Working too many hours?

Here’s an idea that could save you time AND money!

by Dr. Larry Craft

“People to see; places to go; things to do” are phrases I’ve heard for years, and most sales managers are no exception. In fact, I’ve found that this unique group of professionals puts in more 12-hour days than hardly any other position across a variety of industries. Each day is packed with an exhausting list of activities that include joint fieldwork, compliance, administrative management, recruiting and selection, training and development, and client service, just to name a few.

Because of this time crunch, some managers are tempted to live without a formal recruiting and selection process. As a result, they end up hiring too many ‘high maintenance’ Plow Horses and too few self-motivated Racehorses. These Racehorses are the account reps who are highly driven, goal-oriented, and achievement motivated. They have that ‘fire in the belly’ and sense of urgency to make things happen. These are the ‘Order Makers,’ not the ‘Order Takers.’ They have people to see, places to go and things to do. These are the select few reps who score ‘High’ ratings on Personality and Motivations assessments

Approximately 20 to 25% of all candidates receive this coveted rating. But what exactly does it mean to you? First and foremost, you should know that they nearly all have higher drive and confidence to prospect and close the sale. Research for over 30 years involving numerous industries confirms the fact that these Racehorses earn significantly higher sales commissions than those with Moderate or Low ratings. Sure, you can compensate by requiring that your Plow Horses have a huge natural market, two years sales experience, and a strong work ethic. You can even yoke your Plow Horse to a Racehorse mentor to increase sales. But watch out that second year when validation requirements jump dramatically and your Plow Horse has to produce substantially higher commissions. That’s just about the time your patience will run thin and your wallet will grow thinner.

Reps with Moderate or Low ratings will require more and more of your time, not less. Because they don’t have the passion to prospect and close the sale, you’ll be doing it for them. Remember that Plow Horses are motivated from ‘behind’ while Racehorses are motivated by the goals in front of them. When the jockey falls off, the Racehorse still finishes the race. When the farmer drops the reins, the Plow Horse simply stops until the farmer whips the reins again and again. Next time you find yourself looking for reasons to hire reps with Moderate and Low scores, you might want to understand the differences between the ratings. High scorers are all Racehorses who only need training, direction and accountability, not motivation. Moderate scorers have some of the characteristics of Racehorses and some of the characteristics of Plow Horses. You might call them ‘Trotters.’ They have moderate or marginal drive and motivation, but most managers report that their drive and motivation are more characteristic of Plow Horses. Low scorers are all Plow Horses who lack the drive to prospect and close the sale.

Before you make the decision to hire reps with Moderate or Low scores, make sure you refer to the compatibility chart that lists the hours of development time that will be required of you to compensate for their incompatibilities. You just might discover a few incompatibilities that you can’t manage (or tolerate) given the constraints of your schedule. For example, many managers can’t motivate low social drive account reps without substantial time commitment. These reps have no need for public recognition and get irritated by managers who try to ‘manipulate’ them by public honors and awards. If you don’t know how to motivate them, you shouldn’t hire them. Instead of spending your time trying to motivate marginal producers, I recommend that you spend your time recruiting low maintenance Racehorses. Time is of the essence!

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