How to hire good salesmen


How do I go about hiring good salesmen? Have had guys in the past with no drive, they couldn’t reach company goals that I know I have reached in the past on my own. They slacked alot. Any help is appreciated


It is a numbers game, especially if you’re hiring for straight commission 1099. Unless you figure out some magic formula that no one else has, you’ll go through 10 to 20 to find one keeper.

Here are the sad facts, at least as I see them. 95% of the people in the world who call themselves sales people are horrible. They’re lazy, unskilled and they do absolutely nothing in terms of practice or self education to improve themselves. Do high school, college or pro athletes just show up for games? Or do they practice, study game film and do other things that help their skills 5 to 20 hours (or more) for every hour they play in competition? Why then do people who expect to make their living expect to make $100K by going out selling 20 to 30 hours per week?

So you ask, how can those 95% survive? Very simple. Because the majority of the time, they’re competing against the other 94%. In most cases, the buyer purchases from someone despite their best efforts to lose the sale.

Then there is the 5%. That 5% is comprised of those that have some level of skill, some level of dedication and a reasonable level of work ethic. And they have some level of passion. None of the 5% have all those attributes combined though. And then you have the 0.1% that have passion, their work ethic is superb, they have good to great natural skills, and they bring that all together by constantly seeking out training, reading books, etc… That 0.1% are called Rainmakers.

If any of that 95% runs up against a Rainmaker, they are wasting their time. They have no chance whatsoever. For the most part, that is true if they try to compete with the 5%. Occasionally, one of the 5% may pull out a win against a Rainmaker, but not often.

So there you go. 5% is 1 in 20. So you have a 1 in 20 chance of finding one of the 5%. 0.1% is 1 in 1000. That’s your odds of finding a true rainmaker.

So what do you do? Try to find some of the 5%. Try to at least get 95%'ers that have a good attitude and are honest. Have a solid process in your company. Advertise wisely. Unless you’re different than most owners, if you somehow ever get a Rainmaker, you’ll likely lose them because you’ll get greedy and never want to pay them what they’re actually worth.

I hope that helps.


How much are they worth? The last owner I worked for was great. Then he got greedy and started ripping us all off… sad but true. I just started my own company and want to be like he was! At first!


I just had my roof replaced, so it’s fresh in my mind, and I’ll provide info from a customer perspective, in case that helps.
It was a major cost project for me, so I had a lot of learning to do first on it to know what I wanted.
I don’t know what the potential for ‘upgrade pricing’ is in any of these things, but I’m sure I paid more in various ways.

I wanted open valleys, the salesman was recommending closed California cut closed valleys. Glad I stuck with the open valleys.

I wanted the ridge vents, the salesman was recommending mountain ridge (Certainteed) for the ridges. but not ridge vents. Glad I went with the ridge vents, which I think added a bit more labor, and a bit more materials for the ‘venting’ material, which seems like it was then just put under the mountain ridge shingles(?).

The standard seems to be to paint all the vents/flashings to match the roof color to try to hide them.
I don’t think the standard works - it’s still easy to see them, and they’re still ugly.
So I wanted to try to make them look better, and while the roofer didn’t think it was the best idea, they would do it :slight_smile:
So I got these for some of the roof vents/flashings from Lifetimetools dot com - and I wish there were more options similar for the other types of roof vents.

I wanted drip edge vents, since I don’t have soffits - They talked me out of that. I’m not sure yet if I should have stuck to it on that one. Neither of the salespeople I talked to had heard of them. One was a 1099, one was not.

Another suggestion… if you’re working with a 1099 salesperson, make sure all things get into the final docs before it happens. I changed colors with the 1099 salesperson, and it never made it into the final docs. But I’m actually glad it didn’t - I like my new roof with the original color I had selected while the salesguy was there. Changes many other things, but none of them definite beforehand anyway.

He’s my final roof, and am glad I had them replace all fascia boards in the process…

Now I just need to fix the rest of the house to match how good the roof looks :slight_smile:

In the end, what I wanted more from the salespeople, was more to educate me on the options available, the pros and cons of those options, alternative things that could be worthwhile to consider.
Would have liked 3 of these to be used -
But that’s a pretty minor thing in the end, and I can probably get the rain gutter guy to add those when that project is done.

How to find that salesperson that does all these things? I don’t have a clue.
But as a customer, that’s really what I wanted.

A new roof is too big of an investment to not get it done good.
And a bad salesman that is just there to ‘take down the order for a new job’ doesn’t cut it for me.
In defense of the salesman here - I was also looking to do solar, so they sent a guy that knew that side really well.
Cost was too much, so I didn’t do solar, and I think because of that he lost interest as a 1099 salesman.

I’m coming up on my 54th b-day, and I think this roof will last me another 30 years, so I think I’m probably good until death do us part…