It’s been an interesting time in the world of Pearl Lemon.
We’re growing quickly and as part of that journey, I hired / am hiring sales people.
One of them came from an internal recommendation.
So we negotiated a salary.
He was previously (when living in London) being paid £30,000.
I offered him £24k for the probation period (12-weeks) with a view to moving to £27k after that.
As he’d moved back outside of London and didn’t have London’s living wages it seemed like a fair balance.
He accepted and we began.
One of the issues that became apparent was that his machine was slow and that was a challenge of the role.
So I also bought him a new laptop for work.
Day 1 was intense, with us working together and making dials and trying to storm the phones for our clients.
He started on a Friday, and then we moved into the weekend.
Now the nature of my style is intense.
Often overwhelming at times…and there are expectations I’ll have from a technical standpoint and working relationship standpoint that are important to me.
Interestingly – because Matthew came via a recommendation – he didn’t go through the usual Pearl Lemon due diligence process.
This is the onboarding process, recording a video introduction, doing a Whatsapp interview (or rather he did do all of these) – but then importantly – the one-day then one-week gut check.
When we give him menial tasks that test his will to stay involved and desire to be part of the Pearl Lemon team.
Also…as I’ve grown used to some of my team spreading their work out over the weekends – it means I’m often responding to messages as well.
And Matthew was coming into a relatively high-pressure role.
We have multiple clients and not enough people on the phones making dials.
So over the weekend, I sent some messages about things to have ready for Monday.
And then Matthew asked – ‘can we have a quick call?’.
By this stage, he’d already been introduced to one of our clients and had made some calls for a couple of them.
‘Deepak this isn’t working for me – I find it too intense and unacceptable that you sent me messages over the weekend – I found it invasive’.
And so Matthew handed in his resignation.
He finished the same day and then returned the laptop I’d just bought him.
And so I was back down to none.
With this…I reflected upon it….
What could I change?
- I’d make it much much more explicit that coming in it was critical to set up Whatsapp for Business to have a dedicated channel for work
- I’d underline that there would be pressure and a learning curve at the beginning that would make for a hard slope to climb?
- Also, I’d ease off in terms of my pressure
And so the next person came along – Gary.
Gary, I found via People Per Hour.
In fact, he was someone I’d reached out to over a year ago on People Per Hour and so I had him on Whatsapp.
I reached out again and asked if he was still interested in work.
This time I made even bigger mistakes than I did with Matthew.
I didn’t ask him to go through our onboarding process, I didn’t ask him to fill in our relevant forms and to be tested from a technology perspective.
I simply asked if he could do 10 hours of work with us and see how he got along.
I was relatively desperate to find someone and not having any luck from the various direct messages I was sending to salespeople I knew, from asking some of my team if they knew anybody to the abysmal responses we were getting from the adverts we put out….
And so Gary came in.
Let me tell you a little bit about Gary.
Gary is 53 years old, sounds a little like a used car salesman and as I would discover….
Had ‘dodgy’ internet, an old iMac from 2013, and an iPhone 5 that wouldn’t update to get the software (Aircall) we needed on his phone to make the dials.
Gary’s actual calling ability seemed solid enough – but as it’d turn out – all of the rest of it really wasn’t stacking up.
So the first week was very stressful for Gary from an administrative standpoint.
In spite of my attempts to make the transition into Pearl Lemon as smooth as possible – much of it which he enjoyed….these challenges kept bubbling away.
On client calls he had bad internet, on our weekly call for internal training, there was feedback from his machine.
And we were concerned about things…we shouldn’t really of been concerned about.
Things came to a head when this Monday (his 2nd week of starting) – he was due to come online at 10 am. I got a ‘hello Dee’ at 1015am and then nothing until around 2 pm.
During that time I’d asked him ‘how’s it going? ‘are you dialling’ and had called him 2x with no answer…to then get a message back from his explaining he’d finally sorted out his internet.
‘Sorting out his internet’ had been a battle, to begin with and now upon me telling him ‘it wasn’t good enough’ he’d gone radio silent for 4 hours…
Quite aggressively quit over the phone in fact.
And then he was gone….
Salesperson number 2 whom I’d also bought a laptop for quit within 4 days of starting…
What a journey it’s been with both these guys and this overall process.
I’ve made an offer to a friend of mine who handed in his resignation with his current company and will be coming over to Pearl Lemon.
Whilst he hasn’t gone through our onboarding and testing process officially (this could be a fatal flaw?) – as he’s my friend and has a great phone voice…
I’m hopeful things will work out – time will tell of course.
But in general – here are the things I’ve learnt from these two guys quitting:
- Have sales guys always go through the onboarding process
- Make sure they pass the one-week gut check
- Explain to them my expectations with time tracking and integrity
- Explain to them it’s going to be a really difficult first month before it gets better
I think these are the things I need to work upon more.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve made multiple hires – and of them, there are already proving to be a couple of determined/talented few that are beginning to shine.
Let’s hope they stay the path and I don’t see them leave quickly as well.
With Pearl Lemon – the first 12-weeks are always the hardest.