They focus on profitable sales people and obey the 12 Golden Rules

How do the fastest growing companies recruit their sales people?

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This is a real case study.  It has important lessons to avoid what MOST companies are doing wrong.

We first came into contact in 2010.  The company was profitable but only just.  There were 25 staff, 12 of them in sales (telesales).  The founders employed a Sales Manager to manage the 12 sales staff.

They paid £18,000+ Commission to new staff which went up on a scale to £32,000 basic. The highest earner took home £78,000

The facts.

  1. They were recruiting on average 4 people per month to replace leavers.
  2. Of every new person only 1 in 4 made it to quarter 2.
  3. 1 and 2 above meant they were just maintaining sales team size.

The losses on those that dropped out for recruitment fees, basic salaries, training, office space, came to over £12,000 per person.  Therefore, there was a £36,000 hidden cost in securing each successful sales person.  The constant dropouts negatively impacted the core sales team.

The company had a professional sales trainer and motivator brought in to complement the Sales Manager.

Like most Sales Managers when he was away the sales calls and productivity went down.

The company had good but not great products. Similar were offered by competitors.

We told them they were not ready to recruit and told them why.  This surprised them, they expected a sales pitch!  We did not want them to pour water into a leaky bucket.

Our Response:

BIG MISTAKE 1: They did not identify the right sort of people and were recruiting the wrong people.

BIG MISTAKE 2: They recruited primarily for sales skills and motivation.

BIG MISTAKE 3: They relied on sales training and motivation techniques to develop staff.

BIG MISTAKE 4: They paid put money to new people without results.

BIG MISTAKE 5: Their current sales people lacked tangible support in selling.

There were several smaller issues.

We pointed out some of the 12 GOLDEN RULES of how the top 10% of fast growing companies recruit the top 10% of sales people.

GODLEN RULE 1: Recruit to match your company culture, style and values first.

GOLDEN RULE 2: Set up automated processes to train new people.

GOLDEN RULE 3: Put in place a Low Start Remuneration package for the first three months.

GOLDEN RULE 4: Make selling your product easy and structured.

GOLDEN RULE 5: Mass process interviewing and selection processes and never rely on CVs and interviews for decisions. Don’t take individual calls or visits.  To time expensive.

1. More developed online brand presence.
The company needed to do more online to promote its products.  After first contact prospects typically Googled the company and products.  They needed to control this by having blogs, videos, podcasts, testimonials of other buyers, links to press articles, interviews, etc.

  1. Design a sales and support system process.
    They needed to identify and record all the sales pitches, responses to objections, closes and write them down for what had worked. From this a Sales Manual was produced both online and a printed out copy on each desk and desktop.

To help with this we recorded and analysed calls.  In the process we included an automated newsletter series.  (The product was of the nature where often the timing was not right.)  This meant that nobody had to record their details on a CRM the prospect now did it (By the promise of a free valuable gift and e-book in this case).  That automated prospect follow up. It also captured leads of sales people that left.

This meant the sales team could stop cold calling and move more to warm calling and even hot incoming calls.  This increased the revenue per sales person by 56%

3.Recruitment Profiles
We identified the core values/beliefs/style of the company and team.   When people identify with each other they act as a team and there is cohesion/loyalty/synergy and higher results created.  We all want the top 10% of staff whatever the job. Only 10 in a hundred companies achieve it.

When you know your culture fit type you can recruit for it.  It is by far the best way to recruit. Why. Because you and only you know your values. So, on their tests that we designed candidates could not answer with bull***  (i.e. what they thought was the right answer).

We added to this to establish what someone’s real goals, motivation and ambitions are.  I say REAL as it is rarely what they say they are.  CVs and 121 interviews have proven to be very limited in assessing this.

4.Remuneration Package.
We changed it to:

The first three months was a boot camp induction period.
The package has five elements.

  1. Fixed Basic (Set at Minimum wage).
  2. Variable Basic (Set by number of calls/appointments/visits made in month).
  3. Commission.
  4. Performance Bonuses, Prizes, Trips, Incentives.
  5. Training (Mostly automated).

