After three decades of experience in selecting, coaching, and motivating salespeople, I’ve learned that a well-defined plan is crucial for building a successful sales team. One of the biggest mistakes we often make is assuming that talented individuals we hire already know how to effectively apply their skills and abilities.
Whether talented or not, every individual requires guidance in identifying their strengths and determining the necessary skills to excel in a new role. It’s important to remember that nobody starts a new job with the intention to fail. They aspire to succeed but may lack clarity on how to do so, looking to their employer for clear guidance. Unfortunately, we often fall short in providing that guidance.
To improve your results and enhance agency or company profits, here are eight steps you can take:
1. Define Job Expectations:
Many agencies and companies lack clarity regarding job expectations. Yet, when speaking with candidates, one of their primary concerns is how their performance will be evaluated. By clearly defining job expectations, companies from all industries, including the insurance industry, can achieve better and more significant results. Keep in mind that a concise job description is often more effective. Consider limiting it to one page and asking candidates to read, initial, and date it during the initial interview.
2. Identify Skills and Talents for Superior Performance:
Every job has unique requirements. While certain skills and talents may be transferable, when hiring, it’s important to focus on the specific needs of the job at hand. If a job necessitates particular skills, it’s preferable to hire someone who already possesses them rather than someone who can potentially learn them.
3. Utilize Trustworthy Evaluation Tools:
Don’t shy away from using assessments that measure potential and evaluate aspects that are not easily observable, such as job skills, behavior, motivators, and emotional intelligence. Numerous studies support the use of assessments in hiring processes. Ensure the assessment tool aligns with the talents and skills crucial for success in the specific job. Sticking to this approach will help maintain the integrity of your hiring methods.
4. Master the Art of Interviewing:
Most of us are not experts in interviewing. In fact, many interviewees are more knowledgeable about the process than the interviewers themselves. However, interviews play a crucial role in confirming the right hiring decision. Being prepared is the key to conducting great interviews. Determine what information you want to gather and devise questions that will elicit those responses. Prepare your questions in advance, and be attentive when the candidate answers them (don’t hesitate to have your questions written down).
5. Provide a Clear and Time-Limited Offer Letter:
Applicants dislike surprises, especially when it comes to compensation. They want transparency regarding their pay for the work they will be performing. To address this, provide a clear offer letter that outlines the compensation, start date, and an expiration date for the offer. A professional and solid offer letter will enhance your organization’s reputation and build trust.
6. Establish a Success Track:
Many talented individuals fail because they lack clarity on what they need to do and how to do it. Avoid the assumption that new hires instinctively know how to apply their skills effectively. Set clear milestones for every candidate to follow throughout their first year of employment. It’s crucial to document these milestones in writing, as they serve as a reference point during coaching sessions.
7. Assign a Coach:
When you hire a new team member, you are making a significant investment in your organization. Providing support and guidance to ensure their success is essential. Most top performers didn’t start out that way and benefited from coaching along the way. Assigning a coach to help new hires apply their talents and skills effectively is a valuable strategy.
8. Regularly Review Progress:
Exceptional individuals appreciate recognition
and knowing that their efforts are noticed and valued. You can fulfill this need by periodically reviewing their job description with them, ideally on a quarterly basis. Ask them how they perceive their progress and what support you can provide to help them achieve their goals and yours.
By following these eight steps, you can build a successful sales team, achieve improved results, and increase profitability. Remember to invest in your team members’ development and provide the necessary guidance and support for them to excel in their roles.