Ways to keep sales reps from crashing and burning
Millennials enter the nation’s sales teams as the most parented generation in history. Yet, they do not have the goals or plans to achieve compelling ambitions. Today, 20 million young men delay maturing until their late 20s and are without solid commitments and responsibilities guiding their lives. This leads to “helicopter parented” boys and girls often crash-landing when they try to take on the demanding responsibilities of monthly sales production.
Many young and seasoned sales managers have not been prepared for this new generation of sales reps. As a result, they often see the following three scenarios:
Fast Start Fades: A sales manager hires an engaging young man who seems full of fire and enthusiasm. His early success causes the sales manager to feel good about the hire. And, then it happens: he watches the new recruit’s enthusiasm and production fade.
Roller Coaster Rep: A new hire works hard to sell enough to meet assigned budget numbers, and then falls short the next month. Back and forth; up and down. The rep sells just enough to get close to budget and then misses for two months only to rise again, hit budget, and survive being fired.
Character Losses: Despite their helicopter parents, many young men and women today enter a sales team without the basic values and character traits necessary to make a positive social impact on new customers. If they do sell at quota, they may do so with poor customer satisfaction and unfulfilled co-worker needs.
New reps with these performance issues foster a poor sales culture with low referral rates and repeat business. This brings inconsistency to monthly sales production, creates high turnover, and may impact the company’s brand or reputation or marketplace.
Building a productive sales team from New Millennial candidates requires paying attention to two important areas: Recruiting, and Coaching. Here are seven ways to keep young sales reps from crashing and burning.
1. Use structured questions and validated profiles designed to identify the character traits, personality traits and sales competencies which would be possessed by a successful sales hire. These traits would include: honest and ethical, hard work ethic, personal responsibility, deadline motivated, a need for independence, asking questions and listening, and presenting solutions. For example, some sample questions could be, “Tell me about some previous successes at school, work, sports, a sales position, or with your hobbies. What was important about ______ to you? What was it about you that led to success?” “What is the minimum amount of money you must earn with us to feel successful?”
When asking questions, make sure you hire someone who has a motivational center, meaning they have a specific reason to excel. Also, hire someone who has to make enough money equal to or above the income earned at your minimum sales standard.