3 Traps to Avoid When Hiring a Salesperson


Don't let your new sales rep call on just any prospect. Be strategic with your game plan.


By: John Warrillow

Imagine the scene: You've been doing most of the selling for your company. One day, you decide to recruit your first salesperson. After weeks of interviewing, you pull the trigger and hire the salesperson you hope will finally get you out of being your company's chief revenue officer.

The first day on the job, your new sales rep turns to you and says, "So, who do you want me to call on?"

Your natural reaction is to say, "Anyone who will buy. The world is your oyster." At this point, you will do practically anything to ensure your sales rep's success. But before you hand the entire world over to him or her, remember that your sales territory is an asset of the company. You, not your reps, need to decide who gets to call on which prospects for three reasons:

1. Sales Territories Are Easy to Give, Hard to Take Back

Once a salesperson feels entitled to something, it is very hard to take it away. Divide your market up into sales territories (by geography, industry, size of customer, etc.). If you'd like to be a $5-million business one day, and you think it is reasonable for a rep to generate $500,000 in orders, create 10 territories (10 x $500,000 = $5,000,000). Make it clear you are giving your new sales rep one of your 10 territories and that the company will continue to recruit for the other positions.

If you want to reward the salesperson later on by opening up more territory, that's fine, but know that once you give it, you'll risk losing the salesperson if you ever try to take it away.

2. The Cream Off the Top

Almost every company enjoys some inbound leads. They come naturally through word of mouth or the advertising that you do. If all you have is one sales rep, and that person gets all of the inbound leads, he or she could spend an entire day just taking the cream off the top.

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