The Sales DNA: How To Find, Attract, And Hire Elite Performers With Steve Heroux [Episode 115]

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How do you find, attract, and hire the best of the best for sales success in your company?

In this episode, Doug C. Brown and Steve Heroux, the founder and CEO of The Sales Collective, do a deep dive on the way to hire elite performers. They also discuss the ever-changing world of sales, how the right – and wrong – hires affect your bottom line, and much more.


In this episode you will learn:


Episode’s guest – Steve Heroux

CSS 115 | Elite Performers

Steve Heroux is the CEO & Founder of The Sales Collective, and his Sales DNA Testing process is transforming the way companies train, teach, and lead their sales teams. In his 25 years in the industry of professional selling, Steve has trained thousands of salespeople to reach their targets, led multiple high-performing sales teams, and he’s risen to the top of his field in numerous industries. Highly engaged and unapologetically authentic, Steve is a Sales Development Expert & Keynote Speaker, and a leading authority in providing real-world strategies for selling in today’s changing marketplace. Steve’s organization works with companies whose leaders have enough self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and vulnerability to acknowledge they don’t know everything.

Visit his website: www.thesalescollective.com

Steve and The Sales Collective are giving away one free Sales DNA kit to a salesperson or manager per company. See the form to learn more here: www.form.jotform.com/232074658642157


The Sales DNA: How To Find, Attract, And Hire Elite Performers With Steve Heroux

We’ve got a great guest. His name is Mr. Steve Heroux. Steve owns a company called The Sales Collective. They’re at TheSalesCollective.com. The reason I asked Steve to come on here is he’s an expert in hiring elite performers. All of you have been telling me, “I would like to have top beyond,” so top performers and then elite performers. Those people don’t even think about quota. They’re like, “There is no quota. We’re going to blow this out every single month. We’re going to keep growing.” How do you find these people? What do you do? How do you attract them? How do you train them? How do you retain them? How do you manage them?

We’re going to get into a pretty deep conversation on the front end of this whole process on how you would find them, attract them, and get them to work for you. When you have the right elite performers in selling and sales, then what you have is this elite team that is going to bring a ton of money into your company. They have a process that they look for, and we’re going to discuss this. We’re going to also discuss what’s changed in 2022 and 2023. What has changed from the past few years and how you must adapt and change your sales conversations and structure? This is a great interview. You’re going to like this. Let’s go talk to Steve.

Steve, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.

Thanks. It’s great to be with another New Englander. Even though we might not all be from Boston, I’m closer. Thanks for having me. This should be fun.

Our last interview was from California. You’re halfway in between, so that’s cool. Why don’t you tell everybody what you do so we can set the frame for the conversation?

I would love to answer this in a specific way. I try to undo about 95% of what people have been taught about sales and sales leadership. I run an organization called The Sales Collective where we help teach, train, coach, support, and consult with organizations that are tiny, large, global, or backyard. We help them be more effective in selling and leading in 2023. There is so much that has changed for us in the past couple of years. We can’t do the stuff we did years ago. That’s what I get to do. I love to do it. I speak, train, and coach all over the country. I couldn’t be happier.

We’re going to talk about hiring elite performers. We’re going to talk about how to do it the right way. You brought something up, so I have to go down this path. What has changed from your perspective on selling from years ago?

It’s a long answer. I’ll give you a short answer. The short answer is the way people buy is a lot different. Buyers are savvier. They’re more educated. They can find out everything about you, your brother, and your mother in about five minutes. What I see a lot of companies and a lot of salespeople are doing is in the discovery process, they’re still doing the, “Let me tell you about my company, the features, the benefits, why we’re great, and all this kind of stuff.”

They already know all that stuff. If they don’t know it, you should be sending that in advance. That is so you don’t have to spend the first 5, 10, or 15 minutes doing discovery stuff when you can do deep questioning, deep insight, and figuring out problems they didn’t even know they had. That’s what I think one big change is.

The second is virtual selling. When it comes to hiring, and we’ll talk about this, there are still some folks that still believe, “I need someone in my office. They need to be local.” They don’t. Ninety-five percent of the time, they don’t. You have manufacturing. I get that, but the majority of things can be done virtually. We have virtual dentists, virtual doctors, and virtual psychologists.