After 3 months the Fixed and Variable basic will be replaced by £18,000 £20,000 £22,000 and reviewed again in three months.

This had several benefits.

  1. Number of dropouts reduced. People who intend to be average, just do enough not to be fired will be seriously put off by this package.  That is good.  Conversely the hard determined and ambitious were very motivated by it.  After all they can control their own basic as it is so near ahead of them, very reachable.
  2. Costs of dropout were greatly reduced. As they usually went before the end of the month the Fixed Basic was the only payment.
  3. Cost and rate of dropouts became much lower. More stability in team for further recruitment and growth.

Sales people are mostly motived by status and recognition. Basic and commission are always second. None of them will say this but their behaviour proves it is true.

So, on starting they are

  1. Trainee Sales
  2. After hitting performance targets (3 months) Sales Executive
  3. After 6 Months and some performance levels hit Senior Sales Person.

They made training limited in the first month and in groups and added status to it. For example, Trainee training is in the office.  Sales people do it on an afternoon in a local hotel.  Senior Sales People go to Marbella each quarter for a weekend. Morning for training and then relaxing.  The photos of the latter are now around the office.  This is all about status.

They also automated a lot of their routine training by opening a coded entry portal for sales staff with a library full of videos, audios, podcasts, blogs and a half hour a day for the first month induction programme to be watched by each new person.  There was even an online test included. So now little senior time lost. The recorded their knowledge once and put it on the website.

7.Recruitment Live
Now they were ready.  We recruited for them in groups.  We Invited twenty people at the same time, same day. Ten showed up on average.  Let them compete to see how they are with strangers and selling.  We rejected until they had the four best.

This method saved them a lot of time and money. We now repeat this process for them regularly.

If you would sooner learn fast from other companies mistakes rather than the long and expensive route of experience, consider this. Sign up for our free eBook download we will give you the 12 Golden rules which we took over 10 years establishing.  We will also send you a weekly tips newsletter to keep you focused.  For further free tips go to “How to Recruit and Retain the Top 10% of sales people” website all free content.  Progress and prosper. If you are considering setting up a low-cost office abroad, you may like to visit “How and why you should be Setting Up a Low-Cost office in Spain”.

Author: Alex McMillan 07525916574



We will assume you have defined your corporate culture and put support infrastructure in place as in the EBook the 12 Golden Rule.

Where to get candidates from?
a).Our own databases from previous contacts.  Including our own personal networks and followers.
b).Job board and other media advertising. Buy in adverts in bulk from a media buyer such as recommended int eh EBook.  As a bulk buyer you will pay a fraction of retail prices. Ask for advice on optimum days/times to publish.  Place multiple headings to match the variety of search criterion candidates use.
c). CV database email marketing
d). Linkedin, using specialist tools.

How long does it take to recruit?
Allow 3 weeks to gather a group together before your Recruitment Day. Then make offers and conclude acceptances on the day. Always start them as soon as possible.  Set up an automated response emails.

Include selling exercises using my products?
Yes, always.  in designing group and individual role plays use your own products and sales scripts.  You need to see them live as if working for you.  As well as increase your ability to judge it will also increse their reality of what the job entails.

Use a 4 Star hotel venue for the Recruitment Day.
It makes it easier to manage, give as a better impression and stops any disturbances in your office.  Best days are Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, in that order.

Should we run a Recruitment Day for just 1 person?

Your Recruitment Day – A better way to recruit

The process is simple, although there are many highly efficient processes to make it cost effective and efficient in delivering results.

Say you want to recruit between 2 to 12 sales people to add to your team to fuel expansion. Sales and profit growth.

First answer all your pre-recruitment questions and make all necessary internal changes as suggested.  You now need to mass market through an automated system to trawl in a large group of applicants.  Filter by adding pre-qualifying questions on your adverts then invite to a hotel for your Recruitment Day.    Important point you must write a full job description which can be on a hidden link on your website. This is a filtering and selling tool that is essential in the process.  This job description must give them recommended reading and pre-interview preparation tasks. Ask them to confirm attendance.  On average even having confirmed only half will show up, the better half. To get a group of 15 we target 30+ confirmations.  All  of this is automated and can be re-run multiple times.  All interviewees are processed on the one day.  No drip feed over weeks of people coming in to see you once, then back again. No wasted time on ‘no shows’.

