Want a Great Staffing Salesperson? Think Solution Selling….

timtolan Tim Tolan

When looking at the article on the best way to hire a sales pro from your staffing firm over at Workforce Recruiting, I guess I look at it from a different perspective. The typical (local) staffing business, by many accounts, could be viewed as a complete commodity. Me-to solutions for sale. Differentiation while challenging can absolutely happen. For me, I care about experience, someone with a Rolodex, knowledge of the industry niche, energy, great work ethic and pure selling skills. If you could get all of those skill-sets bundled in a single candidate you might have Nirvana. Maybe not. It would be rare to find all of those skills in a single candidate – especially in today’s marketplace. .

What I would be looking for more than anything is a sales person with tenacity, who is not afraid of the phone and a can-do attitude and… someone who has mastered the art of listening. Yes – listening. Sales process and prospecting activity are extremely important – but only if the salesperson doesn’t over do it! It’s hard to sell someone a product if you don’t know what their problem is!

It’s like Shoot-Ready-Aim. Not good.

I think of Xerox back in the day when many thought their industry would not make it. Xerox was selling a disruptive technology – copiers! In many situations, the purchase of a copier was the first real automation a company acquired. Later, Xerox had many competitors as the copier business started to reach commodity status. Here is the difference. Xerox had a proven sales methodology designed by one of the most successful salesman in the company’s history, Michael Bosworth. It is still used today by Xerox and thousands of companies that sell complex products and services. He developed a process called Solution Selling that revolutionized the sales process for Xerox and for countless other companies selling (tangible) products and (intangible) services to new accounts. His process is simple yet unique. He teaches sales professionals how to get appointments, gain access to the decision maker (power) and to ask questions and to let the prospect (talk) explain the situation or problem (pain points) in their business. This process also shows the salesperson how to design an entire sales process to solve the identical problems uncovered in the customer exchange – by using their products and/or services – just by listening! I attended a one week class on Solution Selling and my sales process changed forever. It works!

So while banging on doors, or cold calling on the phone for six hours a day, is a natural way to drive numbers and metrics to make us feel good – it’s a false sense of security and is not a guarantee of success. I will take an experienced salesperson who works hard and knows how to listen all day over one who sells (babbles) products to someone before they diagnose their problem.

 I’m just saying…