Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What Makes a Successful Telesales Person and How Can Employers Be Sure Of Recruiting Telesales Staff Who Will Perform Well & Be Successful?

Telesales is, of course, nothing new but there has been a distinct change in the way that the telesales department contributes to the overall sales efforts of an organisation. 

In some cases, it is the only sales resource available whereas with others it plays an important, but relatively minor part such as appointment setting with the final sale being concluded by a salesperson who will provide a more personalised service, tailored to the client’s needs.

Recruiting Telesales People - Time To Look Beyond the Local Classifieds.

Employers wanting to recruit telesales staff are finding it takes much more than a classified ad in the local paper to locate the best people.

From finding a new client, to providing ongoing client support and making add-on or supplemental sales to existing clients, a good telesales operation can make a real difference to an organisation. I use the term “organisation” deliberately because we are not only talking about commercial companies here - how many of us have been contacted by charities and other not for profit organisations asking for donations or to sell services? It’s all telesales and, with so many alternative sales channels now open to employers, it requires a new breed of talented and results-driven telesales staff to make it work.

So how can you recruit telesales staff that can really handle the pressure and make a difference? Firstly, it is important to make sure that you have a clear idea of what the role entails and of what you expect from  suitable candidates.

When recruiting telesales staff here are some of the qualities that you should bear in mind:

Important, if not essential, is a tenacious attitude towards the daily business of making contact with dozens, if not hundreds, of potential customers. In its most basic, and nowadays often completely ineffective and non-productive, there is the cold-call, contacting people who are not expecting you to call and who will respond with everything from indifference through to downright rudeness.

Does the candidate you are considering strike you as the type of person who will cheerfully take the insults on board, respond professionally and respectfully, and move on to the next number on a list that will, somewhere, have the odd one or two gems buried amongst the dross, waiting to be discovered?

Salespeople often come across as being impatient, eager to move on and having little time for time-wasters. This attitude does have its merits in some circumstances but most successful sales operations rely on the process of incubating leads, developing them into customers and then managing that customer base so as to encourage repeat business. Not a job for the impatient operator who, after making many calls, may chance upon someone who may want to chat for a while but who will probably listen to a pitch if it is introduced into the longer conversation in a subtle and unobtrusive way.

Waiting for the right moment takes patience but so often pays off.

Try to assess the candidate’s ability to put themselves in the place of the prospect. We all know that “people buy people” and are far more likely to react positively to someone who, they feel, has an understanding of their needs and wishes.

When interviewing a candidate, try to assess how good they are at listening and test their understanding of what they have heard. If the candidate takes notes, this can also be indicative of someone who takes what is being said, seriously.
Other, somewhat obvious, characteristics of a successful telesales person include having a good, clear voice that can easily be understood. Try to conduct at least part of the interview process over the telephone to hear for yourself how understandable the candidate is on the telephone.

The Role of the Telesales Recruitment Agency in Recruiting Telesales Staff.
All in all, the standards required of a telesales operator in these days of inbound marketing where calls are likely to be of a better quality and more likely to convert than high-volume cold calls, are much higher than was previously the case. In some regulated industries the telesales person may have to take, and pass, exams or tests in order to be able to conduct certain types of sale - usually in the Finance Industry.

As the standards increase, so too does the need to involve professionals in your telesales recruitment campaigns. Speaking to a specialist telesales recruitment agency can take much of the leg work out of the task and provide you with a list of pre-screened candidates for your telesales positions.

Aaron Wallis specialise in finding first class, effective and versatile telesales operators at all levels, including trainees.

Our recruiters have sales experience themselves and know the pressures and challenges that face today’s telesales and other sales professionals. If you need to recruit telesales staff for 2015 then give us a call, you’ll be well on the way to building a first class telesales resource.

Monday, 29 December 2014

This New Year I Have Goals not Resolutions. How About You?

With the New Year very much on the horizon it’s common to hear people say, next year I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to travel. I’m going to change jobs. I’m going to save money. Look back on the year that is just about to finish. How many of the resolutions you made the previous year have you been able to accomplish?

Most resolutions end before they even begin and apparently 12th January is when the majority of New Year resolutions have failed.  Here’s the common reasons why New Year’s Resolutions Fail:

1) They’re not specific enough
2) They are made upon or what you feel you should be doing rather than something you truly want to achieve.
3) They’re a whim on the day rather than something truly thought out
4) They’re not written down or communicated to others
5) They’re not reviewed
6) They’re made upon not what you want but either what your friends and family want you to do, i.e. it is impossible to give up smoking unless you truly deep down want to give up smoking
7) They’re unrealistic or unachievable in the time-frame (perhaps they should really be a milestone towards a longer term 3-year, 5-year, 10-year goal)

Specific goal or goals
If you, as an individual, truly want to achieve a certain something you have to set it as a goal – a firm, dedicated goal that is specific and can be easily articulated to others in one simple sentence. You then have to make a firm commitment to achieve it. You have to want it so badly that your subconscious works towards achieving that goal. All successful people set goals so they have a clear picture about what they want. It motivates them to remain focused and to concentrate their resources, knowledge and their energies towards achieving that goal. A few goals rather than a diary full are easier to achieve as it helps you to focus on them better. Additionally, you don’t have to split up your resources and energies into many different directions.