It’s no different in sales. If salespeople do not adopt this virtual world and get great on Zoom, Teams, Webex, or whatever they use, that is a hindrance. We need to focus on being better and more effective in a virtual sense. Sometimes, people say, “It’s hard to build when you’re not in person.” That’s because you suck at it. This is nothing to do with the medium. Get good at this and you’ll watch your results skyrocket.

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Elite Performers: If salespeople do not adopt to the virtual world and get great on Zoom, Teams, Webex, or whatever they use, that is a hindrance. We need to focus on being better and more effective in a virtual sense.


I will second both points. It’s so easy to find information on people. When I was growing up, if you went to go get an automobile, there were three dealerships usually. It was Ford, Chevy, and Dodge. That was it. You might be in an area lucky enough to have 1 or 2 foreign car dealers at that point. You go to the dealer. The dealer would have all the information. They know everything about the car. They know what the price of the car was. They know whether it was hit in an accident. They know the history of the vehicle, but we, as the buyer, did not. Now, we do a few clicks of a button, maybe pay a few dollars to Carfax or whatever they charge, and we’ll know pretty much everything about the automobile that the salesperson doesn’t even know sometimes.

That is why people hate buying cars. It leads to why there are Carvanas and all these places you can buy online. Tesla, people buy them sight unseen. This happens when I go to buy cars because I lease cars. I’ll go into the dealership and I’ll know what the money factor is. I’ll know what the interest rate is. I’ll know all this stuff. I go, “Give me these numbers. I want the money factor. I want the interest rate and what you’re going to sell me the car for. That’s it. Give me three numbers.” They still are like, “Let me get the manager. Maybe we can meet in the middle. What do you want your payment to be?” I’m like, “Do you understand what I’m saying?”

It is this old-school sales mentality where they’re holding the data hostage. They know they’re never going to see you again, which is where all the closing BS came from. It’s like, “Tell them whatever you want to tell them. You’re never going to see them again.” There were traveling salesmen who used to be across the country. They knew they’d never see you again, so they’d say whatever they had to say to get you to buy now. That’s where all this closing garbage comes from, and quotas, and all these other dumb things. That’s not the world we live in. If you don’t evolve, you are going to be like the Dodos as Mr. Darwin taught us by the survival of the fittest.

We love it because there are so many bad salespeople following the other bad sales trainers and gurus right off the cliff. It makes it ten times easier for us who have honesty, integrity, and humility. It’s strange for prospects to understand that. They’ve not seen it before. Half the time, we talk to big, huge company CEOs and they’re like, “Aren’t you going to trial close me?” or, “Don’t you want to do the upfront?” They make a joke about it. I’m like, “No. If you want to have another talk, we will. If you don’t, cool. I thank you for your time.” It’s odd that the closing crap is still taught nowadays. It didn’t work in the ‘80s let alone now, but it’s still taught. That’s the stuff we try to undo.

I want to throw one other idea by you because I want to get your feedback on it. I feel this way because face-to-face has diminished. There are still people who like to go to the golf course. They still are face-to-face. Since it’s diminished and because we live in such an electronic world, I find that there’s a disconnection between people. That follow-up as this third point is even more important than ever. I’m not talking about following up on the sale. I’m talking about following up in perpetuity for a relationship to regenerate additional sales. I see this being weaker than ever before.

Part of the reason it’s weaker is that everything is self-service. People are getting used to it. What they don’t realize is we’re getting a disconnect of humanity between our buyer or our potential buyer and us as the selling entity. I see this all the time. It’s like, “When was the last time you talked to your client?” They’re like, “Two years ago.” I’m like, “What?”

They think they’re talking to them because they’ve put in all the automation. They think, “I’ll send them a nurture email once a month.” They know it’s not you. They know it’s automated. I like automation. It does make a salesperson better because we forget lots of stuff and we won’t send them anything. Handwritten thank you notes are still something we teach and implore people to do, but then, there is randomly picking up the phone, randomly setting up a Zoom, or randomly going by to visit your client. It doesn’t matter if it’s in person or virtual, but they have to see you and hear your voice.

