7 Secrets of Recruiting the BEST Salespeople

By Steve Suggs, Recruiting Expert and author of Can They Sell

When Jeffery Gittomer, endorsed my book, Can They Sell, he said, “To hire or not to hire? That is the question.”  Jeffery is a master at getting salespeople to understand this foundational principal of success: “Salespeople’s mastery of sales skills will determine the quality of their lifestyle.”  A similar principal of success is true for sales managers: “The quality of the team you recruit will determine your success as a coach.”

In sales, your individual personal performance, to a very large degree, determines your level of income.  As a sales manager, your income is controlled by the performance of the salespeople on your team.  Therefore, to build a strong team, it is critical that you master the skills of great recruiters.

The great University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball legendary coach, Pat  Summitt, is best known as a master recruiter. Her understanding that her recruiting skills determines her success as a coach has earned her 15 SEC Championships and 29 NCAA Tournament Appearances. The secret to Coach Summitt’s success is that she recruits and coaches using a best practice recruiting and coaching system.

When recruiting top players, Pat Summitt asks herself this question, “Can this recruit play basketball at a level that will win championships?” She knows what to look for and how to look for it. Great recruiters of salespeople should ask a similar question, “Can this candidate sell at a level that will help my team reach my personal income goals?” Do you know what to look for and how to look for it?

Mastering the foundational principals of successful recruiters will determine the number of championships you will win and the quality of your life. These 7 secrets will get you moving toward becoming a great recruiter.


  1. The best recruiters have calculated the cost of making a bad hire. The pain of lost revenue is the biggest motivator to improve and change. Managers have given me figures that range from $50,000 to $500,000. What is your number?


  1. The best recruiters know the answers to these 3 important questions:
  • Where can I find more quality people to interview?
  • What are the tops traits and skills of the best salespeople?
  • How do I look for these top traits and skills, and what tools do I use?


  1. The best recruiters understand that with the right knowledge, they can bring greatness to the people they lead. Using our gut (emotions) to make hiring decisions is the alternative approach to putting forth the hard effort to learn a best practice system. When salespeople don’t understand great sales skills, they talk too much. When recruiters don’t understand what traits to look for in candidates and do not have interview questions tied to these traits, they default to asking a few random questions and then selling the candidates they like on coming to work for them. Talking about ourselves and our company causes us to like the candidate to whom we are talking. If during the interview, we ask prepared, structured questions, the candidate talks the most. We then, learn what we need to know to make a hiring decision. And the stronger candidates like us because we let them talk about themselves. Just like when managers train salespeople to listen during the fact finding appointment, managers should be trained to listen while interviewing candidates.


  1. The best recruiters stop looking for an easier path to success. They realize that if they do not master recruiting and coaching skills in their current job, they will just drag the same bad habits into a new job and get frustrated there, too.


  1. Great recruiters understand what the perfect salesperson looks like, and they measure everyone in their pool of candidates against perfection. The pick of the litter is not always the best performer. When we measure everyone in our pool of candidates against the perfect salesperson, we may realize that we need more candidates in our pool.


  1. Great recruiters use a “best practice” recruiting system with processes, tools and skills. A best practice recruiting system begins with knowing the top five dimensions of a best salesperson: Attitudes, Motivations, Character Traits, Personality Traits and Sales Competencies. The best recruiters know how to use interview questionnaires and assessments that are tied to these 5 dimensions to measure each candidate against the best candidate.


  1. The best recruiters realize that learning anything new is hard. Hard is what allows strong sales teams to rise to the top. If it were easy, it wouldn’t pay much.  Easy diet and exercise programs don’t work, and neither do quick and easy solutions to fixing the complex problem of recruiting.

These 7 secrets will help you as a recruiter at a whole new level. Sales will grow, stress will lower, and you will become a great coach. Now go and RECRUIT THE BEST!
The book comes with 3 recruiting training videos.

Understand How the Brain Operates When You Sell to Prospects


Written by Stu Schlackman 

You’ve heard many sayings when it comes to selling, such as customers buy emotionally and then back up their decision with logic. Or, how about, “you sell the left brain and you close the right brain”. The left side of the brain sees the features and the right side sees the benefits, which is the reason it’s said that features tell and benefits sell. Selling to the left side of the brain requires information and results. But, you need to influence the right side of the brain to motivate them to take action. In other words the left brain thinks and the right brain acts. You may wonder whether you should really consider how the brain operates when you are selling – I say absolutely YES! Let’s consider some key reasons for this.