This is a great story from Jim Carey when as jobbing actor, and by all accounts he was living in his car, he wrote a cheque to himself for $10M and gave himself five years to achieve it.  He kept it in his wallet and periodically looked at it he was determined that one day he could honour that cheque.  By regularly visualising he had the focus to network in the firm industry and made it his purpose to be known to every director and every studio to build up his name and credibility. Just under 5 years later he was offered the lead role in ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and cashed in that $10M cheque.  It’s a good story from someone that we can all relate to and if you want to cut out the Oprah guff either side then listen to it from 1:48 to 2:38

Have you created your plan?
If you want to achieve something in the coming year set a goal rather than a resolution. What’s the difference? The difference is that resolution is just an unformulated idea, a desire, a phrase and really nothing more than a wish. A goal on the other hand is a specific target that you can easily communicate, measure and review.  Goals are like affirmations because you probably have a plan A and a plan B in place that will enable you to reach the desired target and if you’re really keen then perhaps a plan C is also formulating in your mind! This means that you not only want to achieve that target but have plans in place that will help you achieve it.

If you’re having some problems thinking of goals here’s a goal setting workbook that is free to download that I wrote back in 2008.  It’s a bit esoteric and if I’m honest a bit long-winded but I hope that there may be some articles here to help formulate your goals for 2015.

Of milestones and deadlines
A goal has deadlines within which to achieve those milestones – the smaller steps on the path to achieving that big goal. Deadlines and milestones are incredibly important. They tell you how far you’ve reached and how well, or not, you are advancing towards what you set out to do. They allow you to pause and reflect on how much more you still have to go before the end of the year. They direct you to change strategy if required to go faster, slower or take a different route. If you are redecorating your house you will often say by Monday I’ll finish painting the walls or by the weekend I will complete the varnishing. You are setting small, achievable goals and working towards them so you finish them by the deadline.

Numbers Work
In order for a resolution to become a goal it must be communicable to those around you so that gives you the focus to achieve the goal. The easiest way to do this is to transfer your goal into numbers.  ‘I’m going to lose weight’ is not enough as it needs to be more specific and date stamped such as ‘by the 23rd March 2015 I will have lost 18 pounds, weight 13 stone and be able to get into 34” trousers.  On New Year’s Eve 2015 I will weigh myself and will be under 13 stone’.   

You may feel that your goal may not be able to transferred into numbers such as ‘I want to be perceived as more professional by my team’ but it can by simply asking (perhaps anonymously) how team members would score you out of ten for professionalism.  Then set a goal that by the 17th June you will ask the same question and aim to be at least two marks out of ten higher than you were in early January.  Here’s some other examples:

New Year’s Resolution
‘I’m going to run a marathon’
‘I will run five miles per week in January 2015, ten miles per week in February and on the 23rd February I will run ten miles in one session.  On the 24th February I will book myself onto a marathon in early June 2015 and follow a 12 week marathon training programme from 1st March 2015 to achieve this.
‘I want to save more money’
I will save at least £50 per month throughout 2015.  By end of March 2015 I will have £200+ in savings, by end of June £500+ and by New Year’s Eve of 2015 I will have £1,000 in savings.
‘I will spend more time with my kids’
One weekend in two will be solely dedicated time to my kids.  I will research 30 detailed days out which can be changed weather dependent.  I will book in a ‘night out’ every other month with each child.  All of this will be allocated into my electronic diary by 15th January

All made up without really thinking them through but hope that you get the idea?

Review It
Many set big goals at the start of the year and then frankly forget about it.  Instead when you set your goals make entries into your electronic diary to prompt you to review it.  That way you can make refinements and adjustments to ensure that the big goal is met. 