You can’t put someone on a drip. That’s not customer service but that’s what some people think is customer service. It’s important to make sure that your face is seen somehow. It could be a video message that you send them on LinkedIn. It could be on Facebook. Send a happy birthday message. It could be a video text. It could be anything. They’ve got to see your face more than once a year and more than the time you ask them if they want to buy more stuff from you.

You can't put someone on a drip. That's not customer service, but that's what some people think is customer service. Share on X

Customer service is a sales function. Many companies don’t do that.

We had this talk about how much money it costs to acquire a new customer versus maintaining the ones that you have. There are a few studies on this, but it’s between 10:1 and 25:1. That’s the cost to get a new one. Why would you do that when you can treat people like they matter? If you treat them like they matter, they’ll feel appreciated and respected. They’ll willingly give you introductions, recommendations, and referrals without you having to beg for them a year down the line at the one time you called them, and it was to ask them who else they might know that would be interested. This is the stuff that’s taught. It’s mind-boggling.

It’s an archaic tin man selling.

People sell by email. They’re like, “Here’s a quote.” I’m like, “What do you mean here’s a quote? What are you doing?” They’re like, “Let’s get together. I put a quote together for you. I want to review it with you if you’re going to have questions. I don’t want to go back and forth on email. I should be available next Thursday after 3:00 PM or Friday before 11:00 AM.” Nobody sells like that. They sell by email, by a quote, or by RFP. There is no conversation and they wonder why they’re not converting deals.

It’s because it’s easier.

That’s correct. It’s automated. They’re like, “We got a quoting software.” I type their name and then they get it. I’m back to watching raccoons blow bubbles on TikTok. You have to treat this profession like a profession. If you do, you’ll get paid professionally. The call right before ours, the new client we have, they maybe have twelve salespeople. Their top salesperson makes $800,000. Their worst one makes $200,000 or $225,000. They are professional.

Onboarding never ends. There is training, coaching, and development all the time. They do personal one-on-ones with all their reps every week. They do roleplay all the time. This isn’t rocket science. They’re killing it. The sales guys and gals love it. Who doesn’t want to be poured into? Who doesn’t want to get better and become masterful? You’ll never be a master, but you can try to become one.

The environment that they’ve built in their culture is incredible. Surprisingly, they all start with Sales DNA, which I’m sure we’ll eventually get to. If you start with the right people, it’s much easier to create high-end performers. That’s the key to hiring and recruiting. You got to know these people are good already and not just hope they are.

Let’s talk about Sales DNA and hiring elite performers because a lot of people think this is hard to do. You and I know it’s not that hard to do. It’s not easy, but it’s not that hard to do once we do what’s needed or required to find, attract, and get an elite performer. Let’s start with Sales DNA. You mentioned that. Sales DNA, why don’t you explain what that is?

Sure. Sales DNA is a skills-based assessment that we use. I wish I would’ve found this many years ago instead of a couple of years ago. We all know what assessments are. Most people’s version of an assessment they think of is a personality assessment like a DISC, a Myers-Briggs, or whatever. There are about 2,000 assessments out there. The assessment world was founded on one principle. It was by trying to determine what type of personality somebody would need to fit into the school or into the Military. That’s why they were built.

You’re still making an assumption that this person’s personality will qualify them to do well here or there. In the sales world, it’s immensely destructive for a couple of reasons. The main reason is there is no sales personality. It doesn’t exist. When you try to prove something to match something to someone that doesn’t exist, clearly, you’re not going to find the right people.

The second thing is when you look at what makes up a successful salesperson or who the best people in the world are, we have these false assumptions of what makes up a great salesperson because of all the crap we’ve been taught. We’re like, “They’ve got to have a good personality. They’ve got to be charismatic. They’ve got to be a driver, go-getter, closer, and an extrovert.” None of those are true. The best salespeople in the world aren’t like that at all.

I don’t know how much you read, but Daniel Pink is the most incredible guy. Many of you’ve probably read some of his books like To Sell is Human and The Power of Regret. It is amazing. He came out with his latest book. Drive is such an amazing book to help you understand the science of motivation. What Daniel did was he studied thousands of salespeople and found that the people that sell the most are not extroverts. They’re not introverts. They are a combination of the two called ambiverts where they have styles of both when they need to use them.

