The Sale Isn’t Final Until You Receive Payment
***GUEST BLOGGER Angelo Giallombardo***
Tale of the Sale:
A Global Manufacturer of Adhesives for the Packaging industry based in Europe was expanding their sales team in the United States. They had only been selling their adhesives in the US for 5 years and had grown their organic sales from zero to 5MM dollars. The National Sales Manager called our company to inquire about hiring 2 new Sales Reps. in the US. They knew we were Recruiting Industry Experts in Packaging and Adhesives markets with over 30 years of proven success with global manufacturers. The assignment was a “no-brainer” for our firm. We were certain we would fill the roles with the talented candidates we know in the industry.
We spoke on the phone with the hiring managers in Western Europe, and within 3 days we had a signed fee agreement to start the contingency search. The National Sales Manager outlined the criteria and critical experience required to be considered for their Sales openings. Initially, we were hamstrung by extremely tight requirements of Engineering degrees with up to 5 years of Sales experience.
In our 1st conversation, we discussed a candidate I wanted to present to them, but they knew this candidate already. They wanted me to identify other candidates because they weren’t sure they wanted to hire him.
We identified 12 candidates for their review, and they conducted phone interviews with 4 of them. They met 3 of them face to face at their US Headquarters, but they weren’t sold on any of them. Ultimately, they hired the 1st candidate we both knew whom we talked about during our 1st conversation. We were left empty handed, for the time being, after 3 months of contingency work on the project. We parted on good terms and hoped to work together in the future.
Fast forward 2 months later when we received a call from the National Sales Manager saying that we should start to search again for another ideal candidate because the 1st candidate wasn’t working out for them. He had been using the company credit card for unauthorized purchases, not visiting customers, lying about his whereabouts, and not fulfilling his promises.
We began the search again, and quickly identified 13 new candidates that we started to evaluate for the opportunity. Within a month, the company began phone interviews with 6 new candidates. After the phone interviews, we agreed to set up meetings at the Pack Expo in Chicago and at their US Headquarters. 4 of the 6 candidates presented themselves extremely well, and soon enough we had identified 3 of candidates to move forward to the final interview steps, or so we thought.
Shortly after the face to face meetings, we were told that the Vice President of the company wanted to conduct a final phone interview from Europe. In early December, we set up this phone interview with all 3 candidates. We were told that after these final phone interviews, we would be extending an offer. We relayed that message to the candidates.
Therefore, after the final phone interview we waited a week to hear from the Human Resources Manager in Europe. She asked us to extend a verbal offer to one of the Sales Reps. in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the US. She outlined the compensation and offer details. I called the Sales Rep. to talk about compensation and a verbal offer. He spent two days thinking about the terms and asked for some clarification on the offer details. After some deliberation, the company provided some details. The candidate verbally accepted the role and we discussed a January start date. The last step was to have the offer in writing.
After 2 days, the candidate called to ask, “Do you any updates on the final written offer?” I did not have the offer in-hand, so I inquired with the HR manager in Europe. The next day she emailed me to say they had changed their hiring process. The CEO of the company got involved and requested a final interview and sales presentation at their US Headquarters in January PRIOR to extending the written offer.
I called the candidate to ask him to meet in January. He was very upset and non-committal. He stated, “They have already extended an offer to me and now they want me to interview the CEO before sending me the written offer. Is this the type of company I want to work with?” The Sales Rep. felt mis-lead. He had another offer on the table with another company and he wanted to take the other offer because it allowed him to start at the beginning of the year the first week of January. All in all, we lost the deal because of the company mis-communication and not having standard procedures in place during in the hiring process.
Lessons Learned From this Tale of The Sale:
After sending 25 qualified candidates, spending countless hours on the telephone consulting with the candidates and client, and working on the project for over 10 months, the sales did not go through. Even after we had a verbal offer acceptance, somehow the sale slipped through our hands. We did everything right on our part yet one small mis-step and mis-communication at the end of the hiring process ended up scaring the Sales Rep. away from final acceptance of the job, and understandably so. The three valuable lessons we take away from this are:
1. Trust is built over time but can be destroyed in a few seconds.
2. When dealing with people, we are at the mercy of others. We are often just along for the ride, and we can only control our own actions, thoughts, feelings, and words.
3. And finally, ask for payment sooner rather than later. Sales are only FINALIZED when we receive payment for our products or services that we provide.
Angelo Giallombardo is an Executive Recruiter for over 16 years in the Packaging, Pressure Sensitive Adhesives, Chemicals, Polymers, Plastics, and Industrial Manufacturing markets. He is the Vice President of Central Executive Search Inc. for over 16 years, and he is the President of Central Candidates Search, a sister company to Central Executive Search that helps determined 6 Figure earners to secure a job in the niche markets he serves.
His accomplishments include a record-breaking recruiting year in 2016 and 2017, Certified Personnel Consultant Certification in 2007, the #1 LinkedIn Profile and Authority in his market segment, and a #1 Best Selling Author of the book “You Got the Job! Turn Your Career Dreams into Reality” He has dedicated his life to helping job seekers with their career advancement and job searches. He now shares his insights, expertise with the hiring process, and proven career advancement system with the world in hopes of making a massive impact in the day-to-day lives of career professionals.