If so, you’re not alone. In this episode of CEO Sales Strategies, Doug C. Brown speaks with Dan Fantasia, the CEO of sales recruiting company Treeline, Inc about how to recruit elite performers, and using founder-led sales as a growth strategy. Dan and Doug also discuss how one percent earners think and act, where to start when hiring them, and much more.
Dan Fantasia has been in the field of sales recruiting since 1997 and founded Treeline in 2001. His exclusive focus on helping companies build world-class, elite sales teams has helped to change the lives of over 3,300 sales professionals. Dan has built a deep knowledge of what it takes to build and grow a top-producing business. As a proven sales leader and innovator, Dan has created a positively charged culture that promotes the good in every person, resulting in a team that has developed best-in-practice methodologies and technology that continues to revolutionize the industry.
Dan and Treeline are giving away free resources to CEO Sales Strategies listeners. Learn more here: www.treelineinc.com/sales-recruitment-resources/ and here: Treeline-Inc.-Guide-Sales-Characteristics-for-your-Selling-Environment.pdf
I have got a great guest for you. He is Mr. Dan Fantasia. That is such a cool name. He owns a company called Treeline Inc. Dan and his company is recruiting masters. They recruit that elite performer. We are going to talk about three things. Number one, founder-led sales and how you use founder-led sales as a growth strategy in your business. In looking for these top one-percenters, we are going to talk about the profile and the mindset of that one-percenter.
We are also going to talk about how you use recruiting with these types of people as a growth strategy in your business. We are going to talk about the happy times and the pitfalls that come along with finding them, hiring them, maintaining them, and what you should and should not do when it comes to finding elite performers. Without further ado, let’s go speak to Dan.
Dan, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.
Thanks for having me.
Why don’t you tell everybody what you and your company do? That will set the frame for where we go in this episode.
The name of the company is Treeline Incorporated. We have been in business since 2001. Over the years, we have had an exclusive focus on the recruitment of elite sales professionals for growing companies and for individuals that are looking to advance their careers.
You are being too modest. I know what you do. I’m going to tag this. He, she, and they that are reading this, Dan’s company does this right. That’s the reason he’s on this interview. We get into recruitment as a growth strategy, but a lot of them don’t look at it as a growth strategy. They look at it as a placement service. You also do something as well. You specialize in a lot of ways in founder-led sales. It’s something that you and I had talked about. Why don’t we start there, and then we will work on the recruitment side? That way, all of you who are like, “Get to that,” you will have to read the rest of the episode. What are founder-led sales to you?
Let me take a step back. We fell into founder-led sales or CEO selling. The reason is because a large portion of our market share is in the technology sector. As a result, we work with free revenue companies to companies that are $150 million in size. Our sweet spot is $5 million to $40 million. As a result, when those companies come to us, many times, they are struggling with their sales model.
They have a founder or founders that are the lead sellers. They are the people that bring in the business and they are excellent at it. When they look to scale their organizations, the challenge is they usually fail or they struggle to hire talented sales professionals that can scale the model. For many of them, the reason why they fail is because they misunderstand selling and their selling environment. What I mean by that is they are the founders. They sell differently than every single one of their sales representatives because they have the network. They have created the idea. They have the founders and the investors. It is a different way of selling.
If you were to strip that all away from them including their title and say, “Please sit down. Start making cold calls and bring in new sales,” then they would realize that the sales organization will be challenged to bring in new business. They will need to define a sales model and activity metrics for those individual contributors to be successful because they will not be able to mirror the founders or the way they sell.
You can’t hire someone that seems like a great sales individual that has had a successful career for the past several years and expects them to drop into the seat and start selling immediately. It doesn’t work that way, but many founders feel and think that’s how it should work. That misconception hampers their growth. When they get to us, we spend a lot of time understanding the business, the characteristics of the selling environment, the organization, and the culture to help them find individuals that will fit that culture and help build a sales model of success so they can sustain it, but then they can scale it. That is how most founders get to us. They have tried it. They are struggling to do it. There’s a misconception as to how and what your first salesperson’s going to look like.
I can only imagine that some of the founders and CEOs reading this are going, “Oh, no,” and look in the mirror. I can imagine there are some people who are selling. People selling that are reading this are going, “That was me.” I saw a statistic. Of the 1% producers, the elite performers, 72% of them left the job within 60 days. They cited that the number one reason for them leaving the job is the job was misrepresented on their way in.
