Ep #13: How To Hire A Sales A-Player
In this part 2 episode on sales, Dr. Nick & Dr. Nicole cover how to hire (and not hire) your ideal sales person. They walk you through red flags to look out for in the interview process and define what makes a great salesperson. Dr. Nicole weaves in her hospitality experience to shed light on the incentive of restaurant workers and how that translates in the workforce.
“You can have letters behind your name but there’s a difference between credentials & credibility.” - Dr. Nicole
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Noteworthy Time Stamps:
2:53 Values & interviewing in alignment with them
4:06 Being “people smart”
8:30 Salary, rate, commission structure
11:03 Hospitality & the restaurant industry
17:20 The money-value roadblock
21:20 Recap of episode
LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE
This is the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast where it’s not what you do, but how you do it. This is a podcast for entrepreneurs, brought to you by entrepreneurs. We have been building a multi-million dollar healthcare business for over 10 years, and we have weaved together some of the best information for the people that are doing the best work in the business. This includes Dr. Demartini, who is a master in human behavior to Verne Harnish, who has created the methodologies of scaling up that has scaled many, many of the best businesses that we all know of. We want you to not only have a business that you love, but also a life that you love.
All right, so we are back with part two which is all about how to hire the best of the best salespeople so that you can start getting the best quality clients that are with you for the longterm.
Let’s do it.
It was like he looked like he had something really great to say, but apparently not. Just a name drop, a book drop, that I’m going to throw out here. So one of the things that we feel like really transformed our business through the hiring process is something called top grade hiring, or top grading hiring, or top grade hiring, one of the other. But the book is actually called Who by Jeffrey Smart.
This was something that was introduced through my scaling up certification. And it was awesome because I feel like there are so many ways to skin a cat, quote, unquote, but really what I mean is there are so many ways to set up your hiring process. I feel that a lot of the things that we were exposed to prior, were not, they weren’t doing it, let’s put it that way. They were not getting us quality candidates because I just felt that the questions were very general. what the top grading hiring really taught us was it’s not just about having a series of set questions, but it’s really creating more open-ended questions. In our brick and mortar business, the integrative medicine business, we ended up having to create a couple of different sets of questions to take individuals through.
When we were hiring any employee, it was really going through situational questions that allowed us to see if these people were truly in alignment with our core values of our company, which is pretty much what we stand for and are also non-negotiables for how we show up for our clients. In addition to that, is when we were hiring anyone who was going to do anything clinical, so anything from doctors to practitioners assistants, chiropractors, is we wanted to make sure that they were competent, they were clinically competent.
Everyone came from different walks of life, different schooling, had different certifications and when we started to get into negotiations of salary and benefits and bonuses is that, people had requests for large salaries and large bonus structures, et cetera, et cetera. It was on the basis that they had all of these letters at the end of their name. Some individuals, back in the day, before we knew better, we hired and they were not as smart as their credentials showed. We realized there’s a very big difference between credentials and credibility.
Or they were really smart, but they couldn’t sell anything.
Well, they couldn’t talk to people. They weren’t people smart.
That’s what I’m saying. You can be the smartest person in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t sell anything because if you can’t sell anything, you can’t help anybody.
Everything, every single help, first involves a sale.
Yes. This actually ties into … what I love about our background at the institute, the Integrative Growth Institute is that Dr. Nick has studied under Dr. Demartini with human behavior. I have gone through the Scaling Up certification, but then I’ve also been introduced to so many other individuals that I feel are pioneering in their field. One of those individuals was Patrick Lencioni, who, he prides himself on transforming organizational health and businesses. I’ve read literally every single one of his books, his books are fan-freaking-tastic, just a shout out to him. He really, really killed it with how he wrote his books. They’re all written in a fable. So they’re super, super easy to read.
But one of the things that came back to the hiring process, or really just even taking a look at the current employees you have is, are they hungry, humble, and smart? Learning this principle was so significant and eyeopening, but humble is pretty self-explanatory is (and especially when you get into the sales field) you want individuals that are driven by their commissions. That’s obviously not a bad thing, but are they willing to go against the principle in the last podcast, which is, do what’s best for the client in order to make the sale.