A 58 year old friend of mine (and okay he is a personal trainer) set himself a goal of running 100 miles in 24 hours last December.  We all laughed and said ‘no way’.  The most he’d run prior to this was 26 miles but he dedicated every Saturday to a long training run and I witnessed him on a couple of occasions during his training really, really struggling.  However, he didn’t give up, he stuck to his training plan and in August 2014 he ran 100 miles in 24 hours.  I personally set a goal of running 750 miles in 2014.  I was way ahead of plan until September but by mid-November life had gotten in the way and I realised that I still had 80 miles to go.  I didn’t want to fail (particularly as I’d told so many people about my goal any many regularly asked how I was getting along) so ‘upped my game’ and increased my mileage to ensure the target was met.  If I didn’t have that goal then frankly I wouldn’t have run from September onwards as I wasn’t training for anything and my training from January would be so much harder.  If anyone is interested, and to prove ‘I eat my own dogfood’ my running tally in 2014 is here:

Don’t Keep it To Yourself
You are 8 times more likely to achieve your goals if you tell others. You then feel that you are held to account by them and that gives you the focus to succeed.  And if you’re really resolute that you are going to achieve your goals in 2015 then make them public on Facebook, YouTube or your blog!

So to Conclude – 7 Steps to Achieving Your Goals in 2015
1.    Decide upon your goals for 2015 – visualise yourself achieving them
2.    Transfer your goals into numbers
3.    Write them down in a positive and enthusiastic way that is both inspiring to yourself and easily communicable to others. 
4.    Set milestones throughout the year in your electronic diary (and make a promise to yourself that you will review them).  If resources are needed to help you achieve the goals then get the plan in place to acquire them
5.    Communicate your goals to others – the more publicly the better
6.    Regularly review and make adjustments, if necessary, to stay on track
7.    Take a willpower pill!

Really good luck with your goal setting for 2015 and Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

NB - I haven’t fully decided just yet on my goals for 2015 but will publish them on this blog on 1st January 2015!  

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Has the LinkedIn Profile Made the CV Obsolete when recruiting sales staff?

Who would have imagined, just over one decade ago, that the social networking start-up website, founded by Stanford graduate Reid Hoffman, would today be the happy hunting ground of both those seeking employment and those seeking new employees?

Whether or not that was Hoffman’s intention right from the start isn't very clear, I personally think his vision was somewhat wider than that, but nonetheless that is what it has become. LinkedIn is a massive meeting place for those wishing to find a job, change their current job or to find people to fulfill a job vacancy.

For many employers, LinkedIn is now the first point of reference when recruiting sales staff.

I recently attended a business networking event in central London. It was attended by, predominantly, self-employed professionals who were looking to extend their network of contacts and, ideally, to pick up some business for themselves.

Some of them were also seeking employment and using the event as a showcase for their talents – nothing at all wrong with that. There were also, of course, some members of the recruitment profession who were seeking to recruit sales staff and to fill other posts.

Back home and onto LinkedIn to find out more

So after a few hours of elevator pitches and passing around the business cards I returned home and made a bee-line, as I always do, for my laptop – just to “check my emails”, of course.

In fact, before checking my emails I went straight to my LinkedIn account to check the profiles of those people I had been speaking with and who were of interest to me, only to find that many of them had already beaten me to it and checked my LinkedIn profile.

One or two of those who had checked me out were of particular interest to me so I decided to take an impartial look at what they would have seen. It was a bit of a shock to have to say that I really wasn’t that impressed with my public profile on LinkedIn.

See yourself as others see you

The reason for this is not that my profile was bad, but it certainly wasn’t fully up to date, and some of the things I had been freely telling people about at the networking event were not yet entered up onto my LinkedIn profile.
Anyone who has ever been involved in recruitment, and particular interviewing applicants for a job, will know this situation – it’s like the unexplained gap in the chronology of the applicant’s CV. The missing months, or sometimes years, where they simply disappeared off the radar.

Your LinkedIn profile – a valuable asset so keep it up-to-date.

Usually, there’s a reasonable explanation for this; a year spent travelling, a simple mistake in calculating dates or some such harmless reason. Unfortunately, however, when confronted with such a situation, many people fear the worst and draw the wrong conclusion.

In the same way that you should always keep your CV up-to-date with no unexplained gaps, so too should your LinkedIn profile be kept current, interesting and historically accurate.

To answer my own question, no – the LinkedIn profile has not yet made the CV obsolete – when you are recruiting sales staff or other employees you should always ask for the applicants CV and, equally, applicants should always be ready to supply one.

What is important, however, is that one does not contradict the other so it’s time to be doubly sure that your profile and your CV are in sync.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Has the transition in Sales & Marketing from an Outbound to An Inbound Model Affected the Way That You Recruit Sales Staff?

Online marketing processes have rendered some outbound marketing practices obsolete for many industries – does this indicate a shift in sales recruitment criteria?

As someone who once managed an outbound sales team where “cold calling” was the order of the day, I must say that the concept of “inbound” marketing superseding long-established outbound practices came as a bit of a shock – in fact, I didn't believe it.