You are right. We have different positioning. If you are a guy who opened a manufacturing company and you have all the relationships, and everybody knows you because maybe you spoke at the conference a couple of times, but then, they hire someone who’s got a lot of sales experience and they come in. What I’m hearing is they still need that onboarding, recruitment, training, and system in place in order for them to be able to adapt to that environment. Did I get it correct?
That’s exactly right.
Let’s say my eyebrows are up. I’m a CEO. I pulled my car over and I’m crying in the parking lot from all the bad sales hires I have made in the past. Where do I start?
The first place to start is defining whether you need a sales leader or an individual contributor. Every company is different. It depends on where you are and how big you are. The first place you need to start is to understand whether you need a leader in the role or an individual contributor. That’s important. If you hire a leader but there’s no system built and you say, “This person’s going to build the system.” That’s great.
If you are so early on, that person, in order to build the system, will have to roll up their sleeve, get on the phone, email, cold call, and do the job. If you are not prepared to do the job, you are going to hire a person that’s sitting in their office and they are thinking about all these great strategies, but still, nothing is getting done because you still need the individual contributors to build the model, run the activity, AB test, test the market, and get out there and figure out what’s working.
If you are not ready for that manager, then you need an individual contributor. What we would recommend is someone that is an up-and-comer that maybe is a team lead that could potentially be your future manager. What we want them to do is we want them to show us what they have built in the past, what model they understand, and whether they can build it again. When we say build it again, we mean to do it. We mean, “Figure out how many calls you need to make on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, and a monthly basis as well as how many emails. What cadences do you have? What email marketing are you doing? What does it take to get a prospect to reply and respond to you? What does it take to close a deal?”
It’s going to take you a long time. It’s going to take 3 to 6 months to start to figure that out. Once you figure out the activity metrics required to be successful to close one deal, you need to think through and figure out how many deals are possible on a monthly basis so that you can start to identify the monthly, quarterly, and yearly targets of these individuals.
You stop building quotas. You figure out, “If a person could drive this much activity, they will produce $1 million in business.” You hire the second person, and what happens? They follow the same playbook, the same amount of calls, emails, and social. You will give them a $1 million quota. You can do $2 million in revenue because you have people doing the same activity that’s scalable and successful, and that’s how you grow.
What most people try to do is they try to skip all of those steps and say, “Give me a senior-level salesperson from my competitor. Let them join our company. They are going to kick butt. They are going to make this happen. I expect them to sell,” but nothing is built. Every environment is different. All of a sudden, they get in and they don’t do the calls. They are leveraging their network. They are trying to get through to people and it’s not working. The CEO’s getting pissed and frustrated. He is saying, “We are spending all this money and there is no ROI.” What happens? There’s a clash. It starts to fall apart.
You want to have a leader of some sort that eventually will manage, but they have to be successful themselves first. They are creating the playbook of success and duplicating that and hiring people who can achieve that playbook of success. That way, we can scale the organization on the same sales methodology and the same sales process and system.
When we get into the recruiting part of this, those activity metrics tell us what sales characteristics are required for the people you interview. If it’s a highly transactional environment, we need highly transactional salespeople. If it’s a very strategic environment and not transactional, we need strategic enterprise type of salespeople. We need to understand. That’s why we spend so much time with our hiring companies before we launch a search because we need to understand this information in order for us to deliver an elite salesperson that can help grow their revenue.
You mentioned something that it’s 72% of sales reps says they were oversold on an opportunity or they were deceived. We have almost no turnover. When we are working with a company, let’s talk about what’s good about the opportunity, why it’s such a great place to work, and what are the challenges. We should be setting accurate expectations so we can help you sustain a salesforce, number one. Number two, we want accurate compensation. If you oversell your comp plan and have a great person that builds out this model but they make no money, what do they do as a salesperson at 9 or 12 months? They leave. They call us.
It’s a team effort with the sales organization. You want to support them, but if you are hiring the wrong people, you are going to feel like you got burned. If you hire the right people and understand the model, you will love them and they will love you. You will build a positive culture that’s dynamic and winning, and then you can scale it. You can pay people well. You can have success, and then you can grow it.
We are speaking with Mr. Dan Fantasia at TreelineInc.com. We are speaking about how the founder transitions from that founder person to duplication within a sales team. You reminded me of a story. One time, somebody was recruiting me out of the blue. I did a training class for somebody. One of the CEOs called me afterward and he goes, “I want to hire you.” I go, “Thanks for the compliment.” He was like, “Annual compensation is $5 million a year. I want to hire you.” I said, “You have my attention.”
