The House
of Sales Ideas

Welcome to where the magic happens. Every project, class, system and process I have ever implemented started with a blog post RIGHT HERE. So dig in, there is gold in these electrons.

5 ½ Reasons Why You Should Include Simulations in Your Hiring and Training Processes

People are your most precious resource. Nobody WANTS to make a mistake in hiring or promotions. When it comes to training Andy Grove, the Intel visionary, said it best, “The most important charge a good manager owns is the responsibility to continuously train his/her employees.”

Below are the 5 ½ reasons why simulations should be an integral part of your hiring, promotion and training processes.  

  1. The 5 to 1 Ratio

A mis-hire/promote costs the company 5 times the candidate’s annual compensation ($50,000 salary costs the company $250,000).gaugered-850x610-2

With training its just as easy to see the ROI. A business parable for you:

CEO said to the CFO ‘We have to train our people to get better.’

CFO says ‘Yea but what if we invest time and money to train them and they leave us to go to our competitor?’

CEO shoots back ‘What if we don’t train them and they stay?’

Whether it is a mis-hire or a less than adequately trained employee the impact on client relations, revenue, productivity, supervision time and morale is negative and it is huge.

  1. The Power of Proof

Have you ever had an interview where the person told you they couldn’t do the job? Or have you ever had a person who “stretched” their abilities in the interview and as a result you were cleaning their messes for days, weeks or months after?

A best practice simulation provides you “Point-to-Point Correspondence” with the job. When the activities found in the simulation are a replica of activities that are required on the job, you get an accurate portrayal of skill level.

This is also why simulations are critical to training. Do you really want salespeople “practicing” on customers? Of course you don’t! General George Patton once said “The more my troops sweat in peacetime the less they bleed during combat.” Simulations are a must in all continual development.

  1. How do They Handle the Debrief

Once they perform in the simulation how do they respond to constructive criticism? Are they thin-skinned? Do they gloat? Is their self-confidence warranted? Many times, you find out the best and the worst of people by observing how they handle coaching.

It also opens a window to know how they learn best. Through the Debrief you will discover what they will and won’t respond to. This can be invaluable as you continue to train and develop your team.

  1. Go to the Video

When recorded, simulations help reduce, if not remove bias and subjectivity in the hiring process in one BIG way, “The eye in the sky does not lie.” You don’t want a he said/she said situation in any business scenario, but especially in simulations.

Here’s a great example of the benefit of recording simulations: A hiring manager who got a ‘good hit’ off a candidate, in an interview, might get a completely different feeling after watching a recorded simulation. The candidate might be the most charming person in the world, but when the time came he didn’t have the skills he trumpeted. In any business, that is a disaster averted.

Recorded simulations are irreplaceable in training as well. There is nothing better than being able to go back and review specific areas for either praise or correction. Plus, reviewing with individuals their recorded progress or regression is a very powerful training tool.

  1. Onboarding

Even if somebody is an A-Player it does not mean they are perfect. Too many onboarding programs fail to adapt to the candidate, thus slowing the speed to effectiveness of the new hire.

Simulations don’t just weed out bad candidates. They also help you to assess a good candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses in a hyper-accurate way. This allows you to design/implement an onboarding process to speed them to productivity. Not to mention it helps in offer decisions like salary negotiations.

5 ½.  Positioning Your Company as the Best

The War for Talent is upon us and there are only so many A-Players out there. The mistake most organizations commit is purposefully making the hiring process easier out of fear of losing the candidate.

Thomas Payne said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” Being with the BEST requires paying the PRICE. Candidates learn respect for the position and respect for the company by demonstrating how seriously the company takes the hiring process. The best gauge_greencandidates don’t want to be with some company that just rolls over. Remember everybody wants to belong to The Club that is impossible to get in.

87% of people who voluntarily (i.e .Quit) leave a company do so because of a lack of growth and development opportunity. Its human nature to want to improve, to develop new skills, succeed and advance. If you have good people, make them better.
Use simulations to continually train and develop your team. And you know what they call the company with the top employees… they call that company the BEST!

