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The Myth Of The Million-Dollar Producer |  July 08, 2015 (0 comments)


Miami, FL—How many times have you hired a salesperson and they didn’t perform to your expectations? You thought, “This is it! My “million dollar producer!” But what you actually hired was a non-performer who couldn’t meet sales quotas.

This is a painful reality for storeowners. Poor performers come in all shapes and sizes. They typically look great during the interview phase, but here are a few “million-dollar producers” to look out for:

1. The Golden Child: In this case, the sales candidate was actually a million-dollar producer at their previous sales job. Verified by the end of the year, they generated one million dollars in sales. However, with closer investigation, you find out that your sales candidate didn’t actually generate one million dollars in new business, but instead was dropped into “golden-territory.” What the Golden Child does is cultivate a million dollars in existing business by making “warm and fuzzy” calls to existing clients. So therefore they did not generate a million-dollars in new business.

2. The Mathematician: These salespeople deliver a fraction of what they could. There are some sales associates that are in $10 million-plus jewelry stores but become stifled because they are afraid or don’t want to prospect for new business. Regardless, they probably look perfect in the interview, but beware of sales candidates that don’t have the capacity to consistently meet their quota.

3. Lucky Charms: You remember the cereal with the leprechaun on the box showering sweet-tasting marshmallows, one of which was the shape of a four-leaf clover. Perhaps you interview a prospective sales associate who has a very impressive client list and created million dollar sales for his last company. You get excited because you feel he can do the same for you. In reality, the Lucky Charm is just that: lucky. A big sale landed in their lap and they got to take credit for it. This is the worst thing that can happen to a non-performer: they get a false sense of achievement not to be replicated in your company. Don’t fall for Lucky Charms, hold out for a true sales champion.

4. The Assistant: They are all over our tutorials about turning over the sale, which is not going to work for you in this position. Here is what I mean: in their previous job, the candidate stumbles onto leads that the sales manager has to close. The candidate takes a secondary role as sales assistant. The sales manager—or you, the owner—drives the sale and finalizes the transaction, then you turn the sale back over to the salesperson to manage. When the candidate comes to your door for the interview, once again you’re excited when he or she explains their impressive client list from their previous employer. But they can’t produce the same results without you or a manager helping to closing the sale for them. Who needs that? I say avoid the assistant!

5. Brando: My favorite—and I am not referring to Marlon. This is a salesperson that has come from a large company with strong brand recognition. Leads come easy to this salesperson because of brand credibility in the marketplace, not because they are exceptional at selling. Unfortunately when they arrive at your door looking for a job, it’s easy to get misled by their false sense of achievement. Remember (very important) you may not have the branding or marketing dollars their previous employer had! As a result, your sales candidate must work much harder, will need to be more creative, and will probably experience a lot more rejection. They may not be able to handle this rejection because their last job did not prepare them for that. Be cautious if you choose to proceed.

These are just a few of the so-called “million-dollar producers” you may run into in your next hiring process. Only by thorough questioning and in-depth analysis can you increase the probability that the so-called “Million-Dollar Producer” sitting across the desk from you really will be able to deliver the sales results you expect. I recommend you ask these questions to help you assess the candidate:

  1. “List your top 10 customers and tell me which ones you inherited and which ones you acquired.” If most are inherited you may have a Golden Child instead of a hunter.
  2. “How did you get the leads for each of these customers?” If most of the leads came from referral from existing clients or were company-generated leads, you probably have a “warm call only” salesperson.
  3. “Who else was involved in the sales process with you, and how involved were they?” If their sales manager ended up always being the one that took over the sale and closed, then you may have a Sales Assistant instead of a Sales Champion.

These are only a few questions. The important thing to remember is to not be lured in by a salesperson’s personality or their client list from previous employers. Remember, if they were that good, why did they leave their former employer (or get fired) in the first place?

The bottom line is this: top sales performers can validate their success. The better job you do during the hiring process, the better quality sales people you will acquire and the easier your job will be as an owner/sales leader.

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Andie Weinman, president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International / Continental Buying Group Inc., was born with the “Jewelry Gene” working in the jewelry industry since she was only ten years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom doing a fantastic job even at that tender age. Andie holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Andie has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and performed a multitude of jobs in the manufacturing of jewelry.  Her negotiating experience and prowess has given her the reputation as being tough but fair in her dealings with vendors. In 2012 the Indian Diamond and Color Association awarded Andie the Prestigious Doyenne Award of the Year.

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