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Author Archives: Hunter

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The Magic of the Sales Candidate Assessment – A Special Webinar

Have you ever hired a salesperson that didn’t work out, even though you were sure they would?  Or do you need stronger salespeople to combat how difficult selling has become in 2015? If you answered yes, then this Webinar will provide you with the information to help you identify and select those very salespeople.

Register today for “The Magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment,” hosted by Dave Kurlan, Founder and CEO of Objective Management Group. Dave will lead you through a compelling 45-minute session on how the magic in OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment will put sales hiring problems in the rear view mirror.

This LIVE webinar will be held on Thursday, May 7, 2015, 11:00am-12:00pm USA Eastern Dqylight Time (GMT-4).

If you are not able to attend – just drop me a line and let’s talk.


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Evaluation of Your Sales Team? Why Now?

It seems that everyone wants to “fix” their salesforce –  rather than evaluate, they just want to do something – and its usually wrong. Let me explain.

In the last week, I have been on sales calls for recruiting replacement salespeople, on-boarding new salespeople, coaching managers and training sales skills. The companies ranged in size from $2 million to $200 million.

In every case, we were talking about a symptom of their problem. What was interesting is how they responded when I suggested we take a step back and look at what they currently have. Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the sales force.

Its always interesting to see how much people have invested in their “system” and how they really don’t want to look into “root causes”.

You may be thinking along this same line – if you think the issues are more than just “one thing” that can be addressed and repaired, I would guess your sales force will increase revenue. Maybe a quick run through our checklist for an evaluation will offer you a new direction. See how comfortable you are with the answers to these questions.

•Can We Improve Our Sales Culture?

•Who Can Become More Effective in Their Roles?

•What Are the Short-term Priorities for Accelerated Growth?

•How Does Sales Leadership Impact Our Sales Force?

•What Are Our Current Sales Capabilities?

•How Motivated Are Our Salespeople and How Are They Motivated?

•Why Aren’t We Generating More New Business?

•Are We Reaching the Actual Decision Makers?

•Why Isn’t Our Sales Cycle Shorter?

•Are We Selling Consultatively ?

•Are We Selling on Price and Who Can Become a Value Seller?

•Is Our Value Proposition Consistent?

•Can We Close More Sales?

•Do Our Systems and Processes Support a High Performance Sales Organization?

•Are We Being Consistent with Our Sales Process?

•How Well Are Our Sales Leadership Strategies Aligned?

•Do We Need to Change Our Selection Criteria?

•Is Our Ramp-Up of New Salespeople Fast Enough?

•Can We Improve Our Pipeline and Forecasting Accuracy?

And if we have got you thinking – then these last four should prompt a phone call or a quick email (Click here).

•Why aren’t we more effective?

•How much more effective can we be?

•What will it take to accomplish that?

Time to elevate performance?

Let’s get a cup of coffee and talk about it.


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Your Sales Improvement begins with an Evaluation – Why do something else?

The other day, I was asked what makes us different from the run-of-the-mill consulting firm. My first response was we aren’t just a “consulting” firm.  We are a sales force re-development firm. So you may wonder, what it is that makes us consistently effective when we work with our clients – and why we are able to get the results that we do.

Its not unusual for our initial discussions to focus on “Hiring” different levels of sales people for an organization. That is only the hub of our approach. Our process is quite complete and accountable. However, lets’  look at the spokes of the “wheel” to understand why we are successful with and for our clients. The spokes are:

  • Evaluation of the Sales Force – assessing the sales management  as well as the sales team, dive into its current structure, on-going effectiveness and real vs precieved accountability help us quickly address issues of every customer contact and every salesperson’s capabilities, their level of training, individual and collective strengths and weaknesses (we call this their Sales DNA), coaching (pre and post sales challenges) and strategic focus (customer/prospect first – solution second).
  • Infrastructure – must be integrated – not stand alone. Does your infrastructure support high performers? How is it effective regarding accountability of the sales team? Does it truly help management predict sales?  How does it monitor sales target strategy and penetration? Is it clear? Is it simple?
  • Architecture – How clearly defined are the titles? Are they based on the last salesperson or on a super sales person (neither of which will help here in setting the right expectations)? What’s the growth path for your sales people? Quotas – set for the last salesperson who had the job or set for a high performing sales person? Just some of the issues that need to be addressed before and with the onboarding of a new salesperson.
  • Training and Coaching – This may sound silly, however, it is true – superstar Michael Jordan had a coach – every step of the way in his success as a player. Hiring and developing top talent requires effective training in a “sales process” and followup coaching, re-enforcement, clear direction, well thought out goals and tailored motivation/incentive to make it work over time.