He goes, “$5 million is what you should make.” I said, “What is your nearest rep making today?” He said, “I don’t want to talk about that. Do you have the ability to make $5 million?” I said, “How many salespeople do you have?” He said, “We have eleven.” I said, “What is the nearest comp that is happening today?” He goes, “$200.” It wasn’t even $200,000.
I said, “Tell me how I’m supposed to get to $5 million.” He went through the plan and the process, and I said, “That’s not achievable in the timeframe you are looking at. It’s not because I’m a negative person, but it’s going to cost you twice as much as you think it is on your budget to do this. It’s going to take you 2 to 3 times longer than you think. If you are telling me what you are telling me about your sales team, you have got to clear, retrain, or something, and that’s going to take six months in itself. You have got to rebuild from there.” He is like, “You should make $5 million in your first year.” I’m like, “It’s never going to happen.” I asked this magic question. I said, “Are you making $5 million a year?” He goes, “I’m not, but I own the company.” I’m like, “Oh, my gosh.”
The reason I bring that story up is because to your point, do not over-pump the comp plan. Let’s say I took the job, which I didn’t. I made $1.6 million, which most people would be happy with, but the reality is I’m so far away from $5 million. I’m going to be like, “Whoa.” If he had talked realistic numbers and we set the good and the bad, what’s good and what’s bad, but he didn’t want to get into that. He wanted to put it out there.
Founders and CEOs, if you own your company and you are responsible for these positions, be truthful. Tell them, “You are coming into an environment where our processes are awful. We are doing this about it or we are doing that about it.” You said something that my ears ring. You said there’s virtually no turnover when you do this.
The interesting thing is the questions you asked, we would ask that of our clients and help them figure that out. When we are recruiting a top person like Doug Brown, guess what questions they ask us? It is those exact questions. We have been around for many years. We have a humongous network. We have been doing this forever. When we are talking to our top reps, they are saying, “I’m selectively looking, but I’m not in a rush. When you find something that meets my criteria, let me know.”
When I’m sticking my neck out supporting your organization that nobody knows about because it’s small and we are trying to build growth, we want to be able to stick our neck out and answer all the questions. The second we can’t answer a couple of questions, you are saying to me, “You guys aren’t credible. I’m not interested in this opportunity.” It’s our job to help our CEOs and the founders figure this out and ask these tough questions so that they have the answers. We have the answers. As we go to market, we have a consistent message to make sure there’s no confusion, there’s full transparency, and we are not wasting people’s time.
Truth and disclosure are really that important. I agree with you 100% because I have been in that position. Not only that but in my position, I have been asked many times that. I have also been in a position where I had 166 people that I managed and they were salespeople. We had to recruit in that process, too. I found that our elite players are the ones to be the most truthful, too, because it doesn’t scare them off.
A lot of people are like, “I need a top-notch salesperson, so I’m going to omit this and not tell them about this or be puffery on this point a little bit.” If you say, “Our systems have messed up. You are coming into an environment where we are re-working and this is happening. It’s a little messy. This is the expectations you could have, and this is what’s not going to happen.” If we did this, the ego strength of an elite producer goes, “I can help you with that. I can handle that.”
We are not trying to oversell the company or the candidate. We are trying to find a good match. When you find a good match, you feel great. It feels great. The company grows. They refer you to people. The candidate loves the opportunity. They grow their career. We have built such a strong brand. We have such a loyal following because one of our core values is to do what’s right. We believe in doing the right thing.
There is nothing that feels worse than helping a person find an opportunity that you highly recommend the new company to and six months later, it doesn’t work out. You have disrupted their career. They are pissed. The client’s pissed. Everyone feels like crap. There’s a pit in your stomach. We do not want to do that. We are not about putting people in jobs. Help us figure out your model. Let’s get to the transparency and understanding of what a good fit is. Let’s bring it to the market. We will bring you elite salespeople. Don’t oversell them. Let’s build a model together. When you scale, you will continue to use us because we will keep bringing you elite sales talent that can help you grow that business.
I love that. You are planting the seed in a nice and tasteful way.
That’s what we do. A lot of these VC partners come in and they use us. We build a playbook for them and they use us over and over again in their portfolio companies. We continue to produce amazing results for each one of their companies.