That’s where the line in the sand happens is, yes, you need them to be driven by that compensation and those commissions, but at the same time, you don’t want them to be driven for the wrong reasons, that it’s all self-serving and they’re like, well, this person’s not a good fit, but I’m going to convert them anyway, because I want the commission.
That’s foundationally everything we do now is we take people through their values and look and see what’s most important to them and make sure that every decision that they do, is also serving the business and vice versa. Once we know that, that the business is serving the employee, that the employee is serving the business, that’s a fair exchange. What I love about this is that it sets the ground rules of how we do. It goes back to, it’s not what you do, but how you do it. And what I love most about that is it is black and white. When you go against that and say, “Hey, this client really was not in the best interest of our business.” And going back and like, “These were the red flags. Did you see them?” If you didn’t see them, we can teach that.
If you saw them, and you went against it, then it was a win-lose situation. It was, you won, you got your commission, but then the business lost. And the goal is to always have that win-win relationship. They’re winning, they’re growing their money and the business is winning, where business is growing its money. And when both parties grow together, then we can serve more people and that’s the fun part about life is really trying to get win-win where everybody’s just constantly winning and growing at the same time.
Yeah. It can sound like not a huge deal if someone has converted, that maybe isn’t the best fit, but it is a massive ripple effect into your business because an individual who is not the right fit tends to be the person who has many complaints or needs so much extra customer service and it ends up draining the energy of the rest of the team. Don’t take that lightly.
And it’s not just draining, but it’s also, it takes time away from actually providing a better service to the customers that are really your customer.
Exactly, a hundred percent. But going back to the hungry, humble and smart. Touching on humble, but hungry is obviously very important when it comes to a sales position because most of the time, and everyone structures things differently, is that in a sales position, some individuals are making no base salary or no hourly rate and then some companies are choosing to do a low hourly rate, but the bulk of their money is being made through a commission.
Being hungry enough that they are okay with that structure. Obviously most individuals, if they are going to doubt themselves, they’re probably not going to want to work in that structure. But if you have a sales person who was coming to you and applying for the position, but is asking for a very large base salary, that should be a huge red flag to you because that means they need that salary because they do not feel confident that they are going to make enough sales and be able to benefit from that commission structure.
That is definitely something to keep in mind. If you have an individual that knows the industry and also feels confident in their selling skills, then they will be completely fine with either, 10 bucks an hour or no hourly rate or no base salary whatsoever.
Yeah, and when you look at the math, they can make more crushing their job versus being shitty at their job and not having any sales.
A hundred percent. The last one here is, smart. This can sound silly in the sales industry, “Do I really need someone with a college degree to be working on my sales team?” But this isn’t about being intellectually smart. This is about being people smart. I think that this actually trumps the other two when it comes to the sales profession. I say this because a really great salesperson really needs to be able to connect. They need to be able to listen and connect with an individual and feel empathetic, not sympathetic, empathetic to the pain points, but be excited about their pain points because they have a solution to those pain points. Then also, to be able to read the person when they’re shutting down, or read when you said something that they didn’t like and being able to pivot and auto-correct from there. Those things are so important in the sales industry.
It’s very funny because I worked in the restaurant industry most of my life. I guess I had no idea what it was really preparing me for, but I had to learn those skills. You were running around and you were put on the spot if someone was upset or if someone had a complaint and you had to roll with it yet and you had to turn it around or make them smile and be able to buffer things in a way that they were leaving happy, even though maybe midway through the meal there was an issue. Being able to also even pick up on an individual’s face when they get their food and they’re poking at it. Maybe they just are too shy to say, “I hate this”. But being able to be like, “Hey, you’re not digging that, huh? Let me get you something else.” It’s very interesting. I do find that people in that industry tend to do really well in sales and especially because they’re used to making most of their money in tips.
