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Hiring Sales People: The Toughest Task in Home Care

By Stephen Tweed

It’s very clear to me. The most difficult task you will face as the owner, CEO, or administrator of a successful home care business is recruiting, selecting, training, and retaining sales professionals. This year alone, I have talked with at least a dozen owners who have failed miserably in making a hiring decision for a sales rep. It looked like they have found a wonderful person with great sales experience and tremendous potential. Six months later, the person was not bringing in enough new clients to cover their cost, and they were gone.

It most of these cases, the sales rep was terminated by the owner. In several cases, the sales person was frustrated by their own inability to get new business, and they quit.

In either case, it is frustrating and expensive. You’ve used up a lot of your valuable time, spent a lot of money, and don’t have the business growth you were hoping for.

There’s No Easy Answer

There’s no magic formula for hiring sales reps. However, there are some tools you can use that will make your job easier, and increase the probability of success.

First, let’s look at why sales people fail. There are three reasons:

1. Knowledge: they lack the knowledge of the selling process, and of the home care business.

2. Ability: they lack the skills, the tools, or the appropriate behavioral style to be highly effective.

3. Attitudes: they must be willing to do what it takes every day to go out there and make 7 to 8 high quality sales calls with meaningful dialog with the decision maker.

Hire for Attitudes, Train for Skills

Back in the days when I served on the faculty of Dana University, the in-house leadership development center of The Dana Corporation in Toledo, Ohio, we often said to our management classes, “Hire for Attitudes, Train for Skills.” It’s clear from all of the research and from our personal experience that you are much better off hiring the person with the positive attitude and the willingness to learn. You can always teach people the knowledge and skills if they bring the right attitude.

How to Measure Attitudes and Job Fit

For over 25 years, I’ve been using some form on assessment tool to measure attitudes and behavioral styles in selecting sales people. It’s very clear from our experience that you can’t depend on interviews alone to determine the best candidate for the sales job. I mean, after all, they’re sales people. They are built to persuade. They tend to interview very well. You’ll fall in love with them. Then when you send them out, they are not quite as persuasive with referral sources.

Using a validated assessment tool, you can get a graphic display of the person’s attitudes such as integrity – will they tell you the truth, conscientiousness – will they do what they say they will do, and hostility – how well will they control their emotions? Then you can measure the person’s behavioral style to see if there is a good fit between the person and the job.

I have seen more home care companies make a bad hiring decision because they selected a person who is “nice” and seems to like people, but doesn’t really have a behavioral style that correlates with success in sales. We have a very clear picture of which styles work in selling and which ones do not. We’ve recently validated that by conducting online assessments with top home care sales professionals.

Increase Your Return on Investment

You can increase your return on investment of a new sales person by using these tools to increase the accuracy of your hiring decision. When you select the right person, they will get up to speed more quickly, generate more referrals that turn into admissions over time, and stay with you longer.

What more could you ask for? Quicker start up. More business. Less turnover.

To learn more about using online assessment tools to help hire your next sales person, call 502-339-0653 and talk with Diane West about applying the Nine Steps of the Caregiver Quality Assurance® program to your sales selection process.

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