Tuesday Aug 02, 2022
Ep142: A Good Salesperson Is Hard to Replace
Getting fired from a sales job is never a surprise. If you’re not producing, you already know it. Brad Ferguson, the managing member of Scottsdale Sales Training, has been with Sandler Training for more than 27 years, and today he shares his sales hiring, onboarding, training, and coaching expertise with our podcast host, Corey Frank. Brad believes that before you let someone go from a sales job, you need to determine whether this person can sell, and you need to consider your company’s financial investment in that individual. This includes training, coaching, and certifying, as well as their salary and benefits. Brad cautions our listeners, “Don’t let the good people you have go. Spend the time getting them up to a higher level.” If they are worth keeping, make the effort to diagnose their problems and then provide the needed training, because, as the title of this Market Dominance Guys’ episode reminds us, “A Good Salesperson Is Hard to Replace.”
About Our Guest
Brad Ferguson is the CEO of Best Sales Force, Inc., an Arizona-based sales development firm. He is the Senior Sandler Training Franchisee with over 25 years of experience in the Sandler Network.
Full episode transcript below:
Getting fired from her sales job is never a surprise. If you're not producing, you already know it. Brad Ferguson managing member of Scottsdale sales training has been with Sandler training for more than 27 years. And today he shares his sales hiring, onboarding, training, and coaching expertise with our podcast host Cory Frank, Brad believes that before you let someone go from a sales job, you need to determine whether this person can sell and you need to consider your company's financial investment in that individual. This includes training, coaching, and certifying as well as their salary and benefits. Brad cautions our listeners. Don't let the good people you have go, spend the time getting them up to a higher level. If they're worth keeping, make the effort to diagnose their problems and then provide the needed training. Because, as the title of this Market Dominance Guy's episode reminds us a good salesperson is hard to replace.
Corey Frank (01:21):
That's great stuff. Certainly what we saw at StormWind and be even at Branch49, we set up shop here right now, right? It is no comparison before foundations and after foundations, it's not called president's club anymore. Right? The post foundations, what's the Sandler world? What do they... What do they talk?
Brad Ferguson (01:38):
Universally, we said, this has got to be sales mastery. And if there's sales mastery, there should be different levels and there should be global certification levels. So there's a broad sales mastery, a silver sales mastery, and a gold. Broad sales mastery, you understand the concepts. Silver sales mastery, you understand how to deliver and implement. Gold sales mastery, you can deliver it to others.
Corey Frank (02:03):
So if I don't have a system, if I'm a sales manager and I have really good producing reps, I mean their president's club every year they're doing well, but I don't know if it necessarily want my new people sitting with that top rep because I don't want them selling that way because it's not duplicatable. And that seems to be a common issue with a lot of sales leaders. What'd you say?
Brad Ferguson (02:25):
When I was in my earlier career before Sandler, Jerry Underwood was the guy, the leader. He was magic, top salesperson. Andy, can I ride with you? I think I begged Andy for three years to ride with him. Finally, he says, you can ride with me and commonly under one condition, you open your mouth, I'll break both your legs. You sit there and you shut up.
So we go to this place up in Chicago, I think it's called Peppers. And it's a furniture store and I'm sitting back watching Jerry. And he says, and she says, and I'm like, well, this is over. And Underwood turned that around and he said, the need has come back. And she says, fine let's do it, two truckloads. We get out the car. And I said, Jerry, right here, I wrote this down. What tape did you listen to? What cassette did you listen to? What book did you read to have a comeback like that? And Underwood said, I would never say that to a woman. Jerry, I was there. You said it, non-transferable skills, those strong people. They don't even know that they said that themselves. So how am I going to identify it and share it with somebody else?
