How to find sellers

Written by guest blogger Laurie Kahn, founder and Chief Multi-tasker, Media Staffing Network

We all read the study that the LMA released earlier this year on the difficulty of finding quality sellers. They are out there, they just need to be found, attracted and sold on your opportunity.

With the lowest unemployment in decades and more demand, across all industries for talented sellers, companies need to be more strategic with regards to talent acquisition as it is now extremely competitive. Gone are the days when you had people knocking on your door to join your team; gone are the days of hiring a new seller with a 90-day guarantee who then goes to 100% commission.

Today talent acquisition needs focus and commitment to be successful. First and foremost, companies need to start setting a budget to cover costs of salaries, better benefits, ads, marketing, resources and hiring tools. A review of your mission statement and the company culture will be important as it will help determine if you have what it takes to attract and retain the employees you desire. Compensation plans that offer a new hire time to grow and not starve while doing so need to be put in place. Last but by far not the least, your managers need to be trained in how to really recruit and they should have some accountability tied to that responsibility. Sales are crucial to all businesses and keeping a strong sales team in place is a huge part of your success. Unfortunately, recruiting is the first thing that gets left undone in a busy managers day to day life.

Once you have a plan, it is critical to start building a list of targeted sellers in your area to pursue. That’s right, pursue. You can’t wait for them to come to you because it is rare that the rock star seller you need will magically appear at your door. Build a pipeline and keep in touch with them, don’t take “no” too easily. Treat these people just as you would a target account that says “no” initially and needs to continue to be sold to close the deal. Be prepared to sell your prospects on why you are a great company and how you can help them grow their career. Share why your employees are happy, how well they have done, and the tools you invest in to help them grow. Let them know about the fun stuff you do, too!

Great sellers can be found in many places. In our practice we work with many media companies who are finally open to hiring outside of media. We have found great talent for our clients who would never have been considered in the past. We encourage them to think out of the box. Walk your malls and talk to employees of retail establishments, see who impresses you. Some of our best hires have come from retail – phone stores, cosmetic reps, mattress sellers, managers of sporting goods stores and more. Don’t forget that many of these retail based sellers actually do cold call and follow up with clients. Consider B2B sellers, they know how to sell, have local contacts and just need to learn your terminology. Office supply businesses, food brokers, beverage reps all have great skills and contacts. The hospitality industry includes much more than waiters and bartenders, who by the way can convert very nicely to media sales, so check out local hotels, resorts and catering companies who employ people to do new business. Teachers and coaches can also make great media sellers.

The sales people are out there. They just need to be found and treated differently than in the past.