Oh, a hundred percent. When you look at a people person, they’re giving somebody really one of their voids, what they’re missing in their life and that’s being seen and being heard. When we can just realize that, that people want to be heard, they want to be seen, but to a certain extent, because some people just want to go on and share their story that they’re so attached to their story. In sales, it’s about being able to connect their story to their pain points and then drive that to what you said, to the solution. That’s what sales is all about is, listening first for the subject of pain points, turning that into objective details and then being able to share that there are solutions to be able to achieve the goals objectively. Once you achieve those objectives goals, the subjectivity is going to change.
As long as someone is truly passionate about that solution as well. I think that that’s the most important thing. And also know that this situation can happen is you have certain individuals that might come into your company and be over the moon about your mission and your product or your service, and sometimes that can change because they might’ve had a fantasy of what it is and then realize, maybe this isn’t what I thought and they lose that passion.
You do need to be checking in with your sales team to make sure that as they progress in their position, that they’re just equally as passionate from the day that they got started or even more passionate because now they know the intricacies of the business. I know that we dealt with this just because people thought that it was sunshine and rainbows in the integrative medicine space and I’m like, “No, people go through rough detoxes” before they can … and not everyone, but some individuals have to go through a rough spot before they get to the other side. That’s a completely normal part of the process because what happens on the other side is beautiful. But some people really just thought it was like lattes yoga and like braiding each other’s hair. I was like, “No.”
Being aware of that, and it’s really coming back to that smart principle is as the CEO or the business owner, we have to also embrace that and we have to constantly be … well, I should say we should have the time to be able to check in with our team, but also not ignoring your gut feeling if you feel like someone seems off, or someone seems like they’re as not as driven or passionate as they were when they got started with the company.
And as always, it’s like every single sale, honestly, it’s emotional and that’s why I like sales because I like emotions. It helps me understand people and life. But when we understand that every single sale is emotional, it just goes back to the concept that every single decision that we make it’s based on us seeing more benefits than drawbacks in that moment. So in sales, you’re constantly the sales person themselves, they have to first and foremost see that there’s more benefits than drawbacks.
Especially in a high price point, some people coming in selling, they may not be comfortable with selling such a high price point. They have to see that there’s more benefits than drawbacks from just that monetary view or whatever the hiccup may be. That’s part of just understanding that is, whether it’s the person happened to do a decent amount of work themselves, whether that’s money, whatever time, it’s always about just the act of compounding and literally linking and compounding the benefits. So stacking more benefits and more benefits, more benefits until it becomes a no brainer that taking action on this is actually going to give them their solutions to remove all the pain points and there’s more benefits than drawbacks to not do it.
So I have my own opinion, but I’m going to ask you based on what you just said is that, do you think that there is a point in time that … let me backtrack, so you have a sales individual and you notice that there is some pushback when it comes to selling the high price point package, let’s say, and they checked the boxes for the hiring process and you take them through the benefits and drawbacks and you start linking, okay, the benefits of doing this program at this price point, because these are the results to expect, do you feel that there comes a point in time that you have to call a spade, a spade with an individual that you’re taking them through, maybe these exercises, and you’re teaching them about the culture and you’re teaching them about the benefits of the program that they still have that monetary roadblock that you’re just like, “This is not a fit.”
So the true answer is that if there’s a monetary roadblock, they don’t have the value for it. So they don’t believe what you’re doing, the product, the service and anything. It’s never about the money. It’s always about value and whether that’s value and the time or value in the product or service. If there’s a hiccup with money and they’re not wanting to sell it, it’s just because they don’t believe in whatever you’re providing.
Yeah, I a hundred percent agree.
We can actually change that though. You can put in time with a sales person and it’s really going through and looking at the roadblocks and being able to take that roadblock and link and see how an aspect of their life, because that’s really, it’s just a reflection of themselves. So you have to work on themselves and you’re not working on a story. You’re working on them, true self. I get pissed off when people are like, “We’ll just change your story”. I’m like, no, that’s still in effect. So it’s like, you want to work on the cause of the effect, which is the monetary issue.