When we help our clients develop this kind of no-excuses structure, we are able to then teach them how to find and then place a high performance sales person in the right environment for success.

Your challenge today – review what is in place for an effective salesperson. Should we have a cup of coffee and talk about what you are doing now?  We wouldn’t want to begin the conversation any other way. Our name is Closer – our number is 630-357-6584 or click here send us a note.


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Elusive Salespeople – Why Can’t You find What You Know You Are Looking For?

If I were to ask you what you are looking for in a sales candidate – one who would be in your Top 1% – after about 20 minutes, I would have a list that looks something like this (you may have even handed this list to HR or your sales recruiter) :

  1. Time Management
  2. Handling Day-to-Day Stress Levels
  3. Effective Questioning
  4. Understanding of the Prospect’s Buying Process
  5. Extensive Knowledge of the Competition
  6. Willingness to Walk Away
  7. Always Learning
  8. Drive to Win

This list comes from a recent blog by Cara Hogan and is based on what she took away from a discussion group of sales leaders. As you review the list, I would guess that you would shake your head in agreement – that would be my top producer. Go find that person.

So why is it so hard to find this unique salesperson? Let’s add a little science to our narrative, to sharpen our focus.

As you may know, we have worked with Dave Kurlan and Objective Management Group since 1991. Working with Dave, we have learned we must look a little closer at the science of evaluating sales people. After assessing almost one million salespeople, he has a fairly good idea what the top 1% are made of.  Take a look:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 1.25.52 PM

To meet the criteria you are looking for this position, let’s compile an addendum to your list –  a new list of what are those characteristics. How about someone who:

  • Makes no excuses –
  • knows how to talk about money – and our value without discounts
  • Takes a “No” and moves on to the next challenge
  • Believes in themselves and in a sales process – with an understanding of people
  • Is passionate and committed, truely focused on their future – in writing
  • Live for sales and a strong sales outcome

Maybe this addition will help you in your next search for the top 1% sales person…and maybe you would like to talk to us about another dimension to your search for the Top 1% salesperson.  Click here.

Also, if you would like to see more of Dave’s analysis – go to his blog.

 

 


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Do you know where your salesperson is today?

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Its St. Patrick’s Day – an unofficial holiday for your most sociable sales person – are they out making calls or just working the bars? Let us know if you want to hire sales people who go for the green not the green beer. Go here to talk business.


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Hate Looking for a Salesperson – Part Two

Trying to find the right outside salespeople for your company is difficult. The old way of interviewing every applicant is extremely tiring and non-productive. Closer Consulting has proven, in many industries, they have the ability to identify which sales professionals can be successful selling for your company and are 90% more likely to be in the top fifty percent of your sales force within the first year.

Closer begins by asking the client a lot of questions regarding successful sales for their company. Closer Consulting then helps craft an ad to draw the kind of candidates needed.

After candidates apply, they must do an online assessment based on the client’s profile. How would this work? In a recent search, the client’s ad generated 213 applicants of which only 53 chose to do the assessment, and only 27 of those were considered hirable for our client. Talk about weeding out the people who would waste time during the search!

Since the online assessment produces a report that uncovers  sales skills the candidate has/doesn’t have and gives a recommendation of Hirable or Not Hirable, the assessment reduced the number candidates to 26.

The next step for the candidates considered Hirable is to conduct in-depth interviews that determine if they are a fit for the company and its sales culture. The process recommends the best candidates for the interviews.  What makes this remarkable is a “Better Speed from Job Opening to Hire.” Is that something we should talk about?

 


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Hate Looking for a Salesperson – You are not alone! – Part One

When your company is searching for new sales professionals, do you dread the process because:

1)    It takes too much of your time to review resumes and conduct interviews.

2)    Too many people apply that don’t have the skills that your company needs.

3)    Far too often, you make a decision to hire because you like the personality and appearance of the candidate, only to find out later that the individual you selected can’t sell their way out of a box.

4)    You find it difficult to fire an individual that you have gotten to know and still like.

You are not alone.

A client of ours recently advertised for the position of a territory salesperson with a $80,000 base plus commission.  During a period of about 25 days, they received 213 applications. Having had experience reviewing resumes, doing phone interviews as well as multiple face-to-face interviews, consider how much of your time it would take to make a selection.

Instead of spending countless hours that easily could lead to making a mistake, the client chose Closer Consulting to do the upfront work of selecting only the best candidates to recommend.