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

The people that sell the least are extreme extroverts. These used car guys, the ones in your face, and the always-be-closing morons sell the least. A fun guy on a log sells more than an in-your-face used car salesman. If we’re looking at these parameters as what makes up a good salesperson, that’s why 23% of sales hires end up in success.

When you have a company that needs to get the sales hiring thing right and they’re investing $100,000, $200,000, or $300,000 in a sales hire, you have to be sure that it’s right. That’s why we use Sales DNA. It is because this assessment is the only one that is built to assess somebody’s aptitude in selling or sales leadership. All the questions are asked in a sales setting or a buying setting. Meaning, the way you buy affects the way you sell.

We both know Dave who invented Sales DNA with OMG years ago. He found a way to be able to identify the 21 strengths and core competencies that make up a successful salesperson. We’ve got 2.4 million salespeople we’ve tested roughly in 36,000 companies in 155 countries. With this data, this test is 92% predictive of success. If all of you are getting 92% of your sales hires right, let us know because we want to know what you’re doing. The science is pretty extraordinary. That’s the first piece.

Doing a DNA test on a candidate is the first piece. If your organization doesn’t know how to interview people, which most of them don’t, you’re going to mess it up. You’re going to lose that amazing person because you didn’t ask the right questions because the interview questions you asked are what you looked up on Google. It’s an entire process for recruiting.

We know if companies don’t have a sales process, they’re dead meat. They don’t have a recruiting process. Their recruiting process is, “Let’s cut and paste all our job duties. We’ll put those in an ad and put it up on Indeed. We’ll wait.” When you do that, then everything’s about the ad, which is why we help craft ads.

You have to write a great ad. If you don’t write a great ad, you get poor candidates. If you’re choosing the best of your candidate pool who aren’t great, that’s who you end up with. That gives you a little bit of background about DNA and why we use it. We could talk in more detail about what we decipher from it. There are things we measure that salespeople have never heard of that make the difference between an amazing salesperson and an average one. It’s never been taught.

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Elite Performers: You have to write a great ad. If you don’t write a great ad, you get poor candidates.


That’s true. There are so many points that you came up with. I’m going to try to stay brief on this. On a personality assessment, whether it was the Military or a teacher, we all know a brilliant doctor who has a terrible bedside manner. We all know a great bedside manner doctor that is a terrible doctor or subpar. If I understood you correctly, what DNA means is we’re going to test specific skills and traits that would be facing a salesperson in the field, whether they were selling for a buyer from a buyer’s perspective.

We’re going to measure those to see in real time how they perform. We’re going to be able to identify whether or not they’re able to sell or not under certain conditions, whether they’ll use technology. All the things that drive CEOs and owners of companies or hiring managers insane, you’re going to measure those competencies. There are 21 competencies for getting rid of all those issues. This assessment tells the person, “This person doesn’t have the will to close.”

It’s not that you would know, but it’s called the will to sell. This first piece of DNA, which is the most critical metric that Dave came up with and that we measure is called the will to sell. If it is not present in an existing salesperson on your team or somebody you’re considering giving $100,000 to, they have 0 chance to become a top-half performer. That’s the data. We know that they will never be in the top 50% of your sales team. They’ll be live bodies.

The will to sell is something you cannot see on a resume, and you sure as heck can’t see it in an interview. It’s things like desire. The way that we measure desire is does this person have the desire to be world-class at sales? You’ll know this. If I don’t have the desire to be world-class at guitar, I’m not going to be world-class at guitar. It’s that simple. In an interview, salespeople tell you whatever you want to hear, so they’ll tell you they do, but we can show it in about five seconds.

Commitment is the second major piece of this, which has to do with whether or not a salesperson will do what makes them uncomfortable. This is a key to success in life. Forget about sales. If you are not willing to do what makes you uncomfortable, you will never reach your potential. We know what the things are that make salespeople uncomfortable. It is prospecting, cold calling, follow-up, CRMs, and doing paperwork. If you don’t do those, you’ve got no shot at being a top performer. The last one is responsibility. Responsibility is an underrated value to find in someone, especially in a salesperson. The bottom 90% of salespeople, the worst of the worst, if they don’t perform, who do they blame?

