The Wonderful Selling Frog of Cantlose County – by Steve Suggs
In the 1960’s, Warner Brothers aired a cartoon starring a singing frog. In the cartoon, during the digging of the foundation of a New York skyscraper, a construction worker discovers a mysterious box. When alone, he opens the box and out jumps a singing, dancing frog. The entrepreneurial construction worker sells everything, borrows start-up capital, rents a music hall on Broadway, and spends thousands on advertising. On opening day, the theater is filled to capacity for the debut of this freak of nature.
As the crowd rolls in, the frog’s melodious tenor voice can be heard behind the curtain. Swinging his cane and tipping his hat, amphibious entertainment is about to explode on the stage. Thousands of people sit on the edge of their seats awaiting the raising of the curtain. The former construction worker is in his upstairs office overlooking the crowd. The smell of cash fills the room as his sweaty hands count the loot from the day’s ticket sales.
He dreams of the endless nights when his fly-eating pet will perform and fill the music hall with gawking patrons who will pay almost any price to see his tantalizing three-toed tenor. His days as a poor construction worker are over.
Behind the dark stage, the frog’s voice fills the theater. The curtain is quickly yanked up to reveal the newest, greatest show on earth. Suddenly, the frog prodigy drops to the floor landing in its natural sitting position of giant back knees framing a large mouth and beady eyes.
The crowd grows silent as they await the long anticipated Broadway smash hit of The Singing Frog. As the theater lays silent, the frog opens his formerly singing mouth. The stage frightened voice pierces the silence, “Ribbit”.
The long awaited debut ends with a mob chasing the man down the street as the frog belts beautiful tenor notes from the closed box clutched under his arm. The next scene is a pennyless man sitting in the park, alone, tattered clothes, unshaven, with the frog singing on the bench beside his homeless owner.
As I reflected on this cartoon, I was reminded of the time I hired a salesperson who looked good, sounded good, dressed well, and had a great resume. Visions of profits filled my head as I opened the box and watched this high-performing salesperson climb out and onto my office dance floor. His song and dance lured me in. I forgot about following my interview questionnaire, calling references, and using the other recruiting tools in my toolbox. Instead, I put on my selling hat and began to present a can’t-lose, moneymaking career with my company.
After spending thousands of dollars on training, hours of coaching, and tons of emotion, the curtain rises and my new sales prodigy enters the market place. After six months, $30,000 of expenses and base pay, and hours of preparation, I see two giant knees framing a large mouth and beady eyes. All I hear from this lump of unfulfilled expectations is, “Ribbit”.
HE CAN’T SELL!!!
Lesson learned: There are many frogs with gifted voices during the interview process. When the curtain rises in the market place of finding prospects, turning appointments into presentations and opening new accounts, there are few who can perform in front of a tough, discriminating audience of buyers.
A best practice recruiting system, when followed, keeps a large number of strong candidates in the funnel, keeps us from becoming emotional during the interview process, and helps us see through the embellishments of all-talk, no-action candidates.
Learn to recruit salespeople who, you know with a great deal of certainty can actually sell. Go to http://www.SalesManage.com/CanTheySell.
Steve Suggs is an expert at sales recruiting/hiring and is the author of Can They Sell. You can connect with Steve at the above site and the following sites: