Finding New Sales Talent In “The Great Resignation”

Posted February 11, 2022 at 11:49 am

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Troy Harrison. Look for the full version of this article in a future issue of Textile Services magazine.

Are you finding it hard to hire good salespeople? If you are, you’re not alone. Nearly everyone I talk to when I speak at conferences asks me about the sales hiring outlook in 2022. Too many companies are running short staffed, losing sales coverage and bandwidth, and losing opportunities. The truth is that if you have a fully staffed and skilled sales team right now, you’re probably doing a number on your competition – and you’re the exception, not the rule.

So, what if you are having difficulty staffing your sales team? Some will attribute this to the effects of the COVID pandemic and the various governmental interventions that have surrounded it – but as I’ve been saying since the start, COVID has merely accelerated the trends in the sales profession that were already happening. And a declining pool of sales talent is one of those trends. So, let’s look beyond the existing pool of sales talent.

In my opinion and experience, teachers are a great source of potential sales talent. And the time is right. In 2021, a Rand Corp. survey showed that 25% of all current teachers were considering leaving the profession. In January 2022, an NEA survey upped that to 51%. While education is absolutely an important profession to our country and society, we’re talking about sales and our businesses here – so let’s see if we can make lemons out of lemonade. First, why would teachers make great salespeople? There are several reasons.

  1. They are great communicators.
  2. They are patient.
  3. They understand structure and rules, but balance it with independent activity.
  4. Sales is usually a large leap forward in terms of income.

So, you’re sold on trying to recruit burned-out teachers now? Good. Hold your horses, though; there are a few things you must do in order to succeed at this.

  1. Use a quality third-party assessment to determine if their underlying traits are a good match for the trait pattern that succeeds in YOUR sales environment.
  2. Use behavioral interviewing techniques to bring out relevant situations they have likely encountered in life as well as in their career path.
  3. Onboard correctly, with a particular focus on the first 90 days after the hire.
  4. Coach, train and develop.

Two of the best salespeople that ever worked for me came directly from the teaching profession. I used the four techniques above to help them get into their new jobs and be productive, and they put up big numbers. In fact, within a year, each one was among my top people. You can do it too, if you put your mind to it. There’s a world of talent out there just waiting to be brought into our great profession.

Troy Harrison is the author of “Sell Like You Mean It!”, “The Pocket Sales Manager” and a speaker, consultant and sales navigator. He helps companies build more profitable and productive sales forces. To schedule a free 45-minute sales strategy review, call 913.645.3603 or email