#1 Emotional Intelligence

Selling REQUIRES emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as “the abilities to recognize and regulate the emotions in ourselves and others”. If you do not connect emotionally with your prospects and clients, they won’t feel the need to do business with you. People value their relationships, including those with their sales professionals. When they receive value, they enjoy rewarding you with a purchase order, because they believe you earned it! However, as we all know, people are different. They have different values, communicate differently, make decisions differently and have varying needs. Your job is to discover what is most important to them so that you can connect with them on that level.

#2 Personality Style

Building a solid professional relationship requires trust. To do that you will have to uncover their needs, which is infinitely easier when you understand their personality style. One of the most powerful questions to ask is “when it comes to investing in a solution like ours, what is most important to you?” Their answer will reveal their values which are directly related to their personality style. For example, Green personality styles are the more analytical and engineering types who value efficiency and competence. Golds are more leader types such CEO, CFO and financial types who value security and control. Oranges are big picture and look for the immediate benefits and value winning and competition, while Blues value integrity and relationships.

#3 Storytelling

Use stories and analogies to engage the right side of the brain. Stories are memorable and others can put themselves into the story, helping them visualize the situation from their perspective. Customers buy when four criteria are satisfied: needs, cost, solution and risk. ONLY when they are comfortable in each of these areas will they take action. When they hear a relevant success story they can relate to, they begin to see what your solution can do for them.

From a personality perspective, each personality will prioritize and analyze needs, cost, solution and risk differently. Right brain people are Orange and Blue in our model and they favor more of the intangibles and are more subjective. Left brain people are our Green and Gold and are more objective and look for the tangibles. Don’t forget that people also buy based on what the solution will do for them personally, which is why building a relationship is vital. Business solutions might lower cost, increase revenue or improve productivity. Personal motivations might be getting a promotion, recognition or peace of mind. Left brain (Green and Gold) customers favor business benefits of your solution and right brain (Blue and Orange) folks favor the personal aspects.

The bottom line is this: know why your customer buys. Just understanding who they are will help you shift the attention away from your goals to theirs, which always nets better results!

You need to:

1. Connect with your customers emotionally = emotional intelligence

2. Understand their needs and their personality style

3. Engage them with stories and case studies that will engage their right brain

The result will be Superior Sales Results!


Stu Shlackman has spent over 25 years in sales management, sales and sales training with world class companies like Digital Equipment Corporation, Cap Gemini and EDS. His focus is on “the application” of the skills and techniques he shares. He is the author of Don’t Just Stand There, Sell Something and Four People You Should Know.

Stu is active teaching business classes at Dallas Christian College and has developed an online sales management class at University of Texas, Dallas. He is a member of the Richardson Chamber Board of Directors and active on boards with Leadership Richardson, Prevent Blindness Dallas and the National Speaker Association of North Texas. Schlackman holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Kennedy Western University.





Job Seekers Getting Asked For Facebook Passwords


SEATTLE (AP) — When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person’s social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

“It’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys,” said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it “an egregious privacy violation.”

Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.

Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.

Companies that don’t ask for passwords have taken other steps — such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.

Asking for a candidate’s password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.

Back in 2010, Robert Collins was returning to his job as a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after taking a leave following his mother’s death. During a reinstatement interview, he was asked for his login and password, purportedly so the agency could check for any gang affiliations. He was stunned by the request but complied.

“I needed my job to feed my family. I had to,” he recalled,

After the ACLU complained about the practice, the agency amended its policy, asking instead for job applicants to log in during interviews.

“To me, that’s still invasive. I can appreciate the desire to learn more about the applicant, but it’s still a violation of people’s personal privacy,” said Collins, whose case inspired Maryland’s legislation.

Until last year, the city of Bozeman, Mont., had a long-standing policy of asking job applicants for passwords to their email addresses, social-networking websites and other online accounts.

And since 2006, the McLean County, Ill., sheriff’s office has been one of several Illinois sheriff’s departments that ask applicants to sign into social media sites to be screened.

Chief Deputy Rusty Thomas defended the practice, saying applicants have a right to refuse. But no one has ever done so. Thomas said that “speaks well of the people we have apply.”

When asked what sort of material would jeopardize job prospects, Thomas said “it depends on the situation” but could include “inappropriate pictures or relationships with people who are underage, illegal behavior.”

In Spotsylvania County, Va., the sheriff’s department asks applicants to friend background investigators for jobs at the 911 dispatch center and for law enforcement positions.

“In the past, we’ve talked to friends and neighbors, but a lot of times we found that applicants interact more through social media sites than they do with real friends,” said Capt. Mike Harvey. “Their virtual friends will know more about them than a person living 30 yards away from them.”

