How to Avoid Hiring Super-Star Sales Losers.


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We all want more revenue.

Whether you are selling internet servers in the Antarctic or pedal-cab rides in Sao Paulo, more money means the same thing — less stress and more ways to spend the profits on bigger and bolder toys.

So it makes a heck of a lot of sense that selling (a.k.a. “business development”) is something that you need to get really good at. And while at first you might be the chief “bread winner”; somewhere down the road you are going to decide that it makes sense to go grab a zealous soul to fill that role.

And all for good reasons.

You want to scale your growth and that means getting more effort from each day. And since you can’t add hours to the day, you need to add players to the game.

Which is a smart move.

An even better move is to hire “good players” to your game.

But let’s cut through all your wild fantasies of glittering rainbows and pots of gold under lucky sales leprechauns. That stuff only works in the movies. And even then, it’s pretty cheesy.

And just in case you thought you had the answer, let’s talk about something else.

Hiring selling super-stars isn’t the answer to your problem.

It only makes matters worse.

Sure. You spent three hours drafting the “perfect” wording for your job posting on You said wonderful things like:

“Must be a high-performer with a proven track record of achieving at least 103% of quota. Must have at least 5 years of experience selling in the business-to-business environment. Must be able to work well with others and be a team player. Must not cause problems.”

After all, if you get all those qualifications, you should be able to double or triple your revenue in the first year alone (at least, within the first eighteen months).


Nothing could be more wrong.

Sales super-stars are the perfect way to drown your business in endless drama and cost you profits, potential, and perfectly good sanity.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I know – not the super-star that “you” are going to hire. Your super-star is different. He called enthusiastically about the listing that you made and walked you through all the ways that he was going to add value to your “top line”.

And after hanging up, you just sat there in the dark with a big smile on your face. This guy was your “pay day”. Finally, after all these years of driving the ship yourself, this rock star was going to put a yacht at the end of your dock.

So it’s only fair that before you get too excited that we share a few thoughts..

1. You don’t know how to handle a super-star.

That’s right. Seems small and hardly something to get all worked up about. That is until your new super-star decides that he made the biggest mistake of his life coming to work for a classless, half-ass employer who doesn’t have the polish to act like a proper business.

You know what drives high-performing super-stars to under-perform and ultimately leave? It’s actually pretty silly when you think about it (but sadly all too true). They leave because of how you treat them or those around them.

Grow up. It’s time to take your game up a notch or two. That means you treating super-stars differently. Heck, it means treating all your employees differently.

2. Your business can’t deliver on a super-star’s promises.

Listen up. When your heavy hitter goes to bat and promises big and bold things and then you under-deliver, you squeeze the life and soul out of your super-star in one early afternoon.

Poof! Your super-star is now a silly salamander. And you did that.

Sure, you didn’t do it on purpose. But you allowed it to happen. And at the end of the day, your super-star doesn’t have time to judge your intentions. He just knows that he got screwed. And that feels the same, any way you try to explain it away.

Hire talented operations dudes to balance out your selling super-stars.

3. Your experienced hire isn’t really a super-star

This happens more than all other reason combined.

Most super-stars can’t reproduce for you what they have done for others.

Even if they want to.

Time, resources, and pressure – they are different in each case. Even if you are in the same industry, selling the same products to the same buyers, things are different.

And frankly, the guy you are talking with is a “sales guy”; so his job is to “sell you” that he is the best dude for your position. Whether you know differently or not.

Grow your own super-stars.

Seriously. It takes time and dedication and disappointment, but it’s the best way to produce consistently, mind-blowing results.

Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Write down what works for you and the lessons you learned along the way. Be as graphic and critical as possible. Especially about what “you” did wrong.
  2. Hire for attitude and fire sales executives who don’t “get it”. Make new hires interview with your entire team.
  3. Bring in some outside help to help you train and teach your team. You will learn something new.
  4. Sign up all your employees for free weekly therapy. We’re all nuts jobs. The “head cases” you fix become instant super-stars.

Imagine what you can do with an army of loyal super-stars. Imagine the difference when you know (really, really know) that your latest hire has already proven himself.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Waldschmidt
Speaker, author, strategist, Dan Waldschmidt is a conversation changer. Dan and his team help people arrive at business-changing breakthrough ideas by moving past outdated conventional wisdom, social peer pressure, and the selfish behaviors that stop them from being high performers. The Wall Street Journal calls his blog, Edge of Explosion, one of the Top 7 blogs sales blogs anywhere on the internet and hundreds of his articles on unconventional sales tactics have been published.


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