The Sales Person's First Day
By Lee B. Salz
Companies think that once the sales person agrees to join their
company that the goal has been accomplished. The truth is that this
is only one more step of the process and there is still much work to
great day at Newman Industries today! For the last month, they have
been actively recruiting a hot candidate to join their sales team.
Today, Steven Harmon agreed to join them. They see him as a true
rainmaker. The recruiter and sales manager share high-fives. Mission
accomplished! Spike the ball in the end zone. The job is done! The
competition was fierce for Steven, but Newman Industries won.
Newman Industries was celebrating, Steven resigned his position with
his present employer and enjoyed a celebratory dinner with his wife.
That night, Steven lay in bed wondering if he made the right
decision. He came to terms with his decision and looks forward to
his first day at the company.
8:28 am when Steven arrives for his first day at Newman Industries.
He is excited while also apprehensive. When Steven walks into the
office and introduces himself to the receptionist, he is surprised
to hear, "Oh, I didn't know we had a new person starting today. Who
did you say you were here to see?" Steven brushes this off as it is
not completely foreign for the receptionist not to be notified about
a new employee joining a company.
receptionist calls around and tells Steven that he is in the right
place, but his manager Jamie has not arrived yet. Steven sits in the
lobby as person after person walks by without saying a word.
at 9:10 am, Jamie walks in carrying a Starbucks coffee. She greets
Steven in the lobby and takes him to his cubicle. Steven is
surprised by what he sees. The cubicle looks like it belongs to
someone else. Jamie explains that they had a sales person leave the
company the other day and that they had not had a chance to remove
his stuff. "I have an idea," sputters Jamie, "Since I have a meeting
to run to, why don't you get rid of this stuff and then we can get
together at 10 am. Here is a garbage can. Thanks."
agrees, but is also a little miffed. "I signed up to sell, not
provide janitorial services," he thinks. While cleaning out the
desk, he finds a farewell card in the top drawer that is signed by
all of the Newman employees. He thinks it is thoughtful that they
recognized this employee as he left the company.
10:30 am when Jamie returns to Steven. She notices that there isn't
a computer set-up for Steven in the cubicle. She calls the IT
department to see where it is. She hangs up the phone and looks
annoyed. She turns to Steven and tells him that HR forgot to notify
the IT department. "They won't have your computer ready for a couple
turns to Steven and says, "I have another meeting to run to, but
let's have lunch. Here is a bunch of stuff to read for now." Jamie
produces a one foot high pile of wrinkled papers and says, "That
should get you started."
time comes and Jamie hurriedly comes by the cubicle and asks Steven
how he is doing. She then proceeds to apologize, but tells him that
she cannot go to lunch. She explains that she got called into
another meeting. She suggests that Steven go out and get lunch on
his own. "We can get together at 1 pm," says Jamie. "By the way
Steven, can you grab a burger for me too? I'll pay you when you get
back to the office."
leaves for lunch and is starting to question his decision to join
Newman. He thinks back to the interview process and how attentive
the team was with him. He remembers how aggressively they recruited
him to join their team. He thinks about how warm and welcoming the
management group was in their pursuit of him. Today, he feels like a
third wheel on a date.
comes back to the office with Jamie's burger. It's now 1 pm and
Steven is hoping that Jamie has some time for him. Jamie comes by
Steven's cubicle and thanks him for the burger. She asks Steven to
come by her office at 2 pm so they can talk about his territory.
Steven sits in his cubicle and flips through the pile of papers left
for him. All the while, employees walk past his cubicle without ever
saying a word.
pm comes, Steven goes to Jamie's office. Jamie explains that the
sales team is in a bit of a transition and the compensation plan is
changing. Thus, there is no compensation plan to share with Steven
that day. The territory is also in flux, but that should be resolved
in the next two weeks. After chatting with Jamie for about a half
hour, Steven returns to his cubicle. The rest of his day is more of
the same and at 5 pm he heads for home.
wife asks about his first day. Steven says, "I'm really happy that I
didn't pull my resume off the job boards or tell the recruiters that
I was off the market because I don't know if this is going to work
out. We'll have to see."
truth is that Newman Industries is really a fine company. They just
made a very common mistake when hiring sales people. They worked so
hard to recruit Steven that they celebrated prematurely. The company
thought that they had Steven when he accepted the offer. That was
their error. They failed to recognize that they had only completed
the next step of the process. What is missing is a program to ensure
the impression made in the recruiting and interview process is
continued when the person arrives on their first day. Many of you
reading this probably think I made up that story about Steven. The
truth is that this story is an amalgam of the many horror stories
that I have heard over the years from sales people.
together a new hire welcoming program isn't overly difficult to do.
However, it takes commitment on the part of the entire management
team to ensure it is followed. Think back to the story. Steven found
a card that was given to the employee on the way out. How about a
welcome card for Steven that is placed in his clean cubicle that has
everything he needs to do his job? Office supplies, new hire
paperwork, a PC, a who's who list, a phone that is ready for use,
etc. Again, it's not hard to do this, but requires some thought.
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