The Top Five Sales Hiring Mistakes

Note from Bill: I have asked my friend Tom Bastian to stand in for me this week. He had read the Print Confession ghost blog from May 3 and wanted to add his 2¢ worth. Thanks, Tom. The floor is all yours…

I read the “How to Find Your Next Print Sales Job” Print Confessions blog with great interest. In it, a recruiter gives specific suggestions for landing a print job. Bill asked me to expand on those thoughts and come up with the Top Five Sales Hiring Mistakes.

5) Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Over the years, I’ve had many of the proverbial “pretty people” interview with me. Don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with attractive people. But hiring managers sometimes get caught up thinking “this person would be great representing our company.” Yes, I do believe in dressing for success, but make sure you don’t hire an empty suit.

4) Falling for the “book of business” scheme.

Too many printers are looking for the immediate shot in the arm for their businesses. In these times, this is very understandable. Be careful, though. Ask to see the candidates W-2s for the previous three years. See if there is a trend up or down in earnings and ask questions about what it means. Who are the sales rep’s customers? Are they still buying print? How much of the business is in one or two accounts. Will these accounts follow them?

3) Hiring only sales reps with a “book of business.”

Beyond falling for sales candidates who claim to have a book, many printing companies overlook “diamonds in the rough.” I understand it can be cost prohibitive, but printers should have a training program in place for those candidates with the sales DNA and just need help getting starting. These types with be your best reps in the long run. In most cases, they feel a loyalty to those who give them the opportunity, so make sure you help them succeed!

2) As a hiring manager, make sure you set clear short- and long-term objectives for new reps.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • NJprintGuy

    Good advice Tom. Unfortunately we are all going to make hiring mistakes and when we do, it’s best to cut and run sooner rather than later. Prolonging the inevitable only hurts your business.

  • Brian Rothschild

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. I am of many of the same philosophies as listed here.