My Business Philosophy
Managing people is the most difficult part of any business. How can you select the right people to represent your company? When is it time to part ways? How do you manage the egos and feelings of a high powered sales team?
• When interviewing new potential employees, I look for signs of grit. Grit is determination when most give up. Grit is working on Sunday night so you can hit Monday hard. Grit is turning a problem into a big opportunity. Grit is burning the boats when you need to take an island. You cannot find Grit on a resume; you just have to feel it.
• The second most important factor is getting along with others. I have seen entire departments suffer from one bad hire. It was never because the individual was not qualified for the position. It came down to personality and the ability to get along with co-workers. The ability to work well with others is an underrated skill.
• The third thing I look for is coaching and how involved are they with their family, If they have kids, did they coach them in sports, in academic competitions, or the boy or girl scouts. There is a difference between the parents that bring their kids to a game and the one that steps up and says I will help coach, or be the Scout Master. If they don’t have kids, are they doing something with a foundation, nonprofit or are they active in an association? Did they at some level step up and say “I will lead”.
These things are not normally listed on a resume or found in most interview questions, but they are the most important aspects of creating an overachieving sales team. Like any great team, each member has their role and that is what makes the team successful. I find that clear, honest communication with precise goals can reduce the likelihood of failure of a sales team.
There is an enormous cost in employee turnover; training, establishing relationships, building credibility can take years. That is why it is critical to hire slowly and fire fast. Every time I had to fire someone I felt like it was my failure. I did not create an environment or a position that allowed that individual to succeed and I learn the most from those situations. The more time and effort you spend during the screening process, the bigger the dividends down the road.
Dave Sullivan graduated from Western Michigan University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He started in the mortgage industry as a loan officer in 1991. Less than one year later started selling credit reports to Mortgage Companies, Banks and Credit Unions.
On September 19, 1997, he started AIR Credit Midwest out of his car. Over the next two years, Air Credit Midwest grew to a multi-million dollar company. In 2000 he was approached by one of the largest credit reporting bureau’s in the nation to purchase AIR Credit Midwest. He sold it and worked for that company as Sales Manager of the Michigan and Ohio market for the next ten years. During his career in the credit industry, he has personally reviewed thousands of credit reports and credit scores.
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