Behind the Guaranteed Replacement Investment Plan

Putting together various research both on/offline, the recruitment industry, CV Library and from clients it is clear that concern about high staff turnover is a major issue. This has greatly changed and starting new job is seen as much as a trail period to them as it does to the company. The results are around 40% of new job starters leave before the first month is completed. This rises to 59% in the first 6 months.

This creates serious problems for companies searching for new talent. It also means a traditional recruitment fee with a rebate can prove very expensive. (Although highly lucrative for recruitment agencies as they get the candidates back and a new vacancy to work on.) There are variances for age, level, industry, job function, company size etc. but the pattern in as much the same. Companies are baffled as they cannot understand why in recessionary economic times people do not value secure jobs more.

No longer considered by most candidates as that is it, they increasingly see starting a new job as like a third interview to see what they think. It changes in job sectors but if you are achieving half of new recruits last the first quarter you are well above average!

Some factors affecting this high dropout rate are beyond your control, most though are within it. In short your recruitment processes and staff induction needs to be tightened up. Here are a few pointers.

Reasons for early drop outs are usually one or more of the following:

  1. Unhappy working environment.
  2. Unimpressed with management.
  3. Not what expected.
  4. Lack of confidence
  5. Lack of clear career goals.
  6. Bad career match of what is on offer to what is wanted.

All of the above you can influence, even if that means spotting someone on interview that is not a perfect match for you or them.

This is the point that we said we should either work with companies that have this as good as it can be, or those that are quite good and we can help them improve their retention rates. In later blogs I will cover exactly what you can do in more detail. On this basis we came up with the Guaranteed Replacement Investment Service which means we take the responsibility for a placement being successful. This service always includes any consultancy or advice in pricing proposals.

Part of our thinking is that accountants set annual budgets for recruitment and pass these to Managers. So we came up with deal that effectively works and gives guarantees within that annual budget. As we recruit at all levels and specialisms and also do all of the recruitment we can release a substantial stress, burden from Managers leaving them to focus on what they are good at. So there is no risk of asking for more budget due to low or even moderate staff retention.

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Are You Ready to Increase Sales?

I am often asked my advice on recruiting sales people and when I ask a few questions it is clear the company is not ready to recruit sales people or even take on marketing activity. Before you even think of advertising or recruiting you should have some basic questions answered about your products and or services, otherwise you are just going to waste resources. Below I have included a checklist, if you have answers to all of these you are ready. If not then you have some valuable pointers on what you have to do to get ready and make your offer as appealing as it could be.

  • What is special about the company?
  • What can you do or offer than no one else can?
  • Why should someone use you and not a competitor?
  • Have you market tested your price and offer?
  • What incentive can you offer than would encourage someone to make a quick purchase decision?
  • Have you a clear market niche where you have advantages?
  • What are the values behind your brand?
  • What is the easiest market segment for you to go for and why?
  • Do you cater for any special needs or market segments?
  • Have you worked for someone well known and respected who would provide you with a testimonial?
  • Have you done a special charitable event for or do you donate part of your income to a charity?
  • Have you got any ‘green credentials’ that can enhance your quality image?
  • Are there any up-sells or cross sells with a special offer?
  • Are there any joint ventures with other suppliers offering a special package to customers?
  • Are there any innovations or alternatives methods of pricing?
  • Are there any introductory offers?
  • What guarantees do or can you give?
  • Who is your main competitor what do we do that is better than them and can you prove it?
  • Do you have a motto or strap line?
  • Is there a system to encourage referrals in place?
  • Are there any freebies available?
  • Can the service be sold as a gift rather than for direct use?

For our partnership clients we now start off with an audit service of their preparedness. We do not even get that far without all the above questions answered. Above might be enough to advertise but to recruit requires many things in place and working. My next blog I will be looking at what infrastructure you need in place before growing a large and productive sales team.

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Boosting Productivity in Remote Teams

When you are building a sales agent team over the country or countries, it is important to set up a strong training and personal development programme. The objective is to keep people informed, motivated, educated and above all, highly productive. Below I consider the various elements that can be added together in a programme. Once you get it started get regular feedback as to what works and what people want more of.

1. Online: Weekly Newsletter e-zine
Content to include; News, fire ups, ‘in the press’ what is happening in the team, charts of individual and area performance. Sales people like to be competitive and measure themselves against their peers. They all know if someone else can achieve it so can they! As you grow you can also have a newsletter controlled by the Area Manager, special to events and people in that team. This is very efficient as it takes much the same effort to produce for a team of 10, 100 or even a 1000.

2. Live: Weekly Meet Ups
Breakfast meeting on a Monday in say a Costa somewhere. A meeting to exchange ideas and socialise. Totally informal and you will find tips and stories will be exchanged of what worked and what didn’t. It also can be an exchange of information on how many deals people are doing which can be very motivational especially for new people. People are social animals so they will enjoy and look forward to this meeting and not want to turn up next Monday without some positive story to tell and be proud of. Sales Managers should use it as a fire up for the week.

3. Live: Monthly Meet Ups
Here the Sales Manager should, according to group choice, book a restaurant and social meal but it can be an away day, trip or going to the races. Objective is motivational, fun and team building. You can also set a minim qualification to be invited. Remember sales people are more motivated by status than commission whatever they tell you.

4. Live: Local Training Event
On a fortnightly basis, meet in the house of one of the team. This makes it very friendly and keeps costs down. Rotate this around. This is designed as a team training session. The Manager will lead but that does not mean s/he runs the training necessarily. He or she though should be getting feedback of what is and what is not happening and also identify on an ongoing basis any training needs. This might be product or new legislation related, sales or any other item. For our customers we will support the Team Leaders directly, often initially, but then by providing materials and training support materials depending on the need they feedback to us.

5. Live: National Training Event
Each year I suggest a conference. We can organise these on the Spanish coast and they can have the same motives as you would find with an internal employed team. However, as the sales agents are remote these events are far more important. What it costs you will get back several times. The ‘buzz building’ exchange of ideas, meeting with the stars, formal training and fun and partying together is what sales people work hard for. They want a very high living, they are earning high figures and want to indulge.

6. Telephone/Skype: Daily Voice Mails
Sales agents perform better if they even spend as little as five minutes at the start of each day on motivation. This can be listening to a motivational CD or video on YouTube. For my favourites, visit our YouTube channel. And/or you can report a motivational fire up message and send to down the telephone line to multiple recipients coupling this with any current incentives or good news. Sales people need to be kept constantly positive. Nobody buys anything off people unless they are enthusiastic, passionate, positive etc, part of what we buy is the experience of dealing with the sales people, it has to be part of the package and experience. I keep a library full of physical books, CDs, DVDs at our man office which I lend out in addition to online resources. Usually more likely to be read or listened to if you focus on a specific product each week.

7. Teleclasses/Webinars:
Prime objective education they can be form programmes or ad hoc on specific topics. Advantage is that they leverage well and can be recorded for review and use later.

8. Personal Coaching:
Bring in a professional coach who can work on individual goals and their attainment. Often a good coach will be worth their weight in gold and pay their fees in extra productivity.

There are the pieces of the puzzle, it is up to you to design a support system bespoke to your needs, value, goals and dreams making sure they produce to the maximum. Good Luck!