David M. Madeo, President of Tilli LLC, and Certified Sales Coach and Trainer, recently sat down with Geoff Farwell, Morgan Hunter Senior Recruiter in the Sales & Marketing division, to discuss hiring and training trends in the sales industry in Part 1 of this Q&A series.
When It comes to placing sales candidates, we work with a variety of different companies, from the manufacturing industry to the IT sector to medical. In your experience, have you ever had to change how you train salespeople based on the industry, or is your philosophy transferable to all industries regardless of product?
Principles in sales remain the same and certainly transfer to all industries. What immediately popped out to me as you were asking this question was the business or sales cycle for each industry. Our schedules can make or break all of us. Each industry and each task within that industry uses different terms, follows certain trends, focuses on specific targets, and runs at a certain pace.
For example, a graphic designer works within a cycle of projects, different than a capital salesman or owner of a business may work off a more long-term sales cycle. All along, the sales principles remain the same to effectively communicate value. Exercising those principles are easily directed based on the importance of each industries’ tasks.
Knowing that everyone can always sharpen their knife when it comes to sales tactics, at what point do you believe the sales rep has “graduated” from your training?
Never! The most successful people in history have a drive to keep learning. As a consultant in this area, it challenges me to learn more content as well, passing it on to my clients. Iron sharpens iron. We don’t know what we don’t know. There is ALWAYS more to learn. As for my business model, I have many clients who use me as a coach for years on end, and other partners maintain me as a consultant for their day-to-day activity with their leaders and sales team.
We interview up to 100 people per month in our Sales/Marketing Recruiting division. As a certified sales trainer, do you go through an interview process to find out if individuals qualify for your training courses?
Everyone one of us is in sales. Parents sell to their kids why eating vegetables and getting sleep is important, the same way managers sell their initiatives and ideas to the team. Even those positions or industries who we may naturally not think of as sales oriented are selling something to someone.
I have several different programs to offer, however, focused on my individual one-on-one coaching program, we absolutely make sure the participant is going to be coachable, committed, and absolutely ready to learn. I have talked with artists, IT managers, academic teachers and personally coached many industries you wouldn’t believe. I challenge everyone to try and think of someone who is not using their communication to influence another. When we call our cell phone company, are we not using our verbal and non-verbal communication to get the end result we desire? Those working through medical care with a loved one — are you not working through what you feel is best for that person, and may have to convince others of your position? Jesus himself was even in sales, and look what He is selling! Now you see why each and every one of us are in sales?
If you were to interview someone to come in and be a sales rep for your company, what are a couple key questions you would you ask them and why?
I am HUGE on character, not only the skill, especially with the polarized belief systems of 2018. Right now, the companies seeing the most LONG term success, are hiring based off the key ingredients of character, values, principles, honesty, and integrity that match with the organization. Hiring strictly off skill, I wholeheartedly disagree with for various reasons. One, skill is easy to manipulate on a resume. Two, why would you want someone with great skill that you cannot trust? And three, those are the very people that can be a disease in your company, ultimately taking it down. No thanks!
To find those with character, I suggest asking about specific examples of times when they solved a problem. Another powerful question is asking about a time when they made a mistake, opening up to their ability to admit a time they may have been incorrect on an approach. Vision is also important to me to find out how goal-oriented each person is. There are many different philosophies when attempting to find the right employees, so those out there looking to add a few weapons to your bag, try adding those.
Buying signs are something a seasoned salesperson is always looking for, but that can be challenging to identify early on. Do you have a “rule of thumb” when it comes to looking for those buying signs?
Great question Geoff. Before we get into that, it is important to keep the integrity principle of never trying to “sell” a product or service to anyone who truly does not need it. We can often misidentify buying signs and can use the methods to manipulate a potential client into a commitment when that customer is truly not the right fit.
Having said that, the most successful salespeople usually believe in their product and ask the right questions to begin to identify if the signs we are reading are positive or negative. When we feel our sales cycle is moving the right direction, some basic buying signs to look for are: when the customer is asking you a lot of questions, the client is laughing, asking what steps are next are the easy ones. WARNING: DO NOT assume that only because you are fielding objections, there is no interest. Objections can mean “you have not found or solved my problem.”
When teaching your selling tactics, what would you consider the hardest thing for young, ambitious sales people to absorb?
One of the most frequent tendencies I come across is the understanding of how much money can be made in sales. A person new to sales realizing the capability to make more money than other conventional high paying jobs such as a doctor or a therapist or even a CEO at times can be overwhelming! Some industries’ salesmen can make hundreds of thousands, even a million or more…it’s exciting!
However, the income is a side effect of how we conduct ourselves along with our business. Unfortunately, if not balanced correctly, one can fall into a trap of dishonesty and poor service, the typical stigma that “bad” salespeople often are given. Those that can conduct their business dealings and sales cycles with the utmost integrity and service will naturally have a positive financial effect, among other very nice rewards.
We often are recruiting candidates that are not necessarily looking to make a move, and it can be challenging to overcome objection in that scenario. If you were in my shoes, how would you sell a candidate that the opportunity you have available for them is worth exploring?
It must be the right fit. We all have an income number in mind and if that number is offered, our eyes open wide. Does that mean it is the right fit? Possibly, but just like anyone selling a product, we have to find those pain points in our clients and find out what is important to them.
Finding the right fit in not easy, and is easier said than done, however, connecting on company culture and size of the organization should help in setting the expectations of both your candidates and the business partnerships using you to find them the right people. In any product or service we are selling, we must find the hot buttons.
Contact Geoff Farwell to discuss your Sales & Marketing hiring needs
Direct: (913) 409-1183
Contact David Madeo to discuss sales training programs and to receive a free consultation!
Direct: (816) 529-8255
David is the founder and creator of tilli™. A 2005 graduate with a B.A. in Marketing and Communications, he has always been captivated by the influence of others in a business environment and the direct effect this has on a company’s survival and growth. Building on nearly 10 successful years of medical device sales, his career portfolio includes startups to worldwide corporations in a wide array of healthcare environments, including device manufacturers and distributors of home medical and capital equipment, OR, PT/OT, CHT, ATC, skilled nursing, assisted living, home health, hospice, encompassing acute and non-acute settings. He currently consults, coaches, speaks and trains within various industries including healthcare, mortgage, real estate, financial planning, construction, and entrepreneurship among others.
Geoff has been in the Staffing industry since 2010 – placing permanent, temporary, and temporary to hire professionals in a wide range of fields. Geoff grew up in Denver, CO, and landed at the University of Kansas where he studied Health and Exercise Science. During college, he started his career in sales/marketing and never let up. Since 2010, he has developed a reputation in the industry for acclimating to his clients’ and candidates’ needs as they grow and look for new, promising opportunities. His ability to adapt as the industry evolves has placed him in prime position to cater to our customers’ ever-changing visions, as well as our candidates’ desires to start the next chapter in their careers.