Harvey said investigators look for any “derogatory” behavior that could damage the agency’s reputation.

E. Chandlee Bryan, a career coach and co-author of the book “The Twitter Job Search Guide,” said job seekers should always be aware of what’s on their social media sites and assume someone is going to look at it.

Bryan said she is troubled by companies asking for logins, but she feels it’s not a violation if an employer asks to see a Facebook profile through a friend request. And she’s not troubled by non-disparagement agreements.

“I think that when you work for a company, they are essentially supporting you in exchange for your work. I think if you’re dissatisfied, you should go to them and not on a social media site,” she said.

More companies are also using third-party applications to scour Facebook profiles, Bryan said. One app called BeKnown can sometimes access personal profiles, short of wall messages, if a job seeker allows it.

Sears is one of the companies using apps. An applicant has the option of logging into the Sears job site through Facebook by allowing a third-party application to draw information from the profile, such as friend lists.

Sears Holdings Inc. spokeswoman Kim Freely said using a Facebook profile to apply allows Sears to be updated on the applicant’s work history.

The company assumes “that people keep their social profiles updated to the minute, which allows us to consider them for other jobs in the future or for ones that they may not realize are available currently,” she said.

Giving out Facebook login information violates the social network’s terms of service. But those terms have no real legal weight, and experts say the legality of asking for such information remains murky.

The Department of Justice regards it as a federal crime to enter a social networking site in violation of the terms of service, but during recent congressional testimony, the agency said such violations would not be prosecuted.

But Lori Andrews, law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law specializing in Internet privacy, is concerned about the pressure placed on applicants, even if they voluntarily provide access to social sites.

“Volunteering is coercion if you need a job,” Andrews said.

Neither Facebook nor Twitter responded to repeated requests for comment.

In New York, Bassett considered himself lucky that he was able to turn down the consulting gig at a lobbying firm.

“I think asking for account login credentials is regressive,” he said. “If you need to put food on the table for your three kids, you can’t afford to stand up for your belief.”


McFarland reported from Springfield, Ill.


Manuel Valdes can be reached at https://twitter.com/ByManuelValdes .

Shannon McFarland can be reached at https://twitter.com/shanmcf .

Test Your Negotiation Skills

By CD Mohatta

Negotiation is part of every professional’s life. To negotiate, means to arrive at an understanding with another person, so that both of you are satisfied with the results. Do you know what is your skill in negotiation? If not, why not test and find out because most of our interactions demand negotiation. You are negotiating with your love partner about which place to go for dinner. You negotiate with your co-workers about how to divide the work. You negotiate with your clients about prices and you negotiate with your boss about your paycheck. Let us discuss important test factors of a negotiation.

Understanding Need – If you are a good negotiator, you would begin with understanding the need of the opposite party. Only after you get that understanding will you proceed further. The first requirement is to find out what the other person wants. If you are arguing with your spouse about which restaurant to go for dinner, find out his/her need. Do they want to have dinner outside or they are looking to get away somewhere for sometime? if later is the case, your choices increase many times.

Specifying Your Needs – Please spell out your needs clearly to the opposite party. Let them know very clearly about what you are looking for. If your boss knows that your real need is not rise in pay, but higher status, he/she can work out a solution quickly. Therefore please convey your needs clearly.

Reaching Understanding – This is the result both of you are seeking. If both the parties can modulate their needs so that they meet each other’s expectations, this can be done easily. Flexibility at this stage depends upon how much both of you are interested in negotiation. If both of you want a result without hurting the relationship, flexible approach is a primary requirement. Otherwise, one of you will walk away. Your skill as a negotiator depends upon satisfying you, the other party and getting a good result. You need to develop good thinking skills, communication ability and an understanding of the personalities and what drives them to act. Test yourself about these factors and find out how good a negotiator are you?


The Brooks Group

LIVE WEBINAR:April 12, 2012

12:55 – 1:30PM ET 

*If you aren’t available to attend the live webinar, register to gain access to the recording.

This series celebrates The Brooks Group’s 35th year in the sales training business. Join Jeb Brooks, Executive VP of The Brooks Group, for the second in the series of 35 minute sales leadership webinars to learn about prospecting. Special Guest: Paul Bilodeau, VP of Sales & Marketing at The Brooks Group.

