace.

Compensation is robust for those who are willing to work hard and enjoy the high expectations and energy of our intense, championship sales team. We help each other and we push each other to our absolute highest potential.

Please apply if you are ready to work hard, enjoy the energy of a high-octane team and are prepared to WIN!

This ad is full of cues referencing a challenge, competition and winning – the very tonic of high-drive performers.

Resume Clues for Drive.

When you start receiving resumes, look for indications of drive both in work patterns and personal anecdotes. 

It is good to see some stability, which shows that a salesperson has performed well for a significant period of time with the same company. Job-hopping can be an indicator of a lack of grit or perseverance when the going gets tough, for example, and selling is always tough. It is also good to see drive indicated in personal interests like fitness, competitive athletics, night school, etc. 

Sales Personality Assessment

The sales personality assessment is the cornerstone of identifying high-drive salespeople. Lower-drive people may be able to move through the selection process unless you get “under the hood” with a strong assessment, which gets at the personality characteristics that research shows are shared by almost all successful “hunter” salespeople. Look for an assessment that identifies drive characteristic such as the SalesDrive DriveTest®.

The Drive Interview

The interview is the make or break time for both sides. Unfortunately, many hiring managers do not deploy what psychologists call a “behavioral interview.” That is, one that is based on research and structure and uses past behavior to predict future behavior. A bit of intuition is fine, but most managers who conduct relaxed, conversational interviews and who stubbornly make hiring decisions based solely on their “golden gut” have a 50% turnover rate or more.

This is an historic time to communicate with and recruit top sales talent. They are online, contemplating their industries, their companies, the world at large and their futures. Even the best of the best are scanning the job boards and weighing their options. And the key to building your world-class sales force going forward will be stacking your team with high-drive salespeople. 

Christopher Croner is principal at SalesDrive, LLC. SalesDrive helps companies perfect the salesperson hiring process by offering a variety of tools that help companies to never hire a bad salesperson again, such as a sales assessment and psychologically based interview guides.

Sales & Marketing Management is the leading authority for executives in the sales and marketing field.

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