If you are unwilling to do what makes you uncomfortable, you will not reach your potential. That is the key to success in life. Share on X

They’ll generally blame the system of ownership. That’s been my experience.

I should say who do they not blame?

They’re not looking in the mirror.

We know it. They’ll blame the manager. They’re like, “The logo is wrong. I need a black logo.” The top 10% of people, when they don’t perform, it’s on them. You can’t see responsibility in an interview or a resume. That’s a will to sell. That’s one piece that we know if it’s not present, they’ve got no shot. These are some of the things that would be helpful for the audience that nobody knows exists. One is called the need to be liked. Roughly, 4 out of 5 salespeople need to be liked. If you need to be liked by your prospect, you’re dead. You will give away the farm. You will discount. You’ll take on bad customers. It’s not good. It’s present in 4 out of 5 salespeople.

Being comfortable discussing money is another one. 6 out of 10 salespeople are uncomfortable discussing money. When you ask dumb questions like, “What’s your budget?” you don’t understand the value of what you’re selling. If you have a negative relationship with money because that’s how you were brought up, you won’t be able to have intimate discussions with strangers and prospects about money because you were never taught how to do that. A couple of those things can be a major factor.

On the buying side, we measure how people make purchasing decisions. One of the cardinal mistakes salespeople make is they sell to prospects the way they personally buy, which is akin to cooking your loved one dinner on Valentine’s Day and you make what you want. You make what they want. You have to sell to people the way they buy.

If you are an impulse buyer and you make decisions like this, guess who you’re going to sell? You’re going to be too aggressive. You’re going to force them to make a decision they’re not ready for because they don’t buy like you. That’s a tiny little piece of some of the 21 things we measure. It’s much easier to find this stuff out in an email before you ever set eyes on this person. That is so your interview bias doesn’t kick in and you ignore it all because you like the dude. That’s why most companies hire salespeople. They like the person and can’t see any of this that would prevent a disastrous hire from happening. That’s why we use this tool.

I want to illustrate this buyer’s bias. We have buyer bias. We also have conversation bias that I’ve learned, too. I have a person that I’m helping in a company. They’re selling. All I did was reframe the buyer’s bias and the conversation bias and their close rate doubled. They were like, “I didn’t know I had to talk to analytical minds this way.”

If we measure them on a DISC assessment, they’d be a high D and a high I. What that means for those of you who don’t understand that is they love to be sociable. They’re going to use language patterns like a sociable driver. If you’re selling to engineers, accountants, or mathematicians, it’s not that there aren’t high Ds and high I’s that would be measured too. However, the majority of those people are going to be very methodical. They’re going to ask methodically. That’s what makes them great engineers or mathematicians.

My wife is Polish. I am from the United States. Sometimes, we don’t see eye to eye because of the language difference. With a word that I use, which I did, she looked at me with a glare. I said, “What’s up?” because I knew something was up. You always know. She glared at me and I said, “What does this mean in Polish?” She told me and I’m like, “It’s not even close to what it means in English.

That’s funny.

That’s what I find happening in conversations there. Measuring these things ahead of time is so critical. Let’s say you’re an engineering firm but you hire somebody because they’re likable. It’s like, “I like Don. He’s a nice guy,” but Don can’t speak engineering. He might understand the terms, but he doesn’t understand how to communicate.

Not to get into another topic as we could talk all day on this, but when you get a chance, we’ll talk more about how I teach this in terms of animal types. It’s much easier for people to place people first. We love animals. I prefer animals over people 100 times out of 100, but it is when you can help identify what type of buying behaviors they have. We put them into animal types.

You were talking about the engineers. They’re the owls. They’re the thinkers. They’re data-driven, analytical people. If you don’t talk or speak in data, you lose. Even if you hate numbers, you better know the numbers. They want data, and they want more of it. Compare that to, let’s say, an otter. Otters are the fun ones. These are the life of the party. They couldn’t care less about numbers. The way that you sell to an otter, you have to be more gregarious. You have to talk about, “I came from Vail last week.” They’re like, “Really?” You’re like, “We were up at Sugarloaf.” That’s how you sell to otters.

