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The 16-Minute Exercise That Turns New Sales Hires into Top Performers 3X Faster

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I always have lived by the motto, “Time and pressure make diamonds.”
In business, we always have enough pressure but never enough time.

This being said, when new hires start in sales, marketing, or any department, I do something with everyone which is extremely unconventional -- yet always yields amazing results.

First, I set the expectation their first day will be unlike anything they've been through before. I also share the fact that every single person in the company has been through the same process, which highlights the common bond the training creates.

Second, I introduce them to the HR onboarding manager to go through the necessary procedures.

That normally takes the first part of the day. Then the real challenge begins.

I sit the new hire down at a desk in the corner with only four things on it:

  1. A pen
  2. A piece of paper
  3. A phone
  4. A one-page summary of what our product does

I give them 15 minutes to study the material and return with the challenge.

In my hand is a piece of paper with 10 numbers. 

“Please dial these and do your best to sell our product.”

Often the most common reaction is an open mouth.

I hear comments like “I don’t know their names” or “I’ve never done this before.” But I insist, telling them that I will be here to listen.

On average it takes four dials for them to connect with someone. Then all hell breaks loose.

The new employee doesn’t know how to introduce themselves. Some of them open with “Hi, this is [name] from [company name]; how are you today?” -- and immediately receive verbal abuse.

Others panic and start apologizing. Some people just get up and walk out. I never ask them back.

For most people, the call lasts about 30 seconds to a minute, with the new employee sweating profusely and looking up at me in distress.

I extend my hand and state:

“Welcome to the family.”

What you have gone through today gives you an idea of how important each and every person is in this room.

Without Marketing, how will people recognize our name when you state it at the start of the call?

Without Sales, who else is there to take the endless pain and suffering of daily rejection

Without Engineering and Product, who can create something amazing enough to captivate and maintain the customer's interest?

Without HR, who is there to support us during our highs and our lows?

After that one minute, you now understand everything behind our business.

You can look forward to every single day you spend at this company -- because every single moment from now on will be better than this.”

Creating a moment of intense pressure accomplishes three things:

  1. It creates a permanent bond between all members of the company
  2. It instills an appreciation for the function of every department
  3. It establishes an all-time low, making all future difficulties feel minor in comparison

Back to my original adage: Time and pressure make diamonds. Through trial by fire, I create more diamonds and in a fraction of the time.

Do you agree with me, or am I taking this concept too far? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Editor's note: This originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with permission.

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