Moneyball Your Sales Team

In 2003, Michel Lewis released the book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

The central premise of Moneyball is that the collective wisdom of baseball insiders (including players, managers, coaches, scouts, and the front office) over the past century is subjective and often flawed.

Billy Beane and the Oakland As introduced a more sophisticated analyses of baseball statistics. By using statistics instead of subjective opinion to pick players, the A’s could field a competitive team on a small budget that had a 20-game winning streak in 2002, and made it to the playoffs.

The real lesson of Moneyball is decision making is risky and expensive. Decision making is often flawed by unrecognized bias that tricks us into thinking we’re right when we are very wrong. To make better decisions, you need to reduce your reliance on emotional factors when making important decisions.

We have this need for new sales people. We unrealistically start to see each new hire as the solution to our problems. We allow our bias to emotionally influence our decision making leading us to subjective decisions instead of more fact-based decisions.

Think about what a Radio sales person encounters when they try to sell advertising. You want to recruit people who can overcome those challenges. Here is a screening technique to help identity applicable skills required in Radio sales.

Appointment Setting

When you receive a call from a job seeker, answer like this: “Thanks for calling. I’m glad to hear from you. We’re hiring right now. I’d love to talk to you but you’ve caught me at a bad time. Can you call me back on Thursday and we’ll set something up then, Ok?”

If they say “Okay” and hang up, that’s not someone who is going to be able to deal with the everyday life of a Radio sales person. Listen for; I have my calendar right here. Could we set a time to meet now? Could I just come on over on Thursday? What time would be convenient for you? When would you like me to call back?

Customer Needs Assessment

Smart people ask a lot of questions. That is how they learn. You want to hire sales people who can ask a lot of pertinent questions and follow where the answers lead. You want sales people who can think on their feet and ask questions that identify customer needs.

When the interview begins, start with, “Okay, I’m the sales manager. I’m the person that will be making the hiring decision. What would you like to learn about today”? Then sit back and wait for the first question. Don’t talk. Wait for and only answer a question.

Imagine if you went in to meet a new prospect and they said, “Ask me anything, I’ll answer any question. I’ll tell you the truth. Go ahead, ask me your first questions.”

If the person just starts talking, let them talk. DON’T SAY A WORD! Just listen. After they stop talking, don’t start talking. You have already put forth the question, “What would you like to learn today”? Wait for them to ask you a question. Just sit there. If they don’t ask a question, stand up and say “Well, thanks for coming in. I don’t think you’re quite what we’re looking for. We appreciate your interest”.

I know that sounds rude but you just threw the doors wide open and the job seeker didn’t even take a step to come in and start asking questions. Why would we want to waste any more time on this interview?

If the job seeker protests or wants to know why we’re cutting the interview short, just tell them; “We’re looking for people who can ask good questions. I asked you if you had any questions and you didn’t ask a single question so I don’t think we’d be interested at this time”.

This is an important test. They have a chance to ask you questions that can affect their own life. If they don’t ask you any questions that could impact their life, that’s not a good indication they will be any good at asking a business owner about their business.

This is the most important interview of their life. If they are successful, they will get hired and start making money. If they don’t get hired, they go back to doing whatever they were doing before they came knocking.

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