Home > Ideas > If you pay peanuts …

If you pay peanuts …

These days it takes much more to attract good talent. Even a monkey can’t be attracted by offering peanuts – they have moved on to better stuff. And if you are going to be tentative or half – hearted with the Sales effort be prepared to get zilch in return.

A Learning and Development organisation that I was associated with in Kerala had hired a young Sales Executive to promote their training programs. He was a fresher with an MBA from a local college.

I had decided to try them out, due to a strategic advantage they had (I thought they had), to promote my programs. Their Business Development Team was to promote my training solutions and I would part with a commission from the business generated. As a part of the deal I offered to train their Business Development resource for free.

The youngster they hired was offered no salary – I told them upfront that it wouldn’t work. But the Centre Head said that the intern will get a huge benefit by associating with their brand, his market value would go up once he got trained by them and so on. I did not waste any more words but gamely spared time to give the young intern some useful lessons in prospecting and solution selling. I backed up my inputs with reading material – stuff that I give at a cost to regular clients.

The intern had to travel a long distance each day on his own vehicle because their office was not located on the regular Public Transport routes. To add to his woes the Centre Head had a Finance background and hardly any Sales experience. He was isolated and had no support at the workplace. He had never made a Sales Call in his life and was diffident to face the customer.

Would it surprise you to know that he quit in less than 10 days? Fortunately I had not relied heavily on them for results and had other ways to promote my Business plans.

Epilogue – The organisation shut shop permanently a few months back! So much for the power of the brand and value attributed to it.

The message from this anecdote is that you cannot expect people to work for you for free. If you have a powerful brand that automatically pulls customers in you can expect people to pay up front to be your Sales Agent. But if you a new or one among many players in a segment you need to make an investment up front to attract good talent to promote your products.

If you expect your sales partner to invest in order to participate in the process then the returns you promise has to be substantial and the potential in the market needs to be reasonable high. If Insurance or even an MLM company like Amway is able to attract Sales Partners or Advisors its on account of the value built up over a period of time and the business upside available for people who get involved.

Otherwise you need to be willing to pay reasonable returns to the identified talent, at least enough to cover his or her cost, and then train and handhold the person in the early days to prepare them for the long haul.

Even machines need careful handling and running-in to provide efficient service over the promised lifetime. How do you expect quality work from a human resource without any input?

If you are going to risk throwing people into a difficult market without the necessary inputs be prepared to accept the peanuts you will get in return.

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  1. Anantha Kumar
    January 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    The mantra adopted here by the so-called Learning and Development Orgn is a classic recipe for disaster and nothıng short of ıt, sımply bcoz of the fact that they trıed to bestow authorıty and NO accountabılıty..
    In the present generation, 10 days was a reasonably long duration (honestly – consıderıng the background that the guy dıd hıs MBA – unless of course he obtaıned ıt otherwıse). Brand and value do not carry any weıght, unless there ıs a proper projectıon, competıtor analysıs and good focus 2 solıcıt the attentıon of the end-user 2 buy ur theory and thus, Vıtamın M. Yes, ıt ıs ımpossıble for any resource 2 fetch u returns, unless the resource ıs ın proper shape and well-maıntaıned. Wonderfully conceptualızed artıcle and drıves home the poınt from all dırectıons

    • JayadevM
      January 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Anatha, thank you for reading the Post and for sharing your thoughts!

  2. January 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Many Indians, esp. the ones who inherited the trials and tribulations of partition and British oppression, either directly or thru their parents, have a common trait running in their blood – of envy; of not letting the other person get better, even if it’s at the cost of negatively affecting one’s own future! This trait was perhaps immortalized by the extremely popular RIN TV ad – “Uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise” – and best capitalized upon by by Onida – “Neighbour’s envy owner’s pride”.

    As a result, you see many senior and semi-senior Indian execs – whether based inland or abroad – have a subliminal tendency to repress any new entrants, juniors, and others who they feel are better than them – even if it’s by just an iota!! Or you see there’s an inborn tendency to get work done FOC – perhaps taking the credit of doing the work himself.

    Mentoring at the workplace is rarely visible in majority of the Indian companies. Paying an individual adequately is more or less replaced by polarity of compensation across the board – creating the infamous divide of the “haves” and “have nots”. Is it then surprising that the so called “We’re the most sought after employers” continue to dog the professional sector, even today, after so many years?

    • JayadevM
      January 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Shantanu,

      So true! It calls for inspired and forward-thinking Managers to buck this trend.

      Earlier today someone sent me a note saying its OK that India lost to Australia in the Test Series because England (the No.1 ranked side) lost to Pakistan! Instead of trying to find ways for India to improve we are consoling ourselves with someone else’s loss.

      When we are caught in such negative cycles there would be no improvement – we enjoy the rut we are in so long as the others are in it too. And when they break out of it we get envious instead of working harder on our improvement.

      Growth and Progress happens when people break the vicious cycle and seek a new trajectory!

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