How to Recruit and Retain Your Best Salespeople

Recruiting, selecting and hiring good salespeople is an expensive activity for most companies. It is hard to pin down exactly how expensive, but it isn’t a stretch to assume that the direct expenses, executive time invested in the process, and the costs of getting a new person to the point they are actually earning the company money, could well exceed $200,000.  So, you want to make every effort to build and retain your best salespeople.

Hire the right people in the first place. There are three key areas to guide your hiring decision.

Past History

While we believe in the potential to change, past behaviour is a reasonable predictor of the future. What have they achieved in school or in previous jobs?  Did they advance faster than their peers? Is there a progression in the kinds of jobs they’ve tackled? Do they have drive and ambition? Check references.


Did they arrive on time for the interview? Shoes shined? Did they engage well, ask good questions, make you feel comfortable? What’s your ‘gut’ feel?

Job fit

Do they have the right personality, learning aptitude and motivation to succeed? We use Prevue Assessments™ to guide that discussion.

Provide an excellent on-boarding experience. Ensure a welcoming environment for them to do their job including business cards, phone number, and laptop.

Top performers want to get even better through professional development.

Product knowledge

Teach them what you do, why you do it, how you do it and the benefits to the customer.

Selling skills

Whether or not they have sold before, salespeople get rusty. They need to be reminded to practice asking pertinent questions, listen, read between the lines, interpret the information they get to guide their proposal, and communicate in a concise, effective manner.


Attitude is most important of all the attributes a salesperson has. With a positive, enthusiastic, optimistic attitude, they will do what they need to do to acquire other necessary skills and traits. And yes, a better attitude can be taught to the willing.


What are the daily habits that make top salespeople successful? Planning, contacting prospects and clients, making appointments, networking, asking for referrals… Ensure they know which activities to turn into habits in order to succeed in your business.

Tracking matters.

  • Track the success habits. Do they do them each day?
  • Provide regular feedback, both correcting and encouraging the activities they perform daily.

Once they are successful, don’t forget about them! They may not tell you, but they still need encouragement, recognition, support, guidance and special rewards to reinforce that you appreciate the great job they are doing.

Great salespeople are worth their weight in gold. Do your top producers know you value them?


November 2, 2015

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