Wouldn’t it be a blast if, like horse breeders we could cross breed strong powerful sales leaders, and within a few months they would start duplicating and producing other great sales leaders and before you know it, our home-based or small enterprise will have become the next media sensation? Yet, at times I think that’s exactly what many home-based and small entrepreneurs think will happen when they go after sales folks in their competitors pastures.
Like rustlers from days gone by, more and more I am witnessing good-hearted entrepreneurs doing just that. They are falling into the trap of thinking its better to go after their competitor’s sales force then growing and maturing their own. It’s like some magic will happen and their company will explode. Now don’t get me wrong, when a large group moves into a company there will be a rise in sales, which can be seen as momentum, when in reality it just like a wild horse stampede, it’s a magnificent sight to see, but once the bulk of the herd have stampeded over the fence and scatter, then there is nothing to see but the meeting dust of the herd. And if the majority has followed a leader over the edge, hit quicksand, or have found a new pasture, then most will die off and leave the company financially devastated.
Here are five myths I have found that happens when we go after our competitor’s sales leaders.
- Recruiting from our competitor means the sales leader will not need any training.
If a sales team has made issues for the competitor, then you can bet your bottom dollar, you will run into the same issues. If they violated compliance by, showing checks, making income or product claims or enticing others with lifestyle claims at the old company, then they will do the same with you.
And truth be told, it’s hardly ever the thoroughbreds of the sales team from a competitor who is open to a new home, it’s those who just don’t have the stamina to go the distance, or product strong duplication.
- It’s better to recruit sales professionals than cultivate new sales reps.
Really! If that is true, then before long the talent pool will diminish and there will be no one left to recruit. In order to develop a professional sales leader, one must work through and master all the fundamentals of sales. Plus they must become a student of the company they are marketing for.
When we decide to go after a competitor’s sales team, in most cases, those who are willing to be lured from their current sales pasture, were just a few years before moving from someone else’s pasture. These are not pure breed sales professionals. They are cross-bread weak shrugs, which if they were horses would have been sold off for dog food, not breed for stronger offspring.
- They are going to bring a solid long-term book of business with them.
Before you buy this myth, give it some thought. It’s tough for anyone to move a client who loves the products of a company. The pain of change is not something any human enjoys and we fight it every step of the way.
Second, the sales leader doesn’t own the clients, their current company does. So if they are under a non-compete, then you might have just gotten into a range war, aka legal battle you can’t win!
Third, don’t think for a second, these new sales professional you just recruited from your competitor, has found their home, and will stay with you until the end of their sales career! Eventually someone else will buy into the myth, and your newest sales leader will leave you will face exactly what your competitor is facing from you!
- We’re a start up and we could sure use a real industry leader.
Really! Since when is there any company that launches that is an identical twin to another company? It’s not an industry leader you need, it’s an average and ordinary person, who wants to be somebody! They see your purpose and vision and are willing to work side by side with you to fulfill your mission and deliver the best products to the clients who truly want and need them!
The greatest leaders in any sales organization are not there just for the money. They are there because they connected and believe in the leaders who founded and or run the company. Culture is not recruited from a competitor; it is cultivated and nurtured from within!
A thoroughbred is only as good as the trainer and rider. If you take the time to really cultivate the relationship with your leaders at every level in your organization, train them to run, and then teach them to train other teams, and provide them with a purpose to cross the finish line, then you will not have to worry about your leaders being cross-recruited into better pastures.
- They understand, love and are passionate about the industry, and love and passion sells.
Yes passion sells, but it’s a myth to think that people who jump around inside the industry are passionate about it, or that folks who listen to them are not tired of hearing their same old vanilla propaganda. It’s not passion that these folks will bring. It’s the fact you bought them for a price, and they know some people with the same mindset as they have who will jump at a quick buck.
I look at it like old thoroughbreds that can’t run the race any longer. Their owners stud them out for their seed. The owner doesn’t care who buys the seed or if a new strong colt or filly is breed to win. All they care about is passionately telling the old stories of their stud, and why someone should pay the stud fee without any guarantees.
Don’t mistake passion for your company and products, for just plain old lust for a quick buck. When a person is seeing their volume go down because people are not selling and recruiting, they will look for greener pastures, because they know for a few months, they can pay their bills.
Listen I fully understand recruiting solid sales teams is a struggle these days. But let history be your guide, and look at what has happened to other companies who took this same road.
There is no get rich quick way to success. It will take working hard and smart. And if you are willing to invest in cultivating a culture that supports your corporate purpose, vision and mission, then together you will create an iconic company where the end users and sales reps of your company will become fanatical fans and your story will become legionary, and not just a fleeting memory.