Learn what being a member does for you
The Seller Styles
Learn the styles and take your free assessment
See a summary of all our programs and certifications
Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP®)
Develop your potential as a certified sales professional
Certified Professional Sales Leader (CPSL®)
Grow your impact as a certified sales leader
Learn foundational sales behaviors, strategies, and skills
Power of Contact Marketing
Learn from marketing expert and author Stu Heinecke
Join the top 1% of sales professionals in the world.
Next Level Virtual Coaching
Join our ongoing dynamic virtual coaching community
Explore job postings from some of the best companies in the country looking for sales professionals
Daily Dose of Influence!
Enjoy our video series of influence tips and strategies
Leads To Growth
Dig into our podcast featuring industry leaders and experts
Learn from our high-level sales coaching video series
Women of Sales & Influence – Facebook Live Series
Be inspired by our Facebook Live series spotlighting top women influencers
Women of Sales & Influence – Video Blog
Enjoy valuable, high-level sales strategies to empower your sales goals
The Growth Quotient
You’ve heard about IQ, but what is your GQ?
Our Commitment to You
We are here to help your approach to sales, how you interact with others, and how you perform and execute
NASP Sales Blog
Learn from our member-submitted articles for sales professionals
Write For Us
Share your sales expertise and insights with our community
About Our CEO
Standards of Conduct
Common Questions and Answers
Influencers Invited Sales Blog
I was never very good in science class which is probably why I’m not a doctor today. Yet, I remember vividly the exercise on heated atoms. The experiment started with a flask of water and a Bunsen burner. When the flame from the Bunsen burner was applied to the flask, the atoms would dart all over the place in excitement. The excitement was uncontrollable. The energy remained as long as the heat was applied. As soon as the Bunsen burner was removed, the atoms moved back to a static state. All movement stopped.
What does science class have to do with recruiting sales people? This science experiment teaches a lot about recruiting passive (those not presently looking for a job) sales candidates. All companies want to recruit the top talent sales people from other companies. However, that talent is usually locked-in pretty tight. The top sales people are the top earners of the company so they probably aren’t looking to leave. What would get them to leave? How do you find these candidates? What would energize passive sales candidates to be excited about another opportunity?
Years ago, my father used to take me deep-sea fishing off the Jersey shore. When we went fluke fishing, we used one kind of bait. When we went blue fishing, we used a different kind of bait. Thus, you need the right bait to attract a particular type of fish. You certainly won’t catch a shark using a worm for bait.
Once the baited hook was in the water, the fish didn’t usually grab it in a way that allows you to reel them in right away. There was a dance. You had to make sure the fish had eaten all of the bait and was firmly on the hook. Professional fishermen talk about all of the different techniques involved with playing this game well. On any Sunday morning, you can find television shows on ESPN that walk you through the steps on how to select bait and tackle as well as techniques to bring the fish into the boat.
So, what is the right bait when looking to catch passive sales candidates? How do you motivate them into action?There are two fundamental motivators of sales people: fear and greed. It’s very simple, just those two. Thus, the two types of bait for recruiting passive sales candidates are fear and greed. Sales managers use techniques to direct their sales team based on those two motivators every day. Guess what happens when a “greed” technique is used on a sales person motivated by fear? Nothing! Thus, it is critical for the sales manager to figure out the right motivator for each of his team members.
The wrong bait is also an issue for sales recruiting. Many recruiters rely strictly on the “greed” motivator. “Come to our company and you can make oodles of money.” That will work with some sales candidates, but certainly not all. As sales managers have come to recognize, there is an equally-sized population motivated by fear. I might argue that the “fear” population is larger than the greed one. For those folks, the “greed” factor does not motivate them into action. Some of you may be thinking that some sales people are motivated by both which is true. However, one of those two is more dominant. One of those two drives them into action.
As you can imagine, I talk to sales people all the time. Most have a lament about the goings-on in their company. So, I ask them if they are looking for another job and they say no. Then, an event occurs. Something that gets their attention and they call me and say that today they have decided to make a change. Wondering what that “thing” is? Well, it is different for every sales person. However, that “one thing” falls into the category of either fear or greed.
How do you motivate a passive sales candidate into action based on fear? You need to do your homework to effectively use fear as a motivator. The media provides most of the tools you need to do this well.
Thus, top sales people could be open to listening to you about a new opportunity. How do you know when there is a leadership change? The Business Journal of that city announces promotions/new hires at the management level of companies. A weekly read of this tool gives you new ponds for your fishing expedition. You also may learn that information from an active candidate who cites that as a reason for looking for another job.
Just like kids the week before Christmas wondering what is in the wrapped box under the tree, sales people wonder what their “gift” will be. For some, the uncertainty of the future is just enough to lead them to be receptive to a job exploration.
To motivate passive sales people into action, you need the right bait. With research and technique, you can apply the heat that sends these candidates into a frenzy.
About the author