Topgrading continued – Virtual Bench
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH, 2009
As a sales manager and then a general manager for radio stations for 15 years one of the most valuable lessons I learned was to always be on the lookout for good sales people. No matter how good my sales staff was there was always turnover. Some of it due to bigger markets stealing my best people and others due to the normal attrition that goes with the sales area. It was always one of the most challenging aspects of that business and one reason why I fully understand the value of creating a virtual bench of talent for your business. Losing a top notch sales person could not just jeopardize a month, but several months and leave the business suffering for several quarters. The same is true for your business. Not having A players threatens current and future performance, however losing one can imperil your business dramatically.
How do you develop a virtual bench for your business? You do what I was compelled to do in the radio business. You become a relentless talent scout. Every opportunity possible I became aware of the people around me who might exhibit the proper skills, attitude and motivation for sales. At a restaurant a waiter or waitress might impress me. At a retail store, or purchasing any item, a sales person who made the right impression was a suspect for working for us. I would always provide them with my card and ask them to contact me if they were ever interested in making a career move and earning more money. With your business you need to constantly be looking for A players all the time.
Where do you look for A players? They’re usually the ones winning awards, getting promotions or being assigned difficult and challenging projects. You might find them in your local newspaper business section, at a chamber event, school or church organizational meeting.
Simply identifying them is not enough. You need to get to know them personally. That was the problem with simply giving them a card. One impression rarely gets results unless the person is unhappy in their current position that moment.
I can recall several people I hired through this kind of recruitment and in every case it was because I didn’t speak to them once, but several times.
Internal promotion, recruitment agencies, and your own HR department might be other ways to find A players, yet in most cases these are limited. One important step in expanding your ability to find A players is to make your current managers recruiters as well. Make it clear to them that one of their expectations is to be continually on the lookout for A players that they can add to their team.
Another idea is to ask the A players you know to introduce you to other A players they know. Birds of a feather flock together, so your current team of A players or someone you know that is an A player will invariably know many other A players. They’re a resource you can tap into to discover more talent that you can possibly add to your team in the future.
Need help implementing these ideas?
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