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Hire Slow. Fire Fast.

As the guest speaker for an executive group in Philadelphia, my topic was How to build a winning sales team. The title? 10 Do’s and Don’t’s! I started with the 2 most important Do’s for building a high-performing sales team: Hire slow; fire fast. I had no fear of being wrong.

Most don’t understand what it means and won’t follow the simple rules. Hire slow. What does that mean immediately? Whatever you’re doing now, slow it down. Why? This may be the most important decision you’ll make all year—hiring the person you absolutely want to be a star.  You’re willing to commit star wages, give star support, accept star behavior. So do it right. Don’t wish for a star, hire one.

Extend the time to do what’s necessary so you’re able to make a quality hire. Insert more steps, have more touches, with more people. Conduct different tests in different situations. Instead of them interviewing with three of your people on one day, in one place, you change it up. Go from a few touches in the same environment (it’s easy to interview well so everyone will say: We can deal with her), to at least 3x the touches, getting 6x the information. 

Different days, at different times, with a strategy. In different environments under differing conditions with different people. We’re not making it convenient for everyone. We’re testing to determine what we can find out so we can make a quality decision—who we’ll choose to identify, sell, and close the opportunities the company demands for growth, a decision critical for everyone in the organization! 

Why would you rush it for any reason? Rushed hiring decisions are almost always bad decisions. You’ve gotten yourself in a tight situation and you’re stressed over cashflow. The  success of your company is resting on your decision. Hire slow; fire fast. When you rush, when under duress, you make poor decisions. Don’t piss away your money, your reputation, or your mental health. Slow down on the front end. Make a solid, quality-based, value-projected decision. 

And don’t fall in love with them. Don’t adopt them and their family. You need to stay equipped to fire fast. No matter how good you are at making an educated guess on a big investment, if she doesn’t work out in 90 days or less—meaning great attitude, achieving measurable activity goals—fire her. You don’t have a year and a hundred grand to bet on a long shot.  

You’re looking for a quick start. That’s essential for it to work for both of you. Before you’re able to measure sales production, you measure her attitude (which you’ll define in advance), and her activities (the top three your company demands). You’ll be able to fire fast, if need be, for good, defined, specific performance reasons, while being fair and honest. 

Hire slow. Fire fast.

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