I love it because planting the seed is a trait of a 1% earner. Founders, if you don’t have these people, you want them. It’s cool because you plant the seed and you never know where that beautiful tree is going to start to grow out of that. If you never plant the seed, it’s like, “I don’t know what the stat is any longer.” Half the people in sales never ask for the sale or something like that. It was like, “You do all that work. You will get there.” I have seen this happen. I have seen this where there have been 3 or 4 buying signals from the CEO like, “We are ready to go.” I had one say, “I need a PO number on this,” and the salesperson shied off it. I’m like, “You got to be kidding me.” Thank you for planting the seed.
Being a founder, an owner, or somebody who’s grown this baby from infancy all the way up and they have toiled, struggled, and had good times, too, it’s not easy to do that. Sometimes, we make mistakes as founders or owners. The cool thing is, if you find the right people, the people you are talking about, those one-percenters or those elite performers, they can think like a founder, an owner, or a CEO in many cases. They understand what that person’s going through.
If they are truthful to them, they can be an asset. They could say, “Boss, you are running down the wrong path enthusiastically here, and here are the reasons why. In situations I have been in, X, Y, and Z, we did the same thing. We burned ourselves here. We want to look at the profitability, not only just the revenue growth.” They could talk CEO language and things like that.
I love this conversation because one of the biggest pain points for companies is finding the right sales talent. I know people who have struggled for years, which Dan gets referrals for. The reality is it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Once you understand what you understand, it’s not that big of a deal anymore. I’m not saying it’s a piece of cake that you throw an ad out there and you got 18,000 people that apply. What I’m saying is you have a system and a process down, which gives the founder, the CEO, or the owner the leverage of 22 years of you being in the trenches and doing this the right way. They can walk into a system and do that.
With the right resources, it can be easier, but it’s tough. Flat-out recruiting is hard. We are working with people. They are unpredictable. It’s a tough business for certain, but if you do it for the right reasons, you feel good about this. When you help two parties come together, it feels great. Sometimes, a company is looking to hire. What they say is, “I know how we are going to make this easy. Go find a person from my competitor. We are a $50 million company and our biggest competitor is a $1 billion company.”
The problem is, and you had mentioned it earlier, let’s say we do go after those individuals and they come from a big organization. Many times, they don’t work well in a small startup entrepreneurial environment, number one. Number two, if they are considering you, what’s wrong with them? Jack Welch used to call it a pot full of duds. Every company has its pot full of duds. If those are the low producers in an organization, I don’t care if they are a competitor or not. It’s not a strategy for success.
If you want to figure out how to build a sales team, find out who those competitors are recruiting. Where did their people come from? Where did the top producer come from? You are unlikely going to get that person. Why? It is because they are going to cost you a fortune. They are going to ask for twice as much money. They are going to have all these demands that are unrealistic for you. It is a mistake for you to hire that person, most likely. It may be a non-compete that you have to fight.
Let’s talk about a real strategy. Where is your top competitor recruiting from? Where are they finding their top talent from? It’s not because they are your biggest competitor, that doesn’t mean they are going to be a great salesperson for you. How do they do it? There are a million different things and strategies we would have to help a company find good talent. You have to be thinking creatively as to how you are going to win the market. That is where you have to go.
It’s a great thought. It is a distinct profile for those who will and those who won’t. If they are coming from a multi-billion dollar corporation and they are coming into a $50 million company, they might be asking questions like, “Do I get a car allowance?”
They are like, “How many accounts do I get? What key accounts do I have?” It is stuff like that.
They are like, “What do you mean there are only two weeks of vacation here?” You hit a good point, which is it’s not just about recruiting. It’s about finding the right match so they play win-win. What I have noticed is the companies that do the best job at that retain their people the longest. They don’t retain the duds because if the system is set up right in the company, it flushes the duds out of the system. They can’t compete on that level.
When they have these elite producers in their company, then what they are doing is they are constantly raising the bar. It’s like, “Quota doesn’t exist.” It’s like, “That’s not even an issue. We don’t even talk about quotas. That’s for the duds.” They create this highly competitive NHL team. Who makes it to the Stanley Cup?
When you are on a team that can consistently do that over and over, Tampa Lightning came to mind. They did it many years in a row. You are not going to be a C-level or even a B-level player and be able to hang on that team very long. I don’t know what they do in the locker room. Maybe they beat them up. I have no idea. The reality is it’s not hard to judge some sales numbers because you look at whether they are hitting or exceeding it.
