There was a discussion I participated in recently on an on line forum for pilots which I frequent regarding how to hire salespeople. To be more specific the discussion was about how to hire “technical salespeople”. This piqued my interest because isn’t that what we are doing in the insurance agency business?
The conundrum the originator of the thread had was that he had a complicated product and finding people who could understand it, with good sales skills, was proving difficult. Sound familiar?
There was a lot of sound advice given in that discussion and a lot of valuable experience was shared. See pilots these days are generally business owners and generally successful. So, their experience is pretty valuable.
But of all the great advice that was given one fellow’s was, in my opinion, absolute genius. This guy is a sales manager for a large, multinational manufacturer. He hires and supervises a lot of sales people. He knows what he’s talking about. But is advice did not rise to genius level because of his position, or his experience although those surely helped. No, he spoke what you will instantly recognize as the truth in a very simple and direct way:
“Hire for attitude train for skill”
Brilliant with a capital B! We are in a technically challenging business. Even with an insurance license most new hires don’t know much. In fact it takes years to learn our products. If a sales person waited until they were experts to sell something they’d be ready for retirement before getting started!
In fact someone with a great, positive, can do, other directed, success oriented attitude cannot be stopped! Learning a little technical insurance is just one more stepping stone to success for the person with a great attitude.
This advice does not only shine brilliantly in sales it applies to every employee on our teams! I am fortunate to work with a fantastic group of people at OAA. Sometimes we bring aboard a new person who doesn’t know our business. But with a great attitude they immediately become valuable team members.
On the other hand those who don’t have a great attitude are a cancer to any business. As another poster in this thread commented “we help those people graduate from our company and go to work somewhere else”. Amen to that!