Recruiting for Your Sales Team? 5 Rules for Preventing Job Offer Turn Downs

Recruiting for Your Sales Team? 5 Rules for Preventing Job Offer Turn Downs

It’s no secret that recruiting sales talent is a is a challenge.

If you’ve gone through the interview process with multiple candidates and have finally winnowed it down to one final choice, it’s painful when your finalist turns down your job offer.

If you’re working hard to recruit the top 20%, job offer rejection will happen. It’s not only acceptable but inevitable. Part of recruiting the best is getting turned down.

Recruiting top sales talent is always competitive.

They have lots of choices. But it shouldn’t happen too often because it burns through too many resources and takes too much time. Having your offer turned down means you have two choices.

You can hire your second best candidate, or you can start the recruiting process all over again.

When the gap between first and second choice isn’t too large, hiring the second-best candidate is your best outcome. In other instances you must start the search all over again.

Use these 5 Rules to Prevent Job Offer Rejection

#1 — Make Compelling Offers

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It’s highly likely that a compelling offer for a top salesperson is out of your comfort zone. The reason for this is that according to the Pareto principle if you have 10 people on your enterprise sales team, only two of them are bringing in 80% of your new business.

So your sales team would be hobbled and destroyed overnight if your top two salespeople left.

If you have 20 salespeople on your enterprise team, four reps are are bringing in 80% of the new business.

If someone were to encourage one of your current top sales reps to leave, ask yourself the following questions:

  •  What would they have to pay?

  •  What would they have to say?

  •  What would they need to leave behind their pipeline?

  • What about next month’s already earned commissions?

Hopefully, these questions have you thinking about the kind of offer it would take to capture a top reps’ attention.

It’s probably more money that you initially planned and budgeted.

Keep in mind, what’s compelling to one person isn’t necessarily appealing to another. Therefore it’s important to investigate and understand the underlying motivations of the individual you’re trying to recruit.  

A strong job offer is in the eye of the beholder.

Even for top salespeople, after a certain amount of money, the value of an extra dollar diminishes and belonging to or joining an organization is more about “something else.”

This “something else” has been the conversation human resources has been having across the country for the last three years.

If this “something else” remains outside your purview, you won’t be able to recruit a top sales rep for your team.

 #2 — Make Smart Profile Sacrifices

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Here’s the bad news, if you can’t produce a winning offer that will attract your ideal sales candidate, make strategic sacrifices.


No one wants to hear this as a viable option. But keep in mind, the sooner you realize you aren’t a contender for your ideal’s next dream sales job, the quicker you’ll be able to scoop up the best talent you can recruit.

Someone who’s within your means and budget.

If you can’t generate a competitive offer on par with the other offers all top salespeople are likely to attract, making a few recruiting profile “requirement” sacrifices is viable and necessary change.  

There are several ways to go about doing this. For one, instead of sacrificing Sales DNA you could recruit sales candidates who have less industry experience.

Sure, maybe they take longer to ramp up requiring more training and guidance.

But after the initial time investment, you could still end up having hired a top 20% sales producer.

Don’t conflate eliminating a few bottleneck requirements with lowering the caliber of your sales hire. Removing or adjusting a specific requirement could mean that the learning curve will be steeper, but hire smart, and they’ll be up and running in no time.

Teaching a few industry nuances is not much of a price to pay for someone with the right sales attitude, skills, and drive.

#3 — Don’t Lose Momentum

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Recruiting follows a natural cadence. Mess with it at your own peril! If you have finished the first interview, schedule the next interview promptly.

Don’t let this slide.

Waiting for two weeks to arrange a next step is self-sabotage.

Candidates will lose enthusiasm for your sales role. 

Prevent “time-leaks" by outlining the interview process in advance. Assign colleagues to certain roles and stick to the process.

Get others involved if you’re not sure about every step but keep the interview process moving!  

It will help you sustain candidate interest and increase the likelihood you’ll be able to hire the salespeople you want.

#4 — Don’t Brush off Benefits —They’re Not Inconsequential

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It can be tempting to brush over benefits but it’s imprudent. They used to be a side item for applicants. But today’s employees find them important.

Anthem Inc. discovered via their own research that 35% of Millennials turned down offers because the benefits were sub-par.  

Know “the basics” of your benefits so you can discuss them if you need to.

If your benefits are outstanding, chances are you have a one-page benefits summary you can forward along to candidates.

However, there are still a lot of companies out there who have less than attractive benefits. If that’s you, there’s no point in glossing over it because it will come back to bite you at offer time.

If you’re expecting to make an offer to a candidate for the same salary they’re making today (When will this trend stop?!) and your benefits require an additional $800 out-of-pocket expenses every month, this may give most candidates cold feet.

As a result, you may get your job offer turned down and you may feel surprised about it.

Consider this your fair warning!

Take into account the company your top candidate is exiting probably offers strong benefits. And if joining your team leads to additional out-of-pocket expenses, you may get your job turned down.

#5 – Never Under Estimate the Power of Your Relationship with Applicants

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The days of flying into a city and meeting five candidates back-to-back and expecting to hire one out of the gate are pretty much over for hiring managers.

If you want to hire a top-notch salesperson, you must spend time with them.

Never forget the reason most people leave their jobs.

Outside of remuneration, they leave because of their relationship with their direct boss. If you can build a solid relationship with your potential new hire and they can imagine themselves working for you, they will be more likely to accept your offer.

They will want to be a part of your growing sales team.

How do you build a relationship with your prospective new hire? You invest in the relationship before there are any returns.

Have important conversations with your potential new hires.

Discuss topics outside of the job itself.  

Find out more about them as an individual. Ask them questions about their personal and professional goals. Make sure they know you see them as a human rather than just another rep with a quota to deliver.  

New Sales Hires are Your Future

Hiring top sales talent is more competitive than ever. The organizations we work for impact our lives and the lives of others.

Accepting a job offer implies that the new employee believes in the company, the value they create, and the leadership team.

If you want your company to expand and thrive in today’s fast changing environment, you’ll need new employees.

Use these tips to minimize job offer turn downs and build the sales team you need to grow your company, advance your career, and deliver on your goals.

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