By Pete Kadens (Acquirent, Evanston, Ill.)
In sales, many focus on the 'dollars and sense' and 'total comp.' There is no question that the compensatory benefits of being in sales are a good reason to be in sales to begin with. With that said there is more to life--and more to sales--than the paycheck you take home every month. In many cases we use the paycheck as the measuring stick for one's success in sales, and I admit that I am guilty of this thought process of assessing someone's sales ability from time to time as well. But there other intangibles we must evaluate as well when looking at the people who may not be the top earners.
Commitment: It’s really difficult to find salespeople today who don’t jump ship for a bigger buck across the street. Value those people who are willing to commit to you despite knowing they can make more elsewhere.
Passion: You see it in their eyes and your hear it in their voices. These people will do anything to succeed and they are willing to work hard to get there.
Adaptability: Especially in an entrepreneurial sales environment you have to have folks who are willing to adapt to changing circumstances or alternative scenarios. Most salespeople avoid change like the plague, but the ones who respond well to it and pick themselves up by their bootstraps after a big change are definitely keepers.
Vision: If they can see the big picture and they are willing to make a few sacrifices for you to get to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, cut them some slack.
If you have salespeople who embody these aforementioned traits but they aren’t your top earners, give them a little more runway then you normally would, because in my experience if given the opportunity they probably will be the top earners somewhere down the road. We want to build a business that is not only highly profitable, but also a business that we can all tell our grandchildren about. To do that we must build a legacy here at Acquirent and we believe that having these four traits in our people will help us get there.
Pete Kadens is a widely respected sales professional and leader and author on sales, specifically on "Unique Sales Strategies" and entrepreneurship. In 2007, Pete was nominated as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year candidate in the Great Lakes Region. He also founded and serves as the Co-Chairman of Chicago Area Business Leaders (CABL).