You will Learn: 

  • Where to look for the most qualified prospects
  • How your team can differentiate themselves
  • Ways salespeople can more effectively convert the prospects they meet


4 Myths to Identifying “A” Players in an Interview and What You Should Really be Looking For

By Keenan, A Sales Guy Blog

Hiring “A” players is without a doubt critical in building and maintaining successful sales teams. We all want the absolute best talent we can get. In the end, our job is to build teams, not find the best talent. But, finding the best people for your team is critical.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what an “A” player or superstar looks like and how to spot them in an interview. Following these myths can bury your team with under performers and bad hires. When looking for “A” players DON’T get suckered by these traits;

1) Enthusiasm: Labrador Retriever puppies are unbelievably enthusiastic. They run around in a million directions ready to do what ever they can to make you happy. They don’t do much, very well, but they are full of enthusiasm and not much else.

Enthusiasm is a great trait combined with a what’s really important. It is by far a trait to define a superstar or “A” player. Not all “A” players are enthusiastic. Who wants a bunch of puppies running around the office?

2) Sense of Urgency: Just because someone has little patience and wants something right now, doesn’t signal they are an “A” player. A players can have sense of urgency, but sense of urgency doesn’t mean they are an “A” player. As a matter of fact, many see a sense of urgency as a liability. Recall the story of the young bull and the old bull sitting on top of the hill looking down on a field full of cows. The young bull says, “Hey, let’s run down their and git one of them cows.” The old bull says, “Let’s walk down and git em all.”

Not all “A” players have a sense of urgency.

3) Money Hungry: Using a persons motivation for money to determine if they are an “A” player is suicide. The vast majority of sales people are money hungry. To suggest or believe that “A” players some how have a monopoly on the desire for money and therefore can be identified by that desire is stupid.

“A” players are no more or less money driven on average than “B” or “C” players. I would contend, in many cases it’s the opposite. It is proven over and over the best of the best are almost NEVER motivated by money, but rather by being the best of the best, and number one in their field. They know that by being the best, the money will follow. Money isn’t the motivator, being great is!

Not all “A” players are motivated by money.

4) Experience: Probably the most mistakenly used data point for determining an “A” player. I’ve heard a million times, “he worked at XYZ for 10 years and was their top rep, he’s awesome,” or “She has 15 years experience in the industry, and has been a top rep for all 15. She rocks!” And then watched them all fall flat on their face. Experience should be contextual data to validate or invalidate your assumptions. That’s it. For every time I’ve seen the person with the pedigree fail, I’ve seen someone without the experience blow it up.

Not all “A” players have tremendous experience.

My problem with the traits above is they all correlate to “A” players, but they aren’t the cause. They aren’t the reason someone is an “A” player. Too often we rely on correlations, not causes. Doing so can create tremendous damage.

To know what signals to look for when interviewing “A” players, you have to know what causes “A” players to be successful. Enthusiasm, motivated by money, sense of urgency and experience DON’T cause more product to be sold.

So what causes more product to be sold?

Business Accumen: Sales people with strong business acumen know how business works. They understand the inherent challenges with change management, finance, cash flow, accounting, product placement, H.R., product pricing, logistics, supply-chain, and more. “A” players know business. “A” players leverage that knowledge of business to help their clients improve their business.

Tip: Dig into your candidates understanding of general business terms. Ask him or her how they sold their product or service over the past few years. Don’t listen for sales terms and processes like overcoming objections, but rather business terms, like reducing margins, reduced life cycles, inventory velocity, etc.

“A” players talk in business terms, not sales terms. All “A” players have strong business acumen.

Creativity: Creativity is the most important trait to me when looking for “A” players. I’ve always scored creative candidates higher than those who weren’t. The book Challenger Sale recently reported that the best sales managers are those that are most creative in helping their teams get deals unstuck or finding creative solutions to difficult problems.

“A” players are brilliant at finding solutions to problems others can’t find. Creative people expand the range of possibilities in ways non-creative people can’t. ”A” players are VERY creative in how they do their jobs.

Tip: Ask the candidate to describe the most creative solution he or she came up with to overcome a serious sales challenge. Look for out of the box answers.

Leadership: In today’s selling world, “A” players HAVE to be leaders. The Rain Maker is dead. “A” players must be comfortable making their customers uncomfortable. They have to be able to engage every part of their organization. They must motivate and drive a strong pursuit team. An “A” player is not and”A” player with out being a leader.

Tip: Look for examples of starting something on their own, such as a non-profit, a company, neighborhood fund-raiser, etc. Ask the candidate to give examples of where they saw a need for change and took the lead to initiate the change with others. All “A” players are leaders.

Drive: This one might seem squishy to some of you. You’re thinking, just because someone has drive, doesn’t mean they are an “A” player. I disagree. When someone has drive, it means they don’t quit. The push and push until they make it. Drive means they fill their skills gaps because it means they’ll get better. It means they become more creative in order to solve more problems. It means they look to others for help, wisdom, experience, guidance and more to get them closer to their goals.