Corey Frank (03:38):
Yeah. The unconscious competence, right? I-
Brad Ferguson (03:41):
Corey Frank (03:42):
... I think I have a system, but it's germane just to me, that's certainly a challenge for a lot of businesses today is those non-replicable skills, particularly, because I want to scale. But now we have a lot of organizations as we let off this chat that are lean off a lot of folks, right? They're going to prevent defense mode for whatever reason they and their investors think that's right. I think you and I and our friend Oren Klaff and certainly Chris Beall, we have a different philosophy. But what do you say to the folks that are laying folks off that a possible ways to still to generate some revenue?
Brad Ferguson (04:15):
One thing we know for a fact just from being in this career, getting fired from a sales job is never a surprise. You know that you're not working up to the acceptable level and it's just sometime, and I hope it's not. And they're dependent on, they're not generating enough revenue, but somebody is holding their income at a good enough place that they can get by. They're not producing. And this is where salary and base comes into play. Somebody else took the risk to hold you for a while, while you learn it. And they believe more in the salesperson than this salesperson does. Problem with today's economy is we know there are two positions available for every single salesperson that's out there in this career.
Corey Frank (05:02):
Brad Ferguson (05:02):
And those successful ones are looking, some are unemployed and still looking. So we insist that our clients evaluate the talent coming in the door to prove that they'll succeed before they hire them.
Corey Frank (05:19):
How do you evaluate the talent?
Brad Ferguson (05:21):
Yeah, the good people who have on board, don't let them go. They will be very difficult to duplicate and bring back because the hiring ratios now are, when we do evaluate talent, before we make an offer, 65% of the applicants aren't even worthy of consideration, let alone will they be strong. So if you've got somebody performing it at an acceptable level, spend the time to get them up a little stronger. Don't let them go and risk bringing in a dud. That's really going to impact the bottom line.
Corey Frank (05:57):
There's a system that you've used that you've recommended. That changed the way, that we at StormWind, which was a top employer for Glassdoor for many years. Certainly the way that we bring in folks at Branch49, that also came through a lot of your contacts in a lot of your expertise over the years. Would you mind talking about-
Brad Ferguson (06:54):
Yeah, my business is set up with two different aspects. The training and development, which is the treatment division. But prior to that, we need the diagnostics. X-rays before treatment. And I use a company out of Boston called Objective Management Group. Objective Management Group has already evaluated 2.2 million salespeople. So largest database on the planet for sales. It is also top sales world's gold medal standard for evaluating salespeople. And the tools used are not a personality test, not a behavioral styles test, not an aptitude test, not a personality test.
It's, can this candidate sell successfully after they're hired in our world to our customers over our sales cycle, asking for our dollar amount at the level that we need to be speaking at? And know that person will succeed before you even make them an offer, to the point of validation being at 95%, which for non-statistical people, 95% of the candidates that are recommended through this onboarding process succeed and are still employed a year later working at a satisfactory level. Now there's another number that comes in too. 76% of the candidates that we say, don't hire, that get selected are gone in six months. No means no...
Corey Frank (08:27):
But I hired them anyway, because I like their personality, Brad, this... I love the school they went to it. So thank you Brad, for your recommendation, but I'm going to go ahead and hire them anyway. And you said-
Brad Ferguson (08:38):
But their brother was so successful. Why wouldn't they be? He was a referral. I had no choice. It was a friend of a friend and I had to bring him on board.
Cost is crazy. The cost of a mis-hire in today's world is eight times annual salary. Cause you're figuring in, training, coaching, benefits, all the other people that touched that person that turned into nothing and lost revenue that person we expected them to produce. And they didn't. I have a client in an industry that requires certification and it takes about eight to 12 months to be certified. Yet, these people are on board, working in a selling environment, learning the trade opportunities in front of them. They cannot sell yet, because they're not certified. And eight or nine months later, they turn out that they should never should have hired them. Four or $5,000 a month out the door. Just for that person's salary gone. Doesn't count the training time, the investments of other people, the lost opportunities. Absolutely crazy. When we can predict ahead of time within 5%, whether or not that salesperson's going to succeed before they hire them.