How did Closer Consulting do this, you ask? For the answer, check out: Hate Looking for a Salesperson – Part Two

 


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The Rotary Club of Naperville presents first Mayoral forum

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The Rotary Club of Naperville sponsored its first ever Mayoral Candidate Forum today and ABC Ch. 7 News was there, along with Anchor Alan Krashesky who moderated the forum for about 160 attendees. Congratulations to The Rotary Club of Naperville! It was a wonderful event bringing all the candidates for mayor together, giving them an opportunity to communicate with the voters in a positive environment. It would not have been possible without the support of Rotary’s President John Gallagher and Rotary Club Rotarians Wendy Gross, Kathryn Hoffman, Rachael Ossyra, Liz Zienty,  and Atul Akhand and the many club members who helped set up and take down each event. We were able to live our theme – Leadership through Community Service. Naperville owes all involved a big thank you.


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What is the Cost of a Poor Salesperson?

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What did it cost you the last time you hired a salesperson who didn’t work out?

No matter the size of your company, the investment for an unproductive sales hire is through the roof. The lost opportunities coupled with the amount of time spent on that “sure hire” (you know the kind – years of experience, industry connections and very professional appearance!) almost makes you want to cry.

In small to medium-sized companies, the impact is felt even more as quotas and expected revenue fail to materialize. I’ve always wondered why its not on the Top 5 list for senior management to hire and retain effective, impactful salespeople and sales managers. Many seem to have accepted the “That’s the Cost of Doing Business” mentality. And in some of the larger companies, they ask HR to find “productive salespeople”  while demanding HR to also fill every position in the company. No wonder management doesn’t talk to the right candidates. What’s the real cost of a mis-hire?

One of our partners in our “STAR” hiring program is Dr. Brad Smart. He developed the formula I have used below. So what are the costs to any business considering hiring a rookie or a seasoned professional:

Cost of Hires Chart v1As you look at the numbers  – note the cost of hiring is only 3% to 4% of what you are budgeting. As for compensation, I am figuring it at one year – yet the reality is, with a strong on-boarding program, you will be able to determine if they are a fit within 90 days or less.

Items that can’t fit into the budget –  the amount of time spent interviewing with staff, a poorly constructed hiring process that doesn’t sync up with the needs of the sales department, the lack of a solid marketing program – items that are hard to put a number on.

As with any issue, it all comes back to the beginning. What’s your strategy? What’s the process? Does it work? I would invite you to call me for a cup of coffee and a chat about improving your success rate in hiring sales people/managers – just click here. Or you may want to join me at next week’s Naperville Chamber of Commerce “Lunch and Learn” on Thursday, Feb 26th beginning at 11:30 till 1 pm. where we will talk about finding and retaining a superstar salesperson. To register – click here.

Oh, lunch is on me.

 

 


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Naperville City Council Candidates Demonstrate Leadership at Rotary Forum

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After attending three public forums sponsored by the Rotary Club of Naperville for the Naperville ‘s city council April 7th election, I realized that I was trying to determine the candidate’s  “Leadership Quotient”. Its something we do when we are interviewing sales management candidates for our clients.

As we size up a candidate, we usually work from Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower thinking – “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because HE wants to do it.”  And looking at leadership through the eyes of modern management guru Peter Drucker,” Effective leadership is not about making speeches and being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes”.

As a sales development consultant, identifying leaders is hard and even more difficult to find them.  They don’t usually show up on a stage and ask for the job. However, watching and listening to the candidates prompted me to think about  some questions they were asked and how they might work through our interview filter.

First, what is your vision for Naperville? The first question every candidate was asked in the forum. –   tell us why they were running for this office. This should have led to the candidates offering a ‘clear’ vision of the future that could excite a voter – to draw them into the voting booth and into the conversation. In our interviews of sales candidates, it usually tells us from the beginning if we are talking to a leader or a manager.

From the forum we heard how most candidates talked about what was wrong with Naperville and how they would fix it. They talked a lot about process and how to fix it. That is management talking. It may come as a surprise to many of these folks but we aren’t electing them for management.

Another question that was asked  – Tell us about a mistake you have made and what you learned from it? When one asks this question, its to take a measure of one’s character and approach to life. How they handled it and how they have grown contributes to their “Leadership style”. As you might expect, it was a very hard question for the candidates to answer.

There are other areas that one checks out – Core Values, Goals, Ability to get things done through others, and even persuasiveness.

It was a good to hear those who want to lead our city talk about their vision – it will be the basis of their campaign. I would say most of them would make it to the second interview.


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