To ensure you are hiring A-Players and for training to be impactful and ‘sticky’ both have to be closely tied to how things are actually done in your organization. This is why simulations are such a critical management tool.

Hiring A Sales Superstar: The Wrap-Up

Between stimulus and response there is always choice” Victor Frankl

All right now, you have put you candidates through the prescribed series of interviews, tests and simulations. You are down to the candidate you want to hire so now what?


Hiring A Sales Superstar: The Position Contract

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
Sir Francis Bacon

Part 3: Details, Details, Details

We spent the first 2 posts laying out the pieces of the Hire-Right System. Today we are going to start digging into the specifics.

Let’s begin at the beginning… the job description or what I call the Position Contract. The mistake that most companies make is a not defining the specifics of the job. Sales management, as a general rule, thinks that they should make the Position Contract as simple as possible. The problem is that they confuse a lack of needed detail with simplicity.

I am a outer space junkie. Reading everything from Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ to sci-fi and watching all things Star Trek. Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movies in this genre’ and I have seen it countless times. I loved the way they paid attention to the most minute detail of space travel. In particular, how they showed that there was not one detail that was too small to be left to chance. Everything they did had a checklist and spelled out process to complete the task.

So the question I ask is “why does sales management think they can or should skimp on the details of a Position Contract? Are sales, the life blood of any company, any less important? How many lives are dependent on a sales person doing their job right and effectively? With that in mind, below are some excerpts from a Position Contract I developed
for a client. I will be posting a link with the entire document in a few days until then feel free to call me with any questions.

Position Contract Excerpt Begins

Position Specific Standards: List all quantity, quality and behavior standards which this position is accountable:

  • total number of calls and visits responded to, generated and converted into buying activity will be recorded, measured and reviewed using GoldMine reports
  • your personal lead conversion success will be recorded, measured and reviewed using GoldMine reports
  • new customer dollar quota____ defined as business that is not currently with (__________)
  • Scheduled work hours for this position are: As needed

Sales will:

  • develop & maintain an “at-a boy file”
  • develop & maintain a competition file
  • deliver weekly & monthly synopsis of concerns to Sales Manager in the form of 1:1 meeting
  • maintain & develop database of minimum 100 suspect companies at all times
  • be a resource of information to help the customer continually improve their overall business operation
  • fax/e-mail/mail to minimum 25 prospects per week, 100 per month, 1200 per year
  • follow up telephone contact and fax within 5 business days
  • continually analyze lead generation process and measure for consistent results, any revisions in the process will be documented and presented to Sales Manager for decision on implementation
  • conduct sales interviews according to sales strategy process
  • prepare proposal to address item(s) of dissatisfaction or needs
  • rehearse presentation in full in front of sales Sales Manager or at his prior approval, another sales associate or video tape (if video taped must be reviewed by Sales Manager)
    present proposals
  • arrange and orchestrate customer site visits
  • present actions necessary to advance and finalize the sale
  • arrange for implementation of ____ services
  • follow up on any lead or referral within a 24-hour time frame or forfeit that lead to the Sales Manager.
  • They will also document source, strategy and success of that lead in GoldMine database and reward the source through appropriate company procedures
  • continually analyze sales/marketing strategy and measure for consistent results, any revisions in the process will be documented and presented to Sales Manager for decision on implementation

Position Contract Excerpt Ends

I think you get the picture. There is no detail too small or insignificant to be left out. Don’t take anything for granted. When you pay this amount of attention to detail there is also a great by-product. Think of the message you are sending your potential hire. You are not only telling them that they will be held accountable, you set the standard BEFORE they come on board. All ambiguity is removed and it allows for the beginning of clear communication between you and your next Sales Superstar!

That’s all for now, Monday, 4/07/08, we will be digging into the setup and tracking of the Hire-Right System.