This head-scratcher comes up more than you'd think. We get asked it all the time, and if that many people are asking—how many people aren't? If you’re asking this question too (whether vocally or not), read on…
Hiring a MPS superstar salesperson is one of those occasions where the size of your business truly doesn't matter. Regardless of whether you have a sales force of over 1,000 reps or you’re a sleek 3-person MPS provider; you're people are your company just like your word is your bond. People are the strongest differentiating factor in the services game, and to succeed you need, at least one, sales superstar. A steady stream of them is better.
To build this steady stream of sales superstars you need to know where to look, and you need to do it soon because with the strong future and immediate need for Managed Print Services—you're about to look for your new superstar amongst a pack of hungry wolves. So it's a good thing you're asking this question now.
There is a nearly-patented, 3-step process to help you find top-performing superstars:
1. Searching: you need an on-going search that continually puts feelers out for qualified candidates. This means keeping your radar up.
2. Selection: you need a top-notch interviewing and screening process to whittle your list down to the best candidate(s).
3. Sustaining Performance: superstars are a flash in the pan if they aren't supported properly. Trust us, it is worth it to nurture that talent because finding them sure ain't easy.
If you haven't given any thought to the gravity of your sales staff then give it a moment of pensive silence now.
Selecting a knowledgeable sales person with a personality that will deliver high returns will likely be one of the biggest decisions you make this year. It will also be a decision that will keep paying off—or continue to be a thorn in your side. Just think about how much time and effort you put into your Managed Print business plan; now who do you think is going to make it happen. You develop the genius ideas but without staff on the ground to turn them into reality, well. Consider this, what would hurt more, picking the wrong software or hiring an uninspired salesman?
If you think that glorious MFP in your showroom are still the most alluring thing you sell, then you may need to start reading more than just the manufacturer’s brochures! Most business people have recognized that hardware is just a commodity, which is why MPS is taking off—because “who's service is better” is a better argument than who's (nearly-identical) MFP machine is better.
This is why you NEED the right person. Let’s begin with how to locate the talent (but stay tuned for upcoming blogs on how to select and maintain this talent). To begin we'll start with four best talent-scouting practices that we've gleamed from our most successful MFP dealers—many of whom learned the hard way. In hopes of letting you learn from their hard lessons of what NOT to try, here are the four best places TO try:
You may have found your last lawnmower on craigslist but if you aren't using it to lure some of the best young talent out there then you are missing the boat. The site is good for a lot more than just lawnmowers and best of jokes. Many of our dealers swear by it. Consider this: the average age of MPS reps in North America is just 27.2 years old. So if you're looking for under-30 talent, you need to go where they look for jobs, and that's craigslist. Monster and CareerBuilder work too, but you have more competition there. Also, craigslist is free.
2. Best Buy
If craigslist is where you bought your lawnmower then Best Buy is likely where you bought your iPod. But next time you head in, try to pick up more than just the latest trendy gadget. Big Box electronic stores like Best Buy hire young go-getters who grew up around technology. Also, they have been trained up the wazoo on customer service, sales and product knowledge. While not all these minimum-wagers will turn into great sales people, your radar should tell you which ones are bored and need more of a challenge; and which ones are dying to pursue the customer instead of just wait for one to approach them in the PC section. And before you start feeling bad for poaching Best Buy's staff, remember that you're likely going to pay them better and give them income opportunities that would take a decade to earn in retail.
3. Ask your Customers
People know when they are being sold, but they don't seem to mind when they respect the person doing it. Who better to ask then the people being sold? Start with your closer clients, the ones you have tight-knit relationships with, that you're looking for good talent to expand your business with. They will likely be more than happy to help you out by refer the superstars they deal with how to contact you. Try this, you might be surprised how quickly you will be meeting with the cream of the crop.
4. Sell your Website's Career Page
They say the easiest person to 'sell' is a salesperson. So if you're Careers Page isn't convincing them of why they need to be working for you, then you won't attract the best of the best. Also, any salesperson worth their salt will research your company's website before applying—so give them a careers page with some meat on it – not the same old stuff that’s on everybody elses. For some ideas on how to spruce up your page, check out what we've done with our Career Page (because it's working!).
Aside from the above four ways, the only other tried, tested and true way to attract top talent is to hire a headhunter. But a warning to you rookies - be prepared to pay a pretty penny.
If you've already got a superstar-searching method that's been working for you, please let us know. If we use your idea in an upcoming LMI blog then we'll send you a $50 Best Buy gift certificate so that you can do some recruiting on us!