A home building company can have the best-built houses, implement cutting-edge marketing and sales training strategies, and artfully merchandise its homes. These are all important factors in success, but they do not drive a business. Talent does. If, for example, you have a recurring marketing problem in your company, then you should hire a more talented person to run your marketing department—someone with the skills to overcome the challenges. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?

I’ll go even further and contend that you can build a major enterprise by simply surrounding yourself with the best people you can find. Talent draws—and keeps—talent. People want to work with and for professionals they can respect and learn from. It’s that kind of effectual circle you should integrate in your career at every level—from the leader at the top of the company’s pyramid all the way to the people at the base of the organization.

The reality is that to have the best talent, you must hire the best people, and if you don’t have a process for recruiting, hiring, and training competent salespeople, you’re going to end up employing unsuitable team members. And that will cost you—in lost sales and marketing dollars, wasted salaries, and a drain on your energy. The ability to build a successful team is essential to the enterprise. Can you hear the dripping profits here?

Don’t take this responsibility nonchalantly. Invest the time in developing a process that will be followed for every new hire. Establish how to evaluate a prospective salesperson, hiring terms, performance expectations (including working within the team), and all the other details that go into a cohesive recruitment program. Set up checklists of required skills, knowledge, and experience, including track record.

A potential home buyer wouldn’t go out and spend $450,000 or more on a brand new home without massive due diligence. They make sure it meets their needs and can fulfill their expectations. Prospects shop by elimination, running through the features of the home and matching them up to their own checklist. Use that same, logical approach to recruitment:

—Hire for attitude, not merely experience. Twenty years of experience sounds good, but doesn’t speak to results, only duration.

—Hire by process of elimination. Don’t rely on instinct or feelings.

—Don’t wait until you need someone to fill the position. Build a bench. Desperation leads to bad choices.

Sales Team Compensation: Are You Overpaying for Under Production?