the past few years, since I began using this weekly blog to share stories about
sales and sales management, I have been receiving numerous questions from
readers including my own clients. Over the next several months I am going to
use my weekly ramblings to post one reader question with my answer. Please note
– my answers are based on my personal and professional experiences and in no
way reflect my company or specific clients.
Q: What is the most recent mistake
you’ve made in business and what was the lesson learned?
A: I broke the golden rule of hiring
& firing – to hire slow and fire fast. I made the decision to hire a sales
person based on only a few interviews that were condensed in a matter of a
couple weeks. I believed the candidate would be a worthwhile hire based on his
years of experience and his communication skills, especially his writing
skills. Unfortunately, because I fast tracked the hiring process, I did not
spend nearly enough time analyzing his capabilities in new business development
and cold calling. While his sales experience seemed extensive on paper, he was
not skilled in new business development, rather he was a glorified account
manager. He was not successful in cold calling, networking, or developing new
opportunities on his own. I then gave him many more chances and opportunities
to improve than I should have. Actually, it was unfair to him as well to keep
him around with false hope that he could turn around his activity level. In
fact, I should have let him go after three months. It was definitely a mistake
on my part to hire him and even a bugger mistake not to fire him sooner.