Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

Ask the Expert: July 2010

Ask an Expert

Q: How do you hire “good” sales people?

A: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I think that’s also the definition of insanity. If you’re hiring a sales rep and you have the choice between a rookie and someone who’s built a brand name in your territory, who’s taking your business and has a few million dollars of business that you don’t? Most will go with the latter. I’ve used just about every sales, aptitude, intelligence and personality test out there and no test is going to sniff out what your gut can tell you. I’ve been recruiting for electrical distributors exclusively for over 10 years and frankly…nothing has changed when it comes to recruiting sales people. By the time I’m involved, the only people that a client wants to see is the one they can ‘plug and play’ they’ll pay a premium for that person in hopes they can get that person to drag their business across the street, the win of landing a big hitter is intoxicating. More often than not that big hitter will use your big offer to get a bigger offer to stay put…and the cycle continues. I absolutely agree, and I’ve interviewed thousands of distributor sales guys and the big name, big dollar guys are rarely worth the investment because of the web of issues that keep them where they are; product line, pricing, an inside person they can’t leave behind, etc, etc…the real gold in this industry is the guy (or gal) who’s waiting for that person to retire, leave, move away…coddle your big dogs but groom your puppies. I’ve placed hundreds of sales people in electrical distribution, I know the difference between a good ‘en and a good talker. If you’re having trouble attracting talent, call me…I’m happy to help!


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