“Life would be grand if we could sprinkle a few seeds in the ground, fertilize, add water…and a great sales person would sprout.” So writes Lee B. Salz in a post at The Customer Collective, an online community for sales and marketing professionals. But, says Salz, a sales coach, when small businesses “attempt to steal the crops from their competitors” as a way to acquire sales talent, what they’re pursuing is a “pipedream.” It’s no secret that printing companies have been known to lure sales representatives away from each other. Salz says that when they do so, they risk being deluded by one or more of the following “myths” about recruiting from rivals: "Hiring from the competitor means the sales person will hit the ground running with no training." "Our industry is so complex that we must hire a sales person from within it." "They're going to bring a book of business with them." "We're a little firm and we could really use a sales person that comes from one of our large competitors." "Since they have been in the industry, they are passionate about it and passion sells." Salz punctures these myths with some unforgiving observations about peripatetic sales reps. Those who can be hired away probably come from “the bottom 20% that, truth be told, the company is glad to see leave.” Their loyalty will be questionable, and it’s much more difficult for them to bring clients along than their new employers may realize. What’s more, says Salz, “Sales people who bounce from company to company in an industry become ‘vanilla,'” i.e., drained of passion. His advice to small firms: grow your own sales talent by training the reps you have and by interviewing prospects against the profile of your “ideal” candidate whether they worked for the competition or not. In these ultra-competitive times, what is your printing company doing to attract and keep the sales talent it needs?