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by David Romano, Founder of Benchmark Inc.

If you are holding off on hiring someone green with a ton of potential that has all of the magical traits to build rapport with customers because you are waiting for a million-dollar writer that will bring over all of their business, wake up.  What you are looking for is a unicorn, and unicorns do not exist.  You know as well as I do that every time you hire someone with a “book of business” the book they bring looks more like a short children’s story instead of a meaty novel.

Learning to sell flooring is not that difficult.  We are not teaching brain surgery or rocket science.  Someone with a good personality, drive, and willingness to learn will do just fine.  Do not pass on these greenhorns because recycling has or never been is a short term solution that causes long term problems.

In my consulting and recruiting practice, where we place hundreds of candidates per year in the flooring and restoration industries, relying on job boards would make us highly ineffective.  In fact, less than 18% of our hires apply directly to our postings and we post on over 1,800 job boards.  That means that 82% of the time our recruiters have to go out and convince a currently employed candidate that working for our client is a better proposition.  This means you must do the same.  If you are in need of a new sales person go out and find one.  Carry your business cards at all times and hand them out when you receive great service.  One of my top recruiters was hired away from a plant nursery after my wife and I were impressed by her tenacity and customer service skills.  She knew nothing about the flooring industry or recruiting but in a very short period of time, she really knocked it out of the park.

The truth is the employment landscape is very challenging.  Challenging even to recruiters who find people every day!  Each employee will have three offers in one week and unless you pay and offer more than your competitors you won’t ever make the short list.  However, there are some proven honey holes where you can find folks willing to make the leap into the flooring industry.  And if we are being honest here, this industry is not very sexy where the millennials are chomping at the bit to join so you better do a good job of selling the benefits of working for your company when you get the chance.

Restaurant servers and bartenders make excellent sales associates.  They make most of their money from tips and the better their service the higher the tips.  Upselling and add-ons is what they are all about.  They don’t just sell you a plate of food, they convince you to start with frozen margarita, which will go well with a nice dish of table-side guacamole, and they talk you into ending your meal without cleverly flavored flan.  They are also accustomed to working pretty terrible hours so when you offer a job where they get off on the weekdays at 6:00 pm and have to work every other Saturday and they can earn a nice consistent living, they think they just won the lottery.

Another great place to find incredible sales associates is the Career Services office at your local design school.  The job of the counselors is to get graduates jobs so let them do the work for you.  Just make sure you do a good job convincing these graduates they can make just as much, if not more, working for your company as they can make working for a design firm.

Your next great sales associate does exist; the irony is she/he does not currently sell flooring.  They have either graduating from school or works in some other kind of service job.  It is so freaking hard for you to find your next great sales associate because you are looking for the wrong person and passing on a ton of potential.

About the Author:

David Romano is Founder of Benchmark Inc. and will be a presenter at TISE 2017, sign up for his seminar – Finding Your Sales Unicorn: How to Recruit and (Keep) Your Next Great Sales Associates on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 3:15pm to 5:15pm. Learn more about his sessions by visiting