It’s a good point you brought up. Let’s talk about sales recruiting as a sales growth strategy. A lot of times, I don’t think people look at the recruiting strategy as a growth strategy. It’s like a need. They think about it. You know as well that if you do this right, it’s better than any favorite meal you are ever going to have in your life. It’s one of those things that if you do this right, it’s like, “The numbers are growing and I have less work as an owner,” that type of thing. Can you speak to that, please?
Right off the bat, if you take two $30 million companies side by side, one of them is open, dynamic, creative, and learning as they go. They do it right and they build a playbook where another is struggling. You can see side by side the companies that are kicking butt, growing, and scaling and the ones that aren’t. We see them side by side all the time because that’s what happens to us.
We are making suggestions and recommendations. They may not always be taken, but we can see it. We know what companies are doing well and what companies are doing wrong. Many times, a company or a client will come to us with a preset, like a determination of what they want. They have been doing this for a long time. They say, “This is exactly what we want.”
When we start working with them, because we can drive the pipeline and bring them elite sales professionals, we can help them become more educated than the market. For example, maybe you are looking for a direct competitor. We will bring you them. When we bring them to you, you might find out that after a 1st or 2nd interview, they are not what you are looking for, but you thought you were looking for them earlier on.
What happens is, unfortunately, companies don’t take sales recruiting or any recruiting sometimes seriously. Sales recruiting is very difficult. Internal recruiting resources usually don’t spend a lot of time on it because there’s so much rejection. It’s so challenging to get. It may even be intimidating for some HR departments to get a talented salesperson live and interested in an opportunity.
As a result, they don’t see the talent. Since they don’t see the talent, coincidentally, they happen to hire the one that they think is the best out of the group of people that they have seen. It’s because HR has focused on the ops role, the admin role, and all these other roles that are low-hanging fruit, which is easier to identify and easier to find. The salespeople, it’s hard. They are very confident. They have egos. You have got to get in touch with them. You have got to convince them to talk to you, and then you have got to convince them that there are opportunities out there that they should be considering. That doesn’t bode well with many departments.
As a result, while the CEO finds it to be incredibly serious, the rest of the team feels as if it’s the biggest struggle. They never see the talent and don’t get the people they want, and then in comes Treeline. We have the network. We know how to do it. We bring talent to you so you understand who the competitors are and who the top producers could be in your organization.
We introduce you to their talent. We show you their social backgrounds. We show you their compensation expectations. We show you their average deal size, their sales cycle, and their quota. We give you all the data you need to understand if they are a good fit for your selling environment, knowing that they are interested in your opportunity. They want to speak with you. It’s your opportunity to get them excited about who you are and where you are going. That is what’s usually missing for smaller companies. They don’t have the resources or the expertise to bring a level of talent and enough data to you to truly understand what it is that you are looking for in the next hire.
If people want to get a hold of you or a whole of your company where they are like, “I got it. I want to talk to Dan,” how do they do that?
If they want, they can connect with me on LinkedIn anytime. Message me directly. If you want, call me on my direct dial.
What’s the number?
It’s 781-327-8902. Also, go to our homepage. Hit the Contact Us form. We will reach out to you immediately. You could go to our Resources page at TreelineInc.com. The Resources page has some good articles on selling characteristics. There’s a compensation calculator. That’s awesome to navigate and figure out what individuals you are looking to hire and what you should be paying them.
I would imagine there are not a lot of Dan Fantasias on LinkedIn. Is there more than one?
No, there’s not. It’s Dan Fantasia.
That’s a unique name. I have the last name Brown, so I’m hosed on that one, for sure. I have a question that I know is looming with people reading, whether they are looking to come into a company or let’s talk about it from the owner’s perspective or the company size you are talking about. Let’s say I want to hire five more salespeople. I’m a company and I got five salespeople. I want to double the size of my sales team.
I’m the owner of the company. Everybody knows my name as it was said in Cheers. For those of you who aren’t old enough, Cheers was this show on television with Ted Danson. You can look it up. I have a looming question. Should I hire more salespeople or should I get set up first to be able to handle these elite producers and these top one-percenters?
They are like, “I heard Doug on this show say they can be a bit of a handful, too. They are wild ponies that are running around out on the field if I don’t have some type of corral or something to give them direction.” What would you say to the people that say, “Should I hire them now or should I build something first and then go after and hire them?”
