Hiring Sales Pros for Your Staffing Firm? Think Two Words: Commodity Sales and Door-Knocker…

Kris Dunn Kris Dunn, Recruiting

I'm not in the staffing business, so that puts me at a disadvantage when reacting to this Workforce Recruiting article on the best way to find an effective sales pro for your staffing firm.

But that never stopped me before, right?  Plus, as someone who has been solicited by hundreds, if notAlec-baldwin-glengarry-glen-ross  
thousands of staffing firms and has intereviewed thousands of candidates myself, I'm probably more qualified than I'm giving myself credit for. 

You want to find an effective sales pro for your staffing firm? It stops and starts with MOTIVATIONAL FIT.

Two things you have to ensure the sales pro will be effective on when hiring for your staffing firm.  1) Knocking on doors/repetition, and 2) selling what many believe is a commodity.

Let's take the first one first.  Don't hire someone who has been an Account Manager with the primary role of taking care of existing customers.  There are lots of good ones out there, and they look shiny and distract you.  Don't do it.  You want to add to top line revenue, so you need a hunter, not a farmer.  Your questions should be geared towards finding the person who has not only been a successful hunter with 30-40 repetitions a day (or more!), but someone who enjoys it.

A recent candidate I saw for a sales role came in to interview and gave me this: When she was answering a question, I noticed she had a page full of names and numbers.  I asked her what it was.  She said that's her informal list, people who aren't customers yet, and since she's in the car for face-to-face sales calls so much, she can't use the system in the office to reference her targets.  So, she writes them down and calls in the car, and places a check next to their name as she leaves messages, etc.  Then she keeps calling.

Hunter-like activity.  It does a staffing firm good.

Finally, I'd tell you that you have to have people who have sold a commodity product and risen above the noise.  They have to enjoy the chase of dealing with people like me who think most staffing firms are giving me what I can get from Monster and not much more.  Who would I buy from?  The one out of one hundred who can show me why they're different.  There are a lot of ways to do that, but most staffing firm reps don't know how to differentiate themselves or their product. 

You should interview to find one who can.  Not with buzzwords.  With examples.

Good luck building your sales team.  And if you send your sales pro to cold call me face-to-face, I'm going to blacklist your email domain.  Nothing personal, just business.