Kale Flagg acknowledges that as companies begin recruiting sales teams, it may be tough to know where to start. Flagg suggests beginning by getting in touch with personal contacts in order to either involve those people directly or get referrals from them—find the best sales people that you know, and find the best sales people that they know—and start there. This, Kale Flagg explains, is called “warm market recruiting.” In Flagg’s opinion, this is the only way to build a successful sales organization. Many people prefer into cold market waters first: need a sales leader, run an ad in Monster or in the newspaper. But Kale Flagg emphasizes that in building his first team, a sales organization that surpassed $65mm in sales on $200/unit average purchases by its 3rd, he did not place his first cold-market advertisement until he had already been underway for over a year.
To explain why, Kale Flagg says to imagine taking all of the unemployed people in this country who are looking for work and putting them in one pool. In a second pool, Kale Flagg says to imagine putting all of the people who already have jobs and are not currently looking for work. He then asks which pool you’d prefer to pull your sales organization from.
According to Kale Flagg, a warm market not only contains higher quality people, but it is dramatically less expensive than a cold market. A personal referral from your college friend, for instance, has a much higher chance of panning out than a person who responded to a “help wanted” ad.
Kale Flagg compares finding good sales people, recruiting a good sales organization, to dating. “How do you know when to ask for that first kiss?” he asks. The answer to that question depends on the circumstances—sometimes it’s the first date, and sometimes it’s the 3rd date and sometimes it’s never! The same is true in recruiting quality sales people, points out Kale Flagg—you have to keep sorting, going thru people and putting them to the test. Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do. Eventually you’ll find self motivated problem solvers—those are who you want to kiss. You’ll also be able to identify high maintenance problem finders, those are the ones you are going to want to avoid.
Businesses require dealing with people, and no two people are alike. In some situations, Kale Flagg states, you can ask someone to go steady on a first date, but in most situations a second, third, or even fourth date is advisable before making such a bold move. Businesses should advance these professional relationships gradually, by decreasing recruits’ fears and increasing their confidence. If a recruit asks numerous questions, Kale Flagg recommends spending as much time as they need to answer all of those questions. Spend time building a relationship, he counsels, and you will see that time investment pay off in the future.
Kale Flagg has a background in real estate, sales, and finance, with extensive experience in business. Currently serving as General Partners of the American Redevelopment Fund, he speaks on business development in seminars across the country.