First, I’d assess the sales team and see if all 5 people are at 100% quota or above. If they are not at a 100% quota or above, I would try to identify why. It might be their personality characteristics. Then, I would probably top-grade first before I did anything. I wouldn’t scale. I would top grade.
For people who don’t understand the term top grade, what is it? It sounds like a Tom Cruise term.
I would recruit for my next top performer and release my lowest producer.
We don’t keep them on payroll and keep paying them even though they are costing us money.
Yes, I would do that first.
They are like, “We have to keep them on. He’s my brother’s sister’s cousin. I have got to keep him on.” I’m making that to an extreme because I see that happen so often in companies.
You can’t throw more bodies at it. When it comes to labor efficiency ratios, you need to make sure your team is all at 100%. If they are not, then they can’t be there, so you need to top-grade. If your team can’t help you find additional elite sales professionals, then you need help. You need some resources that can get you there. We could help you. How do you know? Your top producer might be a bottom producer after we introduce you to some additional talent.
They are like, “We top grade at the top grade?”
We work through the bottom of the organization that can’t hit their numbers and the top grade. Once we have a real team and a strong LER, then we think about additional scale. It makes no sense to throw more bodies at it and hope that something is going to work.
That is wise advice. I see companies do this all the time. They go out and recruit the five. 1 out of the 5 works out. They lose somebody internally because they realize, “I’m exposed,” and then they leave. They are down. They got four salespeople. It’s a never-ending cycle. That’s sage advice. These top-grading things, so many people have an aversion to embracing that.
I will tell you all that are reading, and Dan knows this because you have been doing this for many years, it is one of the highest growth strategies you can play within a sales team. You release the ones who aren’t working and you fill it. If you look at your top producer and say, “This is our bottom-level metric of what we accept,” and you make your top producer your lowest metric, then you are going to hire people at least there and above. You have a new standard.
When you bring enough of these people in, the bottom crew is going to feel shaky anyways and they are going to leave. You could proactively do it in a very nice and kind way. Founders, CEOs, sales managers, sales VPs, and presidents of divisions, for the love of whatever deity you listen to, do not give your best leads to the lowest producers to prop them up. Please. I see that happen over and over. You look at it and do exactly what you said. You top-grade it. They get a guy like you who knows what they are doing. You help them top grade it and all of a sudden, their revenues go up but their profitability goes up.
That’s exactly right. You are growing not to grow. You are growing top and bottom-line revenue. Many times, we have all kinds of techniques. There’s an emotional attachment sometimes by the hiring manager or the sales manager. They struggle to identify. They are hopeful that based on a pipeline that may or may not be realistic, this person’s going to make it through. In actuality, it typically doesn’t happen. Since sales recruiting is so hard and they don’t usually have the resources, they avoid it and keep the team.
What’s so interesting is the number one service that we offer is contingency. It’s a contingency search. It costs companies nothing. If they don’t hire from us, they don’t pay. Many times, it makes all the sense in the world to try our company and see if the talent we bring is better than the talent they presently have on staff.
When you can help a company see what real talent looks like, the cost is irrelevant because you bring real talent to the board. You help grow revenue numbers. You grow LER. You grow profit. The company takes off. Without that support, you are making it that much more difficult for the CEO, the founder, the hiring manager, the VP, or whoever it is. If they don’t have the resources to find these people, it becomes a battle. As a result, instead of battling through it, they will keep the duds and hope that they will hit their number.
There are no fireworks on the 4th of July at that point except for the producer that’s doing it. Did I hear contingency? That’s like, “Risk reversal? I don’t have any risk.” Did I hear contingency?
That’s right. If you were to work with us, the first thing I’d say is for smaller companies, I’d recommend contingency, not a retainer because they may not have the budget and they want to be cautious. It could be risky. It’s okay. We will help you through this and figure it out with you. What I always say is you should know that we hire within 30 days. Our average search takes 30 days to help you hire this person. It’s not necessarily when they start, but within 30 days, you will make an offer.
You should be prepared to pay a fee. We are not joking. We will get you the hire that you want, so be prepared. If budget is an issue, don’t do it. Why go through this and then get to the final stages? You want to hire the superstar but realize you don’t want to spend the fee on it. We are a very genuine company. We are trying to help founders and executives figure this out, and when they figure it out, we can help them scale the company. If it’s forced on them, don’t waste your time. Don’t waste our time. If you don’t have the budget and you don’t want to try it, it’s okay. I will brainstorm with you for free. You don’t have to use our services. It’s not a big deal.
