Why Sales Superstars Are Rarely Portable
“Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.”
That’s right, I have made that mistake a number of times early in my career and have watched so many others fail at hiring their competitors’ superstars. I now have enough wisdom to tell you that your competitors’ superstars are rarely portable!
But, before I get into why I know this for a fact, let me share with you my flawed logic early on which coincides with the logic I still hear today from some of our clients and prospects. It might resonate with your present day thinking.
I had the usual reasons for hiring my competitors' salespeople. I thought their previous experience in our business would save me time and money. After all, they knew the business — so I wouldn't have to train them on the intricacies of our “special” business. They would hit the ground running and I would be able to grow revenue faster. They would bring their people and their talent. They will love working in our culture with our systems, processes and recognition. Unfortunately, “theory” was nowhere near “practice.” Here are just some of the problems your competitors’ salespeople bring to your company.
- Bad habits. They bring conflicting habits and conflicting values to your company. I simply could not get them to change. They had their way of selling and were not open to coaching on our way of selling.
- Bad attitude. As soon as they hit a rough patch they would talk about how much better their old company was. Highlighting all the things they did better than us. Most of which was nothing more than an excuse to rationalize their lack of performance. If their old company was so good, then why did they leave? Chances are, they weren’t performing as well as advertised.
- Bad decisions. Next, in an effort to close the quota gap, they would violate their non-compete and non-solicitation. Even though I insisted on the fact they honor their restrictive covenants, as soon as the going got tough, they started calling on their old customers, prompting a strong letter and a threat of legal action from their previous employer.
- They were no longer superstars. Typically, superstars are part of a team whereby they take most of the credit. Chances are they were no longer superstars for a host of reasons and that is why they decided to leave. They either lost a big customer or several customers. They saw a big drop in commissions coming and decided to shop last year’s W-2.
So what did I learn? “Superstars” are rarely portable. I say rarely, because I have never had a positive experience personally, but I have heard of a handful of successes from other companies.
With unemployment dropping, the war for talent is becoming readily apparent. As an organization that specializes in both client and talent development, Butler Street understands exactly how closely related client and talent development are and also how important it is to dispose of the age-old myths around the hiring and retention of talent. We believe in order to build a great sales organization, you must be able to create institutional value. What is institutional value? Institutional value is the ability of your organization to provide your sales people with the tools, processes, systems and training so that there is no way they could possibly be stronger on their own (or with a competitor) than they can be with your company. That is how your company can make mere mortals become superstars!
At Butler Street, we help companies build a system of reinforcing activities to drive both client and talent development. It all starts with a strong hiring process followed by an investment in training, recognition, rewards and metrics to drive the desired behavior. After all, people deliver service. Well trained, engaged people deliver better service. People delivering better service have a tremendous effect on quality. A quality experience keeps customers coming back and creates positive growth. Click on CONTACT and let’s start the conversation.
With 194 percent year over year growth and a 90 Net Promoter Score, Butler Street has established itself as one of the leading consulting, training and research firms to the middle market. Before founding Butler Street, Mike Jacoutot spent the previous nine years as CEO of a national health care staffing company and most recently, a revenue cycle company. Jacoutot brings a strong combination of Lean Six Sigma process skills together with 34 years of sales and marketing experience.
Jacoutot is also the author of "Become the Only Choice." Now in its third printing, the book emphasizes a combination of consultative selling and process management techniques to enable salespeople to sell the way clients buy.
A four-time All-American collegiate wrestler, Jacoutot led The College of New Jersey wrestling team to two national championships. He culminated his senior year by winning the NCAA Division III Championship after three consecutive second place finishes. In March 2015, Jacoutot was inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame. In October 2013, he was also inducted into The College of New Jersey Athletic Hall of Fame along with his 1981 NCAA Division III Championship Team. He holds a B.A. in Management.