That was a decade ago, however, and I certainly believe it now!

Just a couple of years ago I agreed to run an outbound team for a (very) large organisation who were keen to see how, (and whether), it would still work. They wanted to establish whether it made financial sense to simply cold call a list of potential customers.

10,000+ calls later the answer was blindingly obvious – it was a waste of time, the cost of acquisition was insane. The project was buried and has never surfaced again since.

Now let me say right away that there certainly are some markets where cold calling does make sense and works well. The stereotypical “double glazing” pitch is going to be delivered that way for years to come, I’m sure of that.

For most businesses, however, whilst you may still want to hang on to the familiar outbound methods, it’s time to take a look at how inbound sales and marketing are already changing the landscape for many industries. It may also be time to amend your sales recruitment criteria as well.

This is almost all due to the widespread acceptance of the need to have a company website and the need for that website to feature in the results given by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, when someone searches for a word or phrase that relates to your business.

When someone visits a website and fills in the “more information” contact form, what you have is, at the very least, a “warm” lead. When you consider that, in a cold calling environment, you might have to make up to 100 or more calls just to get one such warm lead, you can see how the sales process has matured and why the sales recruitment process may need to change.

No longer do we need people to constantly bash the phones, taking every knock-back as simply being a step towards the next success. Now, we need to recruit sales staff who can take the inbound leads and convert them into sales at a sufficiently high rate.

We need to recruit marketing people who can make those leads occur at a much higher rate. Sales staff who are comfortable with converting pre-qualified leads and using up-to-date real time CRM’s, incorporating other activities such as email follow-ons, downloadable case studies etc.

In short, we need sales staff who can work in the online space as comfortably as they can when confronted with a real person, in a board room presentation or other business meeting.

Online enquiries are fine but remember that when your website is shown to a potential customer, so are those of your competitor. The one that wins the business will be the one that responds quickly and professionally – and that’s what many people are concentrating on when they recruit sales staff today.

Here at Aaron Wallis we can help you to recruit sales staff that reflect and enhance your inbound sales processes, sales staff with the necessary skills to make inbound work – for your business.

Monday, 1 December 2014

What To Look For In A Sales Recruitment Agency

Use a specialist sales recruitment Agency
Hiring Sales Staff - Use A Specialist Sales Recruitment Agency

When you need to find new sales professionals to drive your business forward, it goes without saying that you want to recruit the best sales talent that is available. 

But how can you be sure that you are finding those talented sales professionals that can make a huge difference to your business?

Well, there’s one way that you can make the sales recruitment task much easier and which gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the people you are interviewing are carefully selected to meet your criteria and to demonstrate those qualities that make for a top performing sales professional.

Welcome to the world of the specialist sales recruitment agency, welcome to the world of Aaron Wallis.

As sales recruitment specialists, Aaron Wallis are able to focus on the task of identifying those candidates who really do have what it takes, the essential qualities that make for a professional approach to selling, with success almost guaranteed.

When Aaron Wallis recruit sales staff for you, we take time to find out exactly what kind of sales professional you are looking for. What level of experience is required, do you require specialist knowledge of particular industry domains or vertical markets, are you looking for a potential sales manager and, if so, within what kind of time frame?

The Search Begins

When your requirements are fully understood, our experienced sales recruiters will begin the search for suitable candidates, sifting through hundreds of CV’s and profiles, looking for those qualities that will make for a perfect candidate for your sales recruitment requirements.

We carefully screen all applicants and produce a Psychometric profile for all candidates – this ensures that they possess all of the qualities needed to succeed in your business.

Once a shortlist has been produced, we can assist with the interview process and will provide bespoke interview questions that really help you to drill down to the level of detail needed to identify those candidates that will really perform once appointed.

Finding the Right Sales Recruitment Agency - How Difficult Can It Be?

Finding the right sales recruitment company can be tricky, we know that some of our competitors may not offer such a comprehensive service as that offered by ourselves. Often, this is because they are recruiting for many different roles and don’t have the knowledge, or the time, to focus just on sales recruitment in the way that we do.

As with most things in business, however, specialisation usually pays dividends. You wouldn't dream of using a bricklayer to run your payroll, or an accountant to fix your roof – apply the same logic to the business critical task of recruiting sales staff – use a specialist sales recruitment agency.

Our approach certainly takes most, if not all, of the risk out of recruiting sales staff but, just to be absolutely sure, we offer our clients even more peace of mind, and we’re very proud of it – it’s all thanks to our unique 12 months rebate scheme which gives you 52 weeks protection on your investment in new sales staff.

Yes, a full year’s protection for you – that’s how confident we are that, when you need to recruit sales staff, you’ll find the right sales people, every time, with Aaron Wallis.