Elephants are the caretakers. Elephants are the volunteers. Elephants are the ones that want to know what your environmental impact is going to be or what your community impact is going to be and what charities your company donates to. That type of stuff is how you sell to an elephant. The lions are the go-getters. These are the people that buy on brand. These are the people that buy on price. Meaning, you can’t sell to them as, “We’re the low-cost providers.” They don’t want that. They don’t care. They want the premium. They want the best of the best. They get cars with all the stuff in them that they’ll barely use because they want to know what other people think about them. They want to keep up with the Joneses.

If you do not sell in 1 of those 4 styles or to 1 of those 4 types correctly, that’s why your closing percentage or general average is about 1 out of 4. We sell the way we buy. If I’m a lion, that’s my selling style. If I’m an owl, I won’t shut up about the numbers. An otter doesn’t give a crap about your numbers. You spent twenty minutes talking about numbers and wonder why they didn’t buy. You’re like, “They needed our service. Their house was on fire, and I’m selling hoses filled with water.” That’s the deeper-level thinking that DNA can help us teach to people these concepts.

We sell the way we buy. Share on X

That is well said. I love the animal analogy because it’s so easy to understand. It’s not that an elephant, an otter, or an owl won’t bite you like a lion. They’ll bite less.

They won’t say anything and they’ll keep it in. You’ll never know. You wonder why you lost the deal.

Your caretaker type would hold it in.

They could never say no. They could never tell you, “This isn’t going to work.” They say, “I’ll think about it, thank you so much.” You got to know this, and it’s never taught.

This is great. We could talk all day. I do want to run the interview for another second if you don’t mind. One of the mistakes I see with people interviewing is they don’t have a structured interview. How important is it to have a structured interview? Could you explain what that means?

Sure. It’s immensely important because if you don’t follow the same structure with every candidate, you won’t be able to have the same data. If you don’t have them do all the same thing and see how they react to the same question or the same assignment, you’re not going to be able to get verifiable data. Part of what we do is the Sales DNA Test first. If somebody applies, then we send them, “Thanks so much. We appreciate it. Here’s the next step in our process. Take the sales candidate questionnaire.” The candidate fills out the DNA test.

When they’re filling out the DNA test, before we start, there’s a welcome video that our client records. That’s a message to the candidate like, “Thank you so much for taking the time to reply for our XYZ role. We appreciate it. We know there are a lot of companies you considered working for, but thank you for considering us. My name is Doug Brown.” That’s part of the application process. That increases the percentage of people who complete DNA by probably 30%.

They do the test and it shows up in your inbox. You are the hiring manager. You can see it right away in five seconds, “We recommend this person for an interview.” Maybe we call it worthy of consideration. Maybe we’re like, “You want to talk to this person” or, “They’re not recommended,” which means there’s very little chance this person’s going to make it. We can’t tell people who to hire, but we can say with pretty much certainty 9 out of 10 times, “This is somebody you want to talk to.”

The next step is to verify with that person what you saw on DNA. We teach the next step as a ten-minute phone screening. There’s a system to it, a process, and questions, but it’s only ten minutes. It’s not 30, 60, 40, or 7.2, but 10 minutes. Does this person seem like somebody that is affable, has skillsets, sounds good, or is respectful? You’d know that in about ten minutes. You put them into the first interview.

We then have a very structured question set that should be asked of a salesperson as a candidate or a sales manager in that first interview. You can add your own things, but there are things you have got to ask that a lot of clients and companies don’t ask. From 1st to 2nd, we’ll give a homework assignment to the candidate.

If they don’t do that assignment pretty quickly, we know most of the time they’re probably not as interested as they might seem. There are extenuating circumstances. Somebody’s kid gets sick. Somebody’s wife is in the hospital. We get that, but if they’re not responding quickly with, “Thank you so much. I’ll get on this. I’ll get this to you by Thursday,” what do you think they’re going to do with your prospects?

We teach a second interview very specifically. In between the 2nd and 3rd, we’ll assign another homework, which could vary between putting a deck together and doing a role play. We will have them present to us as hiring managers in the third interview. They will have to present something. They have to put it together. We give them the guidelines of what to do, but they have to put it together. We watch them present. Fully 10 minutes or 15 minutes max, you are getting a sneak preview of what this person’s going to do with your clients, customers, and prospects before you give them $100,000.

