You’ve just hired a new sales rep. You sifted through the resumes, conducted the interviews, and finally made a decision. Now what? Set your new salesperson up for success by laying the groundwork for a positive first day on the job.
The New Kid
Remember your first day of kindergarten? Everyone is in the same boat: new place, new experience, new book bag with the new pencils, paper, notebooks and clothes. It’s a level playing field.
Contrast that feeling against starting school in the middle of kindergarten. You’re the new kid in the school. You’re scared. You don’t know where your classroom is. You have no one to help you.
Your new sales rep is that new kid in school who’s lost and frightened. Making the newbie feel welcome will be a huge determining factor in that person’s success. Maybe the rep came from a great culture and felt very comfortable in his old office. If he comes to your office feeling uncomfortable, he may think he’s made a bad decision. Taking proactive steps to guide the person through these first days can turn this scenario around.
Checklist for a Successful First Day
Designate a mentor. There’s a lot of self-talk that takes place during this adjustment time. If you don’t have someone to guide and even translate these thoughts, it’s going to go negative. This is where a mentor comes in. Choose a successful sales rep to help initiate the new person into the office.
Base the seating arrangement on your desired outcome. Think about a fundraising dinner. They’re going to put the wealthiest people next to the most interesting people to raise more money. The seating arrangement reflects the goal.
I’m not going to let new Johnny start by sitting next to Susie, a sourpuss, who hates her job and hates the company. She will infect him. Instead, I’m going to put him near someone who will be a positive influence and make him feel comfortable. Surroundings are highly influential.
The Office Culture
Make sure there’s a clean workspace for the new person. The new kid needs a workable area. Also, give a tour of the office and share insight into the office culture. Talk about where people eat lunch and the parking situation. Share the unwritten “Do’s and Don’t’s.” These details make an impact on overall comfort.
Communicate that mistakes are okay. I always tell new hires, “For the first few weeks on the job, you’re going to be lost and confused. You are going to make mistakes. I like to celebrate those mistakes because you learned something. If you don’t learn from those mistakes, that’s the only time we have issue. We expect you to make mistakes.”
Set expectations. What do you expect daily? Weekly? Monthly? Get him in the habit of tracking progress from the beginning. The last thing you want to do is wait 90 days. If he hasn’t sold anything and then you sit him down to tell him the expectations, it’s too late. You should have done that 90 days ago.
Always provide a cell phone for your salesperson. If the job is going to be out in the field selling your services, you should own the telephone number. You should not allow use of a personal phone for business. The number that you’re using to market your business must be the property of the company.
Plan on doing lunch with the salesperson the first day. If you’re the sales manager, you are the teacher. You want the sales rep to respect you and turn to you for guidance. You don’t want a scenario where the salesperson perceives you as too busy to take the time to help. You need to be approachable.
What else would you add to the first day checklist? Let us know in the comments.