This guest blogger has been a guest before. Bill Ramsey is a friend for numerous reasons. He is part of my Three Men and a Book network, along with Todd Schnick. He works for a company called RightFitHR and he specializes in assessments. Bill finds that getting through to HR people is frustrating. We have talked many times about that and he has written this post as well. I would suggest you take note. I happen to agree with him.
I’m Bill Ramsey, and I’m the guy you love to hate–I’m a Sales Rep.
The job allows me to meet scores of people from all different industries, backgrounds, and positions. I’ve talked to you, to your coworkers, and your boss. It’s a fun line of work . . . until . . . we’re required to call on the HR Professional.
How much do you love fielding calls from Sales Reps?
That’s how much we enjoy calling you.
Like oil to water, Montague to Capulet, fire to water, cat to dog, Leno to Letterman, Seinfeld to Newman. Such is HR to Sales Reps. It’s okay, I understand. It’s time we move past this point in our relationship. I’m here to explain 4 reasons you should LOVE me & the Sales Persons who call you.
4. My network is your next job–or not.
As a Sales Rep, I live and die on the depth and strength of my network. Despite what you may think, due to my repeated phone calls, I actually talk to many, many more people other than you. When it’s time for you to consider [voluntarily or otherwise] another job, you can farm out your resume, beef up your online presence, scour job sites, drown in Ben & Jerry’s . . . or you can call me. Over the last few years, you’ve primarily talked to one company–yours. I’ve talked to hundreds. I’ve been listening, and I know what they need.
Since most HR Pros DESPISE Sales Persons, it’s easy for you to win my loyalty! Treat me with a small modicum of respect, and you’ll look like a Saint. And I won’t forget you.
3. I know the person you need to know.
Let’s talk again about the value of my network. The struggles you’re facing aren’t new. Others have fought through it and lived to survive and THRIVE! Wouldn’t it be awesome to know those people?!
Not because I’m special, or brilliant, but simply because my livelihood hinges upon my ability to listen and help people solve problems. I may not have the solution for you–but I likely know the person who does.
2. I’m a living, breathing, Continuing Education class–AND a free employee!
Granted, no one will grant you actual credits for spending time with me, but you’ll be much more educated if you do. Do you want to better understand trends? Products? Solutions? That’s my specialty.
How can you utilize Sales Reps as free employees? So simple, it’s embarrassing . . .
Imagine any function already provided by HR, or imagine that you’re tasked to implement a completely new solution: A wellness program, time and attendance solutions, a more cost-effective health insurance plan, implementation of best hiring practices, etc., etc. Since I work in the hiring world, let’s use that example.
Your company is bleeding tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars in turnover expense, so you’re tasked to revamp the hiring process. You’ll need to extrapolate the dollars saved by making the changes you suggest.
SCENARIO 1: You go online to research–magazines, blogs, charts, white papers, case studies, etc. You call your SHRM friends. You call some vendors with questions. You write a plan, then run it past your peers in other companies. How much time have you invested? 40 hours? 80 hours? You’ve spent 2 workweeks on the research . . . while still handling your normal responsibilities. [Sound familiar?]
SCENARIO 2: You call me, and a few others like me. You explain the problem you’re trying to solve. You schedule intro appointments back-to-back, 30 minutes each.
“When you arrive,” you politely explain, “I’ll need you to bring names and phone numbers of others who’ve hired you.”
In the 2nd scenario, we’re doing the homework and presenting you with the Cliff Notes version. In one morning, you’ve gleaned a wealth of information, you know the people you trust to engage further, and you have the references of other Executives who’ve experienced the solution. From there, you’re poised to talk again, skipping over the hours of study.
Scenario #2 segues into the final, #1 reason you should love the Sales Rep:
1. I help YOU bring solutions to your company’s challenges.
Do you feel a disconnect between you and the other Executives in your company? Bridge the gap by contributing to the Executives’ most important work: Solving problems, developing strategy, making decisions. As you bring forth solutions, you align yourself with the rest of the Executive team.
So there you have it: 4 Reasons that HR should love Sales Reps. Yet you’re still not convinced, are you? Let me guess your first objection:
“Bill–you wouldn’t believe the number of sales calls I receive! I couldn’t possibly get to know all those people, nor would I know the ones I’d even WANT to know!”
1. You’re right–you DON’T want to know all of the people who call you.
2. Dividing the good from bad Reps is actually easy.
The next blog provides a simple strategy for weeding through the Reps who are brilliant partners, and the ones who deserve your scorn.