If you are not running extensive hiring processes, that’s why you only get it right 2 out of 10 times. That’s the average. People don’t understand this mantra of hire slowly, fire quickly. They, most companies, hire quickly and fire slowly. That will cost you millions of dollars. The average bad sales hire, depending on the study you look at, and there are a lot of them, costs a company $1.2 million. That is for the average bad hire.

If you’re an early-stage company or a startup and you have to hire your first sales rep, and you get it wrong, it might cost you your company. That’s why the power of DNA is so valuable. It’s not what it can gain for you. It’s the loss that it prevents. You making that bad hiring mistake is immensely destructive in so many ways. We want to help companies mitigate that mistake.

What you’re saying makes so much sense. Let’s say we were going to test a medical procedure or a medical device, or we come up with a new study drug or something that we need to test. If we create variability in the test, we’ll know it went wrong but we won’t know the reason why. If we have variability in the interview questions, then that means, “We might have missed this with this particular candidate.”

“We hired them anyway even though we found out they brush their teeth with gasoline and light it up in front of the client.” All of a sudden, you lost sales. You have a bad reputation. You lost funds. The list goes on. That makes total sense to me. I’d love to ask this one question. I can imagine the audience saying, “I fully get it. Where do I find these people though?” That’s, to me, the hardest part. How do I find them?

You got two trains of thought on this. The first train of thought is, “We’ll hire a recruiter to find them.” We work with one amazing recruiter. We’ve only found one, but one that’s really good. Recruiters are only as good as their ability to find these people because they are going to provide you with a pool of candidates that are the best pool of candidates they found. They are still untested. They don’t know their DNA, but they’re going to present those candidates to you in hopes that you hire one that they doctored up their resume, which you should not be ever using. They coached them on how to do an interview.

Most companies hire an actress or an actor. They don’t hire a real person. Companies all over the country are getting catfished in the interview process. You can go to a recruiter because you don’t know how to find them. What we do, because we know how to write job ads, is find candidates for our clients in all the same places you are looking. We are finding gold that you think is a bunch of rocks. Copywriting matters. If you do not write the proper job ad, you will not attract the candidates that you want. All the mediums like LinkedIn, Zip, WizeHire, and Indeed, we use the same medium and the same platforms. We know how to write the ad.

CSS 115 | Elite Performers
Elite Performers: Copywriting matters. You will not attract the candidates you want if you do not write the proper job ad.


There is a lot of that that goes into finding candidates. That’s why when you ask companies, “Why is it so hard to find salespeople?” They go, “There aren’t very many. We don’t know how to look,” or whatever. I have to thank the tech world. The Elons, Bezos, and Zuckerbergs, thank you for running your companies inefficiently. We love it because you are flooding the market with amazing talent. There has never ever been more talent available than there is now.

Many incredible people in sales don’t like where they work. That’s why they’re leaving. They’re not being told to leave. They’re resigning. Why? There is no culture, no responsibility, nothing. They’re not recognized. They’re not appreciated. If you can write an ad in the ilk of what these people are looking for and they go, “That sounds like me,” that’s how you attract candidates. If you have a job ad with, “We need three years of experience and you must have SaaS knowledge,” why would someone look at that and go, “I want to work there.” That’s why the way we write the ad and the welcome video attracts more people.

I’ll end on this one. We have a new client we’re working with that is in a very bland industry. Salespeople don’t look for jobs in this industry. They couldn’t find a sales rep for four months. They had probably 10 applications in 4 months in all the same mediums. We wrote their job ad and in 1 month, we have 130 completed DNA tests. They had 260 or something applicants in one month. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen every time. It doesn’t mean we guarantee we’ll get you 100 applicants, but more. It all starts with whether you are using the right tools to find the gold or you are walking around on the ground going, “There’s no gold here. I didn’t see any.”

It’s like, “Black Belts Wanted.” You could either go to a karate school or JCPenney.

Use the metal detector or use your eyes. Most people are using their eyes and they go, “I guess we got to try a new area.” It’s right there, but you’re not using the right tools to see it.

