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SHOULD YOU HIRE A “GRIZZLED SALES VETERAN” OR A FRESH-FACED GRADUATE FOR YOUR NEXT SALESPESON?

All of us are unique. No matter who you are or where you’ve come from, we all have a significant and exciting set of skills to bring to the table. Each of us comes with strengths and weaknesses, despite our age, background, or education.

While some companies lean towards hiring a more experienced salesforce, others go in the opposite direction and seem to prefer a younger generation. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages.

Coachability

We are all familiar with the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” and while this may not be entirely true, people can become set in their ways – especially salespeople. While a more experienced sales team has many benefits, one of their downfalls is that they may have developed a routine over the years – specific techniques and methodologies that may be hard to change, even if they aren’t working well.

A younger salesperson may be easier to coach and mold. Like a fresh lump of clay, there is less of a challenge in shaping them in any way you like. Often these fresh graduates are more open to new ideas and may be more willing to implement new strategies.

Autonomy

Having a team of independent salespeople is essential. It means less need for direction and a higher level of confidence that the job is getting done and getting done right. Generally speaking, the more experienced a salesperson is, the higher the level of independence they will exhibit. After spending years working in the same field, they know their job like the back of their hand.

A newcomer to the industry likely won’t show the same level of autonomy. In fact, they may need their hand to be held – at least for a little while. They will need to be shown the ropes, requiring many resources until they gain the confidence necessary for self-sufficiency.

Experience

Experience is something that obviously can’t be taught. It comes with years of practice and is one reason why hiring older employees can be much more appealing. When you’ve worked in the industry for a while, you get to know it inside and out – no matter how many years of schooling you’ve undergone, it’s something you just can’t learn from a book or professor.

While younger generations may be eager to learn, even this excitement can’t replace the experience that comes with age.

Compensation

Along with experience also comes an increased expectation for higher compensation rates. Older salespeople expect to get paid more based on their years of knowledge, while there is a general expectation that new graduates will get paid less based on their lack of experience.

While salespeople are entitled to a profitable income – after all, the success of your business depends on them – some budgets may not be able to accommodate a team of highly accomplished salespeople.

Find the best of both worlds

Sometimes, businesses assume that they must choose between experience and enthusiasm, but this doesn’t have to be the case. The best possible sales team is a blend of both worlds – your younger members keeping the company up-to-date on the newest trends while the more experienced staff acting as mentors and role models for the next generation.