At a time when so many people are looking for opportunities, one would think that it should be relatively easy to find great sales agents. But it’s not as easy as it seems. In fact, there are three mistakes many of us are prone to make in selecting new agents which can cause a cascade of problems – for the team, for the company, for your business, and for the new agent.
The three mistakes are 1) choosing someone because they are “hungry” for an opportunity, 2) choosing someone because you “like” them, and 3) choosing someone who’s “running from” something rather than “running towards” something. Let me explain these mistakes in more detail.
Choosing Someone Because They’re “Hungry”
It’s tempting to select someone who’s “hungry”. It would seem logical that a candidate who is anxious for an opportunity would be the perfect person. They’d work hard, be conscientious, and push through any adversity they might face.
But it doesn’t work that way. You see, often the person who’s eager for an opportunity is really just desperate for cash flow, and will jump at any means to generate income. That is… until the job they really want comes along. Just because they’re willing to latch onto a way to make money doesn’t mean that it’s the opportunity they really want.
Nor does it mean they’re even qualified to get the job done. It’s enough of a challenge succeeding when an agent has the skills and abilities necessary for their profession, but putting someone in that position who lacks those skills is unfair to them, to your team, and to you.
Don’t get me wrong. If you find someone with the skills needed for success AND they’re hungry for that success, you may very well have a superstar in the making. It’s just that simply being eager for an opportunity is insufficient cause to bring someone onto your team.
A good way to stay objective in this process is to make a list of the traits necessary for success in your opportunity. Then, as you interview someone, have this list of required traits in front of you so you can literally or mentally check them off. It will keep you from choosing someone for the wrong reasons.
Choosing Someone Because You “Like” Them
We all have a tendency to be drawn to people we like, which is a good thing. The problem arises when we allow our feelings about a person to override our better judgment. Please understand, I’m not talking about ignoring your “gut” feeling about someone (or some “thing” for that matter). No. I’m speaking about making a decision to bring someone onto your team because there is something about them you “like”.
It might be the way they dress or their manner of speaking. It may be that they remind you of someone else or that you find them attractive. The point is that none of those factors will affect their ability to succeed. None of those things will serve them well without additionally having the traits and skills you know they need to succeed. The challenge is to keep the feeling of “liking them” from clouding your judgment.
Many of the traits or qualities they possess may very well help them in their profession, but those qualities by themselves are an insufficient reason to recruit them. By referring back to that list of required traits you developed, you can stay objective in your decision-making.
Choosing Someone Who’s “Running From” Something
This recruiting mistake is a bit more subtle than the other two, but making it yields the same results – a failed sales agent. First, let’s define what we’re talking about and then we’ll discuss how to determine whether the issue exists. A definite distinction exists between someone who’s “running from” something and one who’s “running toward” something.
Someone who’s running from something often has had a bad experience where they are or were. Maybe they had a run in with their boss, or they’re tired of traveling, or they got laid off… yet again. Maybe they simply feel unappreciated where they are. The point is that none of these reasons has anything to do with your opportunity. They’re all about what they DON’T want as opposed to what they DO want.
Here’s some advice about how to uncover whether they are running from or running towards something. If you ask them what they’re looking for in an opportunity and their answers are what they don’t want, then they’re running from instead of running to. Let me give you some examples. If they answer, “I want to be appreciated for my work,” and being unappreciated was a past issue for them, then they’re running from. If they answer that they don’t want to answer to a boss, then they’re running from. If they answer that they want an opportunity where they don’t have to travel, then they’re running from.
Basically, they’re telling you what they don’t want. Often the reality is that they really don’t know what they want as much as they know what they don’t want. They’re most often suffering from “the grass is always greener” syndrome, and don’t have an appreciation for the realities of your opportunity.
Obviously it’s critical to discern whether you’re dealing with someone who’s looking for the right opportunity or someone who’s simply dissatisfied with their latest situation. The way to accomplish that is to become a good listener, learn to ask good questions, and practice discovering a person’s motivations. As you improve your listening and question-asking abilities, you’ll learn to quickly uncover what’s really going on with a candidate.
Once you avoid these three common mistakes, you’ll improve both the quality of your team and the level of their production.