Don't Just 'Show Up and Throw Up'
Now that I have your attention I will give you the rest of the story. I believe that is what Paul Harvey would have said. And if you are looking for the next great salesperson, you do need the whole story.
Home care companies are looking to expand their reach, locate new customers and increase their network of business contacts. The advertisement in the yellow pages and that new sign in front of the retail store are not doing enough to generate business to compensate for the reimbursement changes and the growing costs of operating a business.
One solution is the hiring of a new and great sales representative. But what should you look for when you hire? What traits are most important? In other words, what makes a great salesperson?
Because the best teachers are our colleagues in the industry who are continually looking for the best and brightest stars, I posed these questions to some who manage, administer or work a sales territory on a daily basis.
One of the answers I got was from Willene Bandy of Sumner Health Care in Gallatin, Tenn. With a background in operations, Willene reminds us that “listening is a No. 1 priority. A sales rep should never just ‘show up and throw up,’ which is what so many people do. Knowledge is very important and is often overlooked for a pretty face.”
A solid start, but I also want to share with you just some of the other responses I received:
Helen Kent, Progressive Medical, Carlsbad, Calif., provides a clear, concise and very interesting suggestion about what type of person to seek out. She is an owner with a long-term vision in mind. “I want someone who is hungry, young and wants a career. I can teach them the industry and the basics.”
Robert Steedley, Barnes Healthcare Services, Valdosta, Ga., is also interested in the long term, and he offers some great advice about handling the employment interview. “When evaluating a sales representative, I look for clues that suggest they will be successful for the long term. These include an attitude of service to internal and external customers, the willingness to adapt to change and a desire to work as part of a team. The absence of any one of these qualities would most likely disqualify an applicant.
“You can learn about these qualities by asking questions that allow the applicant to speak about their previous employment where they demonstrated the behavior you are looking for. Just be careful not to suggest what you are looking for, or the answers you receive will be sure to be what you wanted to hear.”