Corey Frank (09:58):
So as a sales leader, I can spend a lot of money on tools to make my folks email better. I can focus a lot on my data being clean. I can focus a lot on ConnectAndSell as a sponsor of this podcast to dial faster. Branch49 to dial more. And it seems like from our just discussion... brief discussion today, sometimes some of the bigger numbers, the bigger rocks to address are in the sales process. And even prior to that, the hiring process. The rest are mere basis points, smaller numbers to achieve. But if I can hire the right folks and I can put them into a system that gets them to overcome their fear of being liked, the supplicative behavior. Overcome that no, embrace that no. I'm probably going to weather this storm pretty well. Sounds like.
Brad Ferguson (10:53):
The talent is a big key. Sales ghosts, as we call them. I don't know the statistics for this. They got to be the top three expenses for a sales organization, bringing the wrong people on board and the money that's spent with them. And we expect them to come on and generate revenue. No, they cost us revenue versus bringing it in. That's a big expense and startup companies who said, it's time to take the owner away from doing all the work themselves and let's bring on some sales talent. They can bring in two or three people, all three fall in their face. Not going to touch that again. And it acts prevented that company from ever growing because they invested in sales ghosts. It cost them too much money. They either go back to the single producer doing everything or they close because of what they invested in it. And now it's gone.
Corey Frank (11:47):
Sales ghosts. I love that. That's a great term. Lastly, Brad, before we started recording, you were giving me advice on my business on Branch49. Some advice on what we should do when you look at our price book, that was a little antithetical to what a lot of folks may think is something to do when business constricts a little bit, maybe you can talk a little bit about that.
Brad Ferguson (12:12):
I hear people saying we're not as profitable as we would. We needed to adjust pricing for this market, the competitor offshoring, we've got internet competition. And I simply said, raise your prices. How could we do that? Number one, to get paid what you're worth and number two to make your company profitable. But we can't do that. We've heard feedback from our sales people already that were too high. No, your sales people believe that you're too high. And the number one reason is they themselves don't know how to sell value probably because they don't buy value. So let me pose a real quick scenario to you in Scottsdale, Arizona. Corey's going out for a job interview and on the way over, oh shoot this shirt alone's not going to make it. I got to get a tie. You got to get a tie for this appointment. So you're going across cactus and you get Tatum and you got two choices, go to the mall to Dillard's or Southwest corner or Southeast corner. Let's hop into Walmart. Where are you buying that tie Corey? Walmart or Dillard's?
Corey Frank (13:28):
I think I'm going to go to Dillard's.
Brad Ferguson (13:30):
Okay. What we just find out about Corey? A little bit of value, little more higher end perception. I'll probably use this again and it'll have some value to me long term. The Walmart guy says, well, I only need it for this one time. So let's get as cheap as I can and make it fast. And in and out the door, the parking lot's 20 feet away from the front door versus walking through the mall.
Corey Frank (13:56):
Got it. Raising the prices. Well, that's beautiful. Well, listen, Brad, you've been a wealth of information and certainly made me a lot of money over the years in all the businesses that you've lent a hand. You're a great sales mentor and a wealth of knowledge. How do people get a hold of a Sandler training expert? Or more importantly, how do they get a hold of you?
Brad Ferguson (14:15):
Yeah, I would like to be that focal point to disseminate any contacts, I've been in this network for 25 years. I know who does what. There's a lot of strong Sandler people out there. There's some that are just not coming outward. I know who's stronger than who right now. I just assumed connect our contacts with those who are in capacity right now to help them. Email address is simple. Brad Ferguson, [email protected], I got in to get my email address before they made you add your last name. That came kind of soon. And the local number is fairly easy. It's 480-481-5000.
Corey Frank (14:57):
Beautiful. And I know you're a big supporter of Chris Beall. Who's also known for a long time and the ConnectAndSell dial weapons. [inaudible 00:15:04] That's also to know that we all keep it in the family here. For Chris Beall, the sage of sales, the profit of profit, who is still on the honeymoon, this why this is the honeymoon edition of the Market Dominant Guys until next time, this is Corey Frank.
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments,
please download free Podbean App.