Why you need to hire hustlers not sales veterans for your startup!

by Steli Efti

hustlers

How to find the best sales talent for your cash-strapped startup? Hint: it’s not where 90% of entrepreneurs search.

Most founders look for salespeople in all the wrong places: job boards, recruiting sites, LinkedIn, Craigslist, etc. What’s the problem with these sites? After all, the people you'll find there are looking for a sales job.

You know who the only salespeople are who are actively looking for sales jobs?

Bad salespeople.

The good ones are too good at selling to be out of work. And the last thing you want is a bad salesperson. Be aware of all the risks of hiring your first sales person at your startup!

If you want to get good professional salespeople, you need great compensation plans, big bonuses, expensive perks, predictable and scalable sales models, a brand, and operational infrastructure.

As an early-stage startup, you most likely can’t offer that.

Don’t look for salespeople. Look for salespeople material

Look for people who have the emotional and mental blueprint of a great startup hustler. This kind of person typically doesn’t want to be a salesperson though. They usually have other goals and aspirations in life.

Help them view the sales job at your startup as a step that brings them closer to achieving their long-term goals. Many startup hustlers have founder aspirations in the long-term.

Find those entrepreneurial youngsters and give them a chance to grow in your organization while applying their natural "hustle" power. So how do you spot someone who could be a great startup salesperson?

Characteristics of great startup hustlers

These are the key questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do they have hustler DNA? Are they willing to do what it takes?
  • Do they have an entrepreneurial spirit?
  • Are they self-driven and ambitious?
  • Are they competitive and enjoy a good challenge?
  • Do they enjoy communicating and interacting with others?
  • Do they have a high tolerance for pain? Can they handle rejection well?

Are they coachable? Are they willing to listen and learn, willing to try new methods? Are they receptive to advice and can they handle critical feedback?

Where do you find startup sales hustlers?

The first place to look for these people is always your own network: friends, acquaintances, fellow founders whose startup just failed or is on a path of failure, family members. Always ask if they know somebody who might be a good fit. The most obvious choices are often overlooked.

Hire for attitude, not experience

In the world of startup sales, you need resourceful and talented people with a good business sense, not trained sales monkeys. Hire for attitude, not experience.

There are many resources that can turn bright people who lack sales expertise into great salespeople. A good place to get started is our 30 day startup sales success email course.