Adding ABR to ABCBy Charles Cohon
Congratulations! Your representative company has achieved sustainable, profitable growth, and now you’re ready to add a salesperson to feed and service the sales funnel.
This issue of Agency Sales magazine looks at best practices for representative companies that are ready to add salespeople. And while this issue reviews that topic in detail, I’d like to address two commonly asked questions representatives have about adding salespeople.
When should I start recruiting?
Immediately. Even if you don’t have a sales opening at your company right now. You’ve heard the expression ABC, Always Be Closing. Add this one: ABR, Always Be Recruiting.
Why? Because much of the sales talent you will want to hire someday won’t be searching for a new job at the time you want to hire them. They won’t be reading help-wanted ads, so you will have to actively recruit them.
To build your list of candidates that you someday will actively recruit, start by networking at industry events and chatting up the salespeople you meet in your customers’ lobbies. And then connect with those candidates on LinkedIn for these three reasons:
- Some candidates may change jobs before you are ready to reach out to them. A LinkedIn connection gives you a much better chance of finding them than the business card you collected from them last year.
- Through your LinkedIn updates and theirs you will build some rapport so they will be more likely to take your call when you need them.
- Their LinkedIn profile is a résumé that is always available, so you can view it before you even start active recruiting.
What is the most important question I forgot to ask?
It’s a question that you need to ask yourself, not the prospective salesperson: “Could this person run my company someday?” Representative firm owners almost always get so wrapped up in selling their products that they forget to prepare for the largest and most lucrative sale of their careers: Selling their own companies.
Hiring a salesperson who is good enough to sell your products but who would never be a candidate to take over your business is a missed opportunity. It can easily take a decade to groom a successor, agree on terms, transition management of your representative company to that person, and collect your final payment.
How high are the stakes? The next hire you make could be the difference between a comfortable retirement and no retirement at all. With stakes that high, a little extra attention to methodical planning and execution does not seem to be an undue burden.
To learn more enjoy this issue of Agency Sales magazine and visit the member area of MANAonline.org.