As long as there are employers with employees, there will be HR services, and thus there will be salespeople to sell them. These are the individuals, despite the economy, who grease the machinery of capitalism to the country’s employers. They ensure that whatever flavor of HR service needs to get moved, whether it be Employee Benefits, HR Technology, or the idea of HR Outsourcing, that it gets moved. Their livelihood to do so depends on it. Motivation and grit propels them. Call them the facilitators of our modern employer economic system, if you wish.
[sws_pullquote_left]People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons. — Zig Ziglar [/sws_pullquote_left] But not all salespeople are created equal. Marvin Phillips once said, “The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph.” The most successful salespeople bring a lot of umph. The best sales reps bring passion, intensity, an overall likability, and ultimately, a bountiful financial harvest back to the firms they represent. However, these superstars of sales, who peddle on behalf of the world’s elite companies, are incredibly, incredibly rare. These key facilitators often cannot be recruited or found through conventional means – internal recruiters, job boards, career fairs, aka – traditional recruitment services. If you are one of the gifted few, you can most likely attest to the truth in this statement as you recall how you were approached or wooed into your past roles.
Therein lies the difficulty for Sales Leaders in both the smallest and largest HR Outsourcing Firms seeking to recruit and retain these highly valuable individuals: How does a business go about finding them? And where would they look to begin with?
Industry Case Study: HR Outsourcing Sales
In the realm of Human Resources Outsourcing Sales, these highly-sought employees are colloquially known as purple squirrels – you will never find one. In reality, metaphorical purple squirrels are certainly out there, after all, these individuals must work somewhere, most likely for a competitor. However, somehow, someway these attractive sales ninjas were discovered and then successfully wooed by somebody, typically an industry insider, who has unique direct access to many of these prized sales employees.
Find the insider, find the purple squirrel.
The Inside Track
In a field as vast yet still as the niche within HR Outsourcing space, the run-of-the-mill internal or external recruiters, or even highly paid headhunters are no longer cutting it. They make call after call, send countless emails, and constantly ask for referrals, yet the purple squirrel best rarely responds to advances by these average recruiters – they are busy selling, crushing their quotas and reaping the financial rewards. But the industry insider, typically an individual well-established in the HR community, can tap into a vast formal and informal network of these key players in a way that others simply cannot access. Many of these are inevitably your perfect job candidate.
The good news is Industry Insiders who can provide access to top-tier talent come in many flavors and are a bit easier to find – if you know the right places to look. Many insiders can be found in a consulting capacity or hold some position of industry authority. Centripetal Consulting Group who provides HR Consulting, specific to vendor procurement holds a unique position in this Insider matrix. Centripetal Consulting Group’s associates constantly work with HR Sales professionals to market their services through a buying process to its consulting clients.
As part of its Consulting operation, CCG maintains relationships with a tight niche of vendors and calls upon the key salespeople when a CCG client is seeking such services. Not only do the CCG’s associates have easy access, they directly experience that salesperson’s ability throughout a sales process first hand. Because of this unique referral arrangement, CCG remains on the radar of these coveted sales people, and when the phone rings, the purple squirrel in hopes of a nut, answers. Many times the nut isn’t the next deal, but the bigger, better, new career opportunity.
Simply put, Industry Insiders solve problems by merely connecting the dots, bringing the perfect solution to specific needs – in CCG’s case this may be a new sales opportunity or new position. The consulting operation thus feeds the recruiting operation and vice versa, while two key elements remain constant: trust and knowledge.
CCG Recruiting clients not only value their ability to recruit the industry’s highest performing heavy-hitters, but CCG also supplements the team’s revenue by introducing these HR providers to CCG Consulting clients. This unique positioning, the ability to see all facets of an industry wracked with complexity, is a key component of their appeal to both employers looking for purple squirrels, and qualified candidates who see the forest not the trees and are looking to make a career move.
Remember, knowledge is power.
Identifying a Purple Squirrel: The Five “I” Signs of a Savvy Salesperson
A study done by the Harvard School of Business found, surprisingly, that the most successful salesmen and women consistently also proved to be the most humble. But if you really stop to think about it, this finding should come as no surprise. How often have you given in to the demands of a salesperson that was both pushy and egotistical? People don’t like to be pushed around, nor do they really care how much you know. They care about how you MIGHT be able to solve their problem and respect you more when you can admit that your services might be best served elsewhere. Elite sales professionals don’t take a ham-handed approach.
Of course, being humble does not equate to timidity. The best of the best, in regards to HR Outsourcing sales professionals, are not afraid to fight for their product or engage customers in meaningful, REAL business conversations. Additionally, the Harvard Business School study also found that 95 percent of top performers displayed a very low level of self-consciousness. This is absolutely critical because any hesitation could result in a missed opportunity and, ultimately, a lost sale. Remember, being fearless does not mean putting on a show of bravado or a mask of confidence. Being fearless means saying what you mean, and standing by what you say.
One of the most common stereotypes levied on salespeople in any industry is that of an unscrupulous scoundrel laden with “commission breath” out to turn a quick buck at any cost. Nothing could be further from the truth…at least sometimes. While there are some salespeople who employ unethical bait and switch or competitor bashing tactics to make sales, in the long run, these outliers are typically outperformed by more honest sales professionals. In an industry as service-oriented as the Human Resources Outsourcing sector, being impeccably honest and taking 100 percent of the responsibility for mistakes is an absolute must. 85 percent of top playmakers displayed a high level of conscientiousness – meaning they could be described as having a strong sense of duty, timely follow up, and being responsible and reliable.
This is a no-brainer. Sales in any industry is inherently based on constant achievement and the measurement of what that actually means. It makes sense that the best movers and shakers are keenly aware of the value they bring to the table based on hard, and sometimes unforgiving, number crunching. They’ve figured out a process that works and remain disciplined, yet open for adaptation when a new approach may surface. These salespeople don’t need to fabricate activity reports…their sales success speaks for itself.
Despite being achievement-oriented, savvy HR Outsourcing sales professionals don’t ever lose touch with how everyone else involved in the transaction feels. They understand the concept of “giving to get” and seek to understand and help people FIRST. In fact, the most talented professionals literally can’t lose touch. For them, empathy is inbuilt, just another aspect of their character.
Firms looking for a star HR Outsourcing sales professional must find someone who simply loves and cares about people, even complete strangers. They constantly seek to understand and solve problems because of their innate nature. Renowned salesman Zig Ziglar points out that, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons”. This “likability” factor cannot be taught or fabricated, unlike product knowledge or sales process.