Once we can go through that, find that perception that was imbalanced between getting this and paying that, then you can go through and really figure out what’s most important in their life, their highest values, and then link that to those services and how it’s going to benefit them to the point where they’ll be like, oh yeah, a hundred percent I would pay for this because it’s going to increase what’s most important to me. Once you get to that, then they’re going to be a great salesperson. Sometimes, very rarely, but sometimes they don’t want to link it. There’s, whatever it is and then it’s like, okay, you’re not in the right position. You may be in the right position, but the wrong company.
Yeah. Well, I think what you’re saying is actually something we experienced, because I think that what people should know is also, if you make a shift in your company, if you pivot and your service or your product looks a bit different is checking in with your team as a whole, but also checking in with your sales team, because you might notice your sales takes a dip.
In the Growth Institute, the Growth Institute used to be the Institute for Integrative Wellness and that was all about teaching doctors how to do integrative medicine and then as we had students come through, their biggest void was business tactics. Then we shifted into creating the Integrative Growth Institute, which was founded on the Scaling Up methodology, the human behavior work of Demartini and that’s who we are and what we do now. And certain individuals that got started when we were still IIW, there was a lot of pushback with the new programs and the pricing of the programs and it really just came back to, they weren’t as passionate about the direction that the company went. That was totally okay. But it was huge to see that before we kept an individual in a position selling something that they truly weren’t passionate about.
Right. And with that, it’s just taking the time to be able to see is it still going to be a win-win relationship. And if so, awesome, put the time in to grow them and that will grow your business. But if you take the time to make sure that it’s a win-win and it’s not a win-win, then it’s time to let somebody go. That’s completely perfect and great because anytime that a business grows there’s changes, and if there’s changes that can change, what’s most important to either the business, the values of the business or the values of the employees as well.
When there is major growth, major change, then you always have to, as an executive, have to go through each one of your employees or have a system to go through each one of your employees to make sure that there’s still, that win-win, if you don’t take that time, which is painful, I get it, but if you don’t, it’s going to create a lot more pain, and a lot more headaches.
Yeah. Well, I want to wrap up this session with just a few really important points. So number one is, you really need to build out the avatar of your ideal sales person. And that avatar comes back to this idea of, are they humble, are they hungry, and are they people smart? But taking that a step further of connecting that with the core values of your company. So for those of you that are like, “What the heck is she talking about? I don’t even know what core values are. I’ve never even thought about that for my company.”
Something you can take advantage of is our Growth Factory. So Growth Factory is a very low price program that we put together that actually gives you a lot of introductory modules on how to figure out the core values of your company, how to get started with meetings. We actually have an amazing module about sales that dives really deep in how to hire sales people, but also how to structure commission structures, et cetera.
When it comes to Growth Factory, you can really start to dive into learning the core values of your company because I literally cannot tell you how essential this is to your company culture, but your hiring process. We have individuals that we have taken through our core values questions in the hiring process, and it showed so much about their character. It was so obvious that some individuals were just an absolute horrible fit for our company. One of our big values is have each other’s back and we take people through a situational question that creates a story around a client/employee interaction and if that other employee would have the back of their coworker in the event that there was a disgruntled client.
I just remember one individual, he threw the co-worker under the bus in the interview. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is so bad, you were burying yourself.” But I’m glad that I learned it in the interview process and I didn’t have to learn it after I hired him. So that is really, really important. And then obviously when you go through our deep dive diagnostics, which is literally a diagnostic process for your business, Dr. Nick and I, Dr. Nick actually will go through and figure out your own personal values and then we actually bring that together with the core values of your company and that’s really where you see the magic happens.
But you got to start somewhere. Growth Factory is a really, really great starting point. Core values is huge and then really being able to now take all of this once you get them hired is how do you bring the process to life without creating so much work for the company, as well as the sales team, how can you leverage getting them on various strategy calls, weeding out the people that aren’t a fit, giving more time to the people that are a fit, and then really being able to bring in your ideal client. And that’s what we’re going to cover in the next module.
Work smarter, not harder.
Heck yeah, we worked way too hard for so many years. We are big advocates of that. It’s such a cheesy line, but like, oh my gosh, it is, it’s so relevant. All right, guys, we will see you on the next episode. I will be covering how to bring your sales process to life.
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