I know you can do it in 30 days. That’s quick. A lot of people are like, “That’s quick.” I know you have a system and a process to achieve this. That’s one of the reasons I wanted you to be on this show so that people could know this. I know they struggle with this. I deal with companies all the time. This is 1 of the top 5 struggles in their company. I appreciate you being here on the show. I don’t know if I ought to ask this question, but is there anything you were like, “I hope Doug asked me this question,” but I didn’t or did I cover it all?
There’s so much to hiring that you and I could be here for days. You covered the most important things with founder-led sales and companies that are trying to grow and that are struggling. It’s a good foundation for getting started.
Thanks for being here. I appreciate it.
No problem. Thank you for having me.
What did you learn? I hope you learned a bunch of stuff here. Firstly, if you are going to go try to recruit these people, please do not oversell the position. You want to be truthful. I said truthful, but not honest. Honest is subjective. Truthful is objective. These people are not afraid if things aren’t 100% there as long as you tell them upfront. They are going to help you solve those if need be.
Here’s the thing, if you hire a person like this and they are truly a top one-percenter and you don’t have systems in place or you don’t have the processes in place, they are going to make it up because they want to make money. If they find they can’t accomplish that, they are going to flush out of your organization pretty quickly, and that costs you a lot of money.
If you are a one-percenter and you are interviewing, ask the tough questions. I know you do anyways but ask the tough questions. Ask them anything like whether they are going to be an impediment. This is a win-win scenario that you want to have on both sides, the company side and the rep side of the business. Tell them exactly what you want, and companies, tell them exactly what you want. Make sure it is a good fit.
Remember. If you don’t have these people, you can bring these people on. I loved what Dan said about first, if you are starting and you don’t have a sales leader or a manager, and a manager’s job is to grow that department or that division, that means growing the revenue and the profitability. That means coaching, recruiting, and helping with recruiting. You want to bring the best talent there. Think of yourself as a top.
I love hockey. Let’s take NHL. As the general manager or manager of the team, you want the best of the best. You want to get them there. It’s going to cost you a little bit to get them there usually, but the reality is when you look at the numbers, it’s so worth it. Those of you who are top one-percenters are not going to give your talent away for free, so you have got to convey your value in that position as well.
What I loved about what he said was also about top-grading. If you have a team and they are not all performing, look at your top producer or that top person. What you want to do is say, “What are their characteristics and traits? What are they doing on a daily basis? Capture all of that information.” That’s how you can start with a sales playbook. If you don’t have one, you start with that top person and document this out.
What you then do is go, “This is going to be our bottom line standard. Our bottom line standard is our number one producer. We are not hiring anybody under that profile or under that ability.” That’s it. You start building from there. When you get there on the next annum, if you will, or if you are looking for more people, you do the same thing. You take that top person and say, “This is our lowest standard.” You keep doing this process over and over. Over time, you will fill up the elite producers.
Remember, you got to get the backend in play for these people as well. That can come, but start that process. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help as well because elite producers love to jump in and say, “This is better. I can make this better. That’s great. I can make this easier. That’s great. Leverage this great. Leverage that, great.” You are going to hear that all the time.
If you love this episode and you like Dan, and you think you want to reach out to his company, please do so. If you love the episode, please give it a five-star review. Tell your friends about it. Give this away to other people. We do this show because we view this as we are bringing the best and the best that we can. People learn things. It’s our way of giving back to our community.
If you are an expert or you know somebody who is an expert and you think you would be a great guest on the show or you know somebody who could be a great guest on the show, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com and let us know. If you are looking to be in the top 1% no matter where you are and you want to get there, we can help you. We are opening a 1% Academy this 2023 in late fall. If you are interested in that, reach out to YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. I have an eBook coming out on The Non-Stop 1% Earner. If you would like a copy of that eBook, please reach out to us at the same address, YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. You do matter to us.
Go out and sell something. Play win-win. Sell a lot of it and sell it profitably. Remember that game. If you win, they win. That is the best sale that will spark more referrals and more existing internal expansion and external expansion in your business. If you are a company looking to say, “I want to learn more about how I can expand my revenue,” reach out to me directly at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com or @DougBrown123 is my LinkedIn. Until next time, go out and sell something. To your success.
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