Information you need to establish before you start.

  1. How many sales staff do you want?
  2. When do you want them?
  3. What salary/commission/bonus/benefits do you offer?
  4. What training do you provide?
  5. What is special about your company’s products/services?
  6. What are your corporate values?
  7. What are your long-term growth plans?
  8. What does, or could your top earner take home per month?
  9. What is the demographic spread of your current sales team; age, background, education level etc?
  10. How many sales people do you currently employ?
  11. What career progression is possible?

A Draft Plan for your Recruitment Day

10:30 am Registration
Applicants arrive to register.  They must sign your disclaimer to behave respectfully, confidentially and honestly.  Whilst waiting to start observe how they they behave.  Who can mingle with others naturally?  Who are the leaders?

11:00 am. Presentation by your company representative
Talk for 30 minutes to the group about the role, the company, the job.  Focus on the sales job pressures.  Paint a realistic picture and talk about the work, talking of constant rejection, commitment until success is achieved.  You want to put off the weak and those who are thinking of trying their best. This saves you considerable time repeating the same message to everyone that arrives at your office for interview.

Then break for just 5 minutes and invite anyone to drop out.

11:45 am Personal Presentations
Invite each person to make a 1 minute presentation.  You will see their confidence, (although interview nerves can be a positive thing), clarity of communication, persuasiveness, personality and how well they have listened to the previous talk and can use it in theirs.  Have your panel mark each person out of ten.

12:45 am Team Leadership
Depending on your product design an exercise where they must in a team present as a group and sell to the audience.  You will immediately see the strong leaders when you ask them to form into 3 groups of their own choice.

Following the now two presentations, add up the scores and reject those that don’t meet the grade.  Announce the rejections  in the nicest way as possible.

Those that remain are feeling naturally good whilst aware that the competition is increasing.

Take just a half an hour lunch break.

2:30 pm Sales Training followed by Presentations
Give a basic sales training related to your product.  Following this put all applicants in a circle.  Invite them one by one to enter the circle and pitch a product you give them to everyone around them. No sales, they are out.  They must do the whole sales process. Get attention, rapport, identity someone with a need, open, objection handle, close. Look for creativity, energy, passion and determination to succeed.

Following this exercise again reduce the group size.

You now have an elite group of people, winners, who have proved that they can sell against competition.

4:00 pm Individual Interviews.
Consider all that has happened as the first interview.  You now have a select motivated group who want to pass to the last stage and win the offer.  interview them one by one. Before this speak to the remaining elite to cover all the questions that they would all ask to save time.  Keep the interviews short.

5:00 pm Offers and Acceptances.
Make final offer and starting decisions.  Verify their identity, give them instructions on where and when to start work.  Take up references etc.

You have your new team.

If you want us to run your Recruitment Days

Prices and details below.

Interview Process Days – Securing productive sales people.


Trainee/Juniors Comms Only Seniors/Managers
Invoice on start date 15% of basic £3,000 per person/contract 15% of basic
Deposit required No No No
Replacement Guarantee Period 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months
Average at event 20-30 6- 12 6
Processing Time Full Day Full Day Full Day
Role Play Assessments

(Tailored to client)

Personal Presentation

Group Presentation

Sales Presentation


Personal Presentation

Sales Presentation

Closing role play


Personal Presentation

Leadership Role Play

Sales Presentation


Basic Sales Training Yes Yes No
Free Repeat event if minimum not appointed Yes Yes Yes
12 Month Replacement Guarantee No No Yes

All inclusive:

Event Venue  4 Star Hotel 4 Star Hotel 4 Star Hotel
Job Description Yes Yes Yes
Identity Verified Yes Yes Yes
Signed Disclaimer Yes Yes Yes
CV+ References Provided Yes Yes Yes
Company Presentation Yes Yes Yes
Full Interviewing Process Yes Yes Yes
Eliminations by SM Yes Yes Yes
Invoice on start date. 15% £3000 per person 15%

Call me Now Alex McMillan 07525-916574