That makes a lot of sense. I know people that are reading this are going, “I get it. I got to talk to Steve.” How do they get ahold of you? How do they learn more about you?

The easy way is to go to TheSalesCollective.com. That’s easy. I’m always on LinkedIn trying to provide as much content and help as I can. You can look me up, Steve Heroux on LinkedIn. Those are typically the best ways to reach out. I’m excited to share some of the stuff that I’ve been taught. Most of what we teach, I had to learn from other amazing mentors and other amazing people that have helped us get to where we are. We’re happy to share anything we can to help. If you want to reach out, we’d be more than happy to talk with you.

Thanks for being on the show.

Thanks. I appreciate you. Thanks, everybody, for reading.

I hope you have a whole page of notes. I always take notes. There’s always something I learn on every episode from every guest. Think about selling nowadays. We talked about how you got to know how to hire elite performers in this economy. Those elite performers are going to then know how to sell in this economy. Virtual selling has become so much bigger than it ever has.

I remember years ago, we used to teach something called Take It Virtual. Companies loved it because they wanted to have more virtual people. Now it’s standard. It’s one of those things that a lot of companies are doing, and a lot of people expect it. Face-to-face is still great. If you can do it, that’s excellent, but a lot of times, CEOs, business owners, and decision-makers don’t want you in their offices. They’d rather do it virtually.

In fact, I’ve read studies all the time that said CEOs, 70% to 72% of the time, depending on the source, want to have a conversation like we’re having. In other words, they want to have a conversation between two people like Steve and I did, and then get more into the process. You can take that data and do whatever you want with it. The reality is that virtual selling is here to stay. It’s not going to change especially since people have been accepting it more.

Follow-up is important. The reason behind follow-up is that it’s expected as a common courtesy. The reality is the majority of people don’t do it or they’ll do it once the sale’s over. They’ll send a piece of something or they’ll make one phone call and never talk to this person again. Follow-up needs to go through the process. It must be through the process.

When you’re looking for elite performers, first and foremost, you want to write down and be very clear about what type of elite performer you’re looking for. It’s one of those things like, “I want somebody that’s this particular caliber.” You want to be specific about what the job realities are. You want to be specific about what impedances or things you might have in the company. Can you support this person? I’m not talking financially. I mean internally. If somebody comes in and they sell three times more than your average rep, can you support that type of process within your company? They’re going to look for that type of support.

First and foremost, what do you want? Be truthful. Secondly, how do you go find these people? You’ve got to know how to write the ad to attract these people. Steve and I were talking. I was joking a little bit when I see ads like, “Black Belt Wanted.” Do you want a martial artist? Do you want somebody who’s a leathersmith? Do you want somebody who can make vinyl belts? Do you want a person who handles the Six Sigma black belt? It is a different industry per se. It’s a different offer. It’s a different potential person. What do you want specifically? You’ve got to write an ad around that, and Steve’s a master at doing that.

Once you attract them, understand what the DNA is before you even interview them. Why waste your time going through an interview if indeed you don’t have to? Let the assessment work its magic, and then it will make a recommendation. If you follow the steps that he’s laying out and the other steps that he has and implements these, 92% of the time, you are going to have a top hire. They will be in the top 10% of all your sales reps.

If you like the subject matter of this, please go and give it a five-star review. Share it with your friends. People need to know this information. The more information we can put out there and the more people we can help, the better this show has served our community. If you or someone you know is an expert in something and you want to do a subject matter on that or hear a subject matter on something, let us know. Reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com.

If you want to learn how to get into the top 1% of earners in your industry through selling, or you want to understand a little more about our SaaS product that we’re coming out with, which is an automated prospecting and relevant and meaningful follow-up and conversion tool, please reach out to me directly at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Both of these are being released this year (2023). If you want to be on the waiting list, please let us know. I will be happy to have you here.

If you have questions, reach out to me and I’ll answer your questions. Until next time, go sell something. Go make somebody happy. Sales is about fulfilling the opportunity for us to help somebody with a problem or an opportunity they’re looking to seize and grow upon. What more noble pursuit can we do than to help somebody achieve their dreams? Do it in a win-win fashion. That means they win and you win. If it’s not right for them, you be the first to disengage. Until next time, make it a great day, and to your success.


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