Drive is gasoline to “A” players. It makes them go. All “A” players have drive.

Tip: Ask the candidate to share a time when he wanted to quit something. Ask her what her greatest accomplishment is. You’re looking for something that took a long-time and was fraught with failure and disappointment along the way. Those with drive will have a lot of good stories for you.

Finding “A” players in an interview means being focused on the causes of sales. Enthusiasm, sense of urgency, experience, and being money motivated are all nice to haves, but they don’t move the needle. “A” players possess skills that are at the root of moving product and selling. “A” players are creative, understand business, have drive and are leaders. You have all of those traits and you can’t fail. Not failing is what makes an “A” player.

Now go find your “A” players!

How to Exercise Your Way to Selling More!

By Mike Brooks, SalesGravy.com

Instead of getting older and losing strength, stamina and flexibility, you can actually reverse this and become “functionally younger” next year than you are right now. You can actually change the decline curve that we all assume is true about aging and live the last half or last third of your life in better shape and with less restriction and disease than 90% of the population right now. That’s significant.


The Joy of Traveling

A couple of weeks ago I was flying back to Los Angeles from Chicago, long flight, late at night. The good news about my seat was that it was an exit row (nice leg room), the bad news was that it was the center seat. As I marched through the aisle with my carry on, I looked forward toward my seat and saw that I would be sandwiched between two, big guys. Oh the joy of traveling.

Luckily, once we got off the ground, the guy to my left fell asleep, and the guy on my right was busy finishing a detective novel. Once he was done he picked up a new book that drew my attention. It was called, “Younger Next Year”. As he turned the pages, I would scan the headings and look at the graphs, and by the end of the flight I was sold on what I saw. When I got home I ordered it and am almost through reading it right now.

So here’s the deal. The book tells you everything you probably already know but aren’t doing. You should exercise more, eat well, etc. But what makes it different are the reasons it gives for doing these things. And more specifically, it makes a bold claim.

Functionally Younger

Instead of getting older and losing strength, stamina and flexibility, you can actually reverse this and become “functionally younger” next year than you are right now. You can actually change the decline curve that we all assume is true about aging and live the last half or last third of your life in better shape and with less restriction and disease than 90% of the population right now. That’s significant.

OK, so what does this have to do with sales? Well, everything really. I remember when I was struggling to make sales all those years ago, and I remember how my physical body mirrored my attitude and performance. My diet was horrible (donuts, pastries and lots of coffee for breakfast), my lunch was the nearest Chinese restaurant for the luncheon special with soup, and for dinner I would have as many beers as courses there were on the menu.

Exercise? That wasn’t part of the plan. As a result, I was out of shape, I had low energy once the coffee wore off, and my attitude was pretty poor. I was on the slope of decline and I was only 29 years old!

Commit to Change

I’ve written a lot about what changed me. Such as, learning and committing to using the right skill set, adopting the right mind set and using affirmations, etc. Also, one thing that made a huge difference for me was that I committed to changing my diet and to exercising five days a week. I can’t tell you what a difference that made (and still makes) for me.

If you are looking for some reinforcement to begin or resume an exercise program, then I encourage you to read the book: Younger Next Year. It has given me a renewed focus and my energy level and attitude towards business, family and my future is off the charts again. I can’t recommend it enough.

Here are some key points as to why exercise is so important for you:

1. A man who is thirty pounds overweight, smoking a pack a day but exercising every day, has a lower statistical mortality than a thin, sedentary nonsmoker.

2. Nothing you are doing in the Next Third of your life (between 55 – 85) is as important as daily exercise.

3. Genetics are only 20% of what determines how you’ll age and what will happen to you. 80% is up to you!

4. We can prevent 70% of what we think of as the effects of aging and disease by simply exercising daily.

There is a lot more in this book and regardless of your age (physically we stop growing and getting stronger around 29 years old and the decay starts then) you will benefit from reading this book. (Heck, it’s only $7.43 on Amazon.com!).

And best of all, your sales will benefit as well!

With over 20 years of inside sales closing experience, Mike Brooks has been billed nationwide as Mr. Inside Sales. Once a bottom 80% producer, Mike learned and perfected the skills of Top 20% producers and became the number one sales rep out of 5 Southern California branch offices. Author of the hot new book,The Real Secrets of the Top 20: How To Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone, Mike’s proven techniques, strategies and skills are used successfully by companies in industries such as securities sales, high-tech sales, pharmaceuticals, equipment leasing and other business to business applications. Mike combines proven, current tactics and skills with personal experience to provide a motivational and practical presentation.