Good help is hard to find, and today high performers are even harder to come by. Throughout my years in marketing and inside sales leadership, I searched relentlessly to find the best of the best inside sales talent.
A few years back we had a second-shift opening for an inside sales representative. A member of the team referred a friend who was then working as a restaurant server. When I called the candidate her spunk and enthusiasm was off the charts! I swear I could hear her smile over the phone .
Her attitude was amazing, and she was willing to do whatever it took to make herself a success. She had no experience in home improvement, and she had no experience as an inside sales representative. She was a perfect fit. In time she became one of the most memorable high-performers I’m grateful to have coached. Here’s what set her apart.
Off the Charts Talent
The first touch to a candidate in my interview process is a phone call. You can get a lot from a call, even within the first few seconds. I listen for inflection. I listen to hear if they sound excited to speak. If you can’t reach them, I make sure they’ve setup their voicemail.
When she took the call she had cheer that was off the maps. VOIP service providers like Five9 and Ring Central have call recording features that provide audio charts (accessed through their interfaces) so an inside sales manager can see an agent’s entire recorded call in waveform. Her charm was obvious in our first call, and that translated to her client interactions. She spoke such that our callers were delighted and even entertained, pouring their hearts out to her about their bathroom woes.
There’s a term within Tundraland each new employee learns quickly: it’s called F.U.D., and it’s a term to help the entire team understand the fear, uncertainty, and doubt many prospects may endure while they decide to move forward on a home improvement. Like the fear that the contractor will promise professionalism and leave them with a mess, or the uncertainty and doubt that lingers from a bad experience with another remodeler.
I’ve trained marketers and inside sales reps to extend a guiding hand to our prospects to help calm this fear, uncertainty, and doubt, moving homeowners one step closer to their dream home. And with each phone call our all-star sales rep made, she learned to focus on, and overcome, this FUD without an ounce of confrontation or pressure. Soon our “FUD-fighting ninja” grew to understand the fundamentals so well she earned a spot on the confirmations team.
The Cream Always Rises to the Top
When we spoke last she said, “Angie, you’d be so proud of me.” She explained all the great things she’s learned and had taken on in her management role. At the beginning of her career, I knew she’d be a good agent, but I couldn’t have imagined she’d end up in management. Today, I’m not surprised. I’m incredibly proud of her—she put in the work.
Through my relentless pursuit to find the best inside sales talent, I learned to look for three simple things: A good phone voice, a great attitude, and willingness to learn. I’ve used DISC profiles and pointed interview questions to evaluate prospective agents. I ask layered questions to get a sense of their general perspective on things: Does the candidate seem pessimistic, or doubtful, or closed off to suggestions? Those are all red flags.
The biggest takeaway, though, from this pursuit was discovering that true inside sales rockstars can’t be simply found. They must be developed, over time.