Jo Anne Schiller hired recently-retired sales reps, who already know the territory and can work on commission alone.
When Jo Anne Schiller lost her job in publishing, she rejected retirement to start her own publishing company, Everyday Learning, developing a core curriculum in math for elementary schools. Fittingly, she recruited her first 10 sales reps from the ranks of the newly retired.
The reps, aged 55 to 65, helped jump-start sales in nine regions they'd been working in for years, which included Illinois, New York, and Texas. They agreed to work on straight commission, since they'd retired with pensions or accepted early-retirement packages. "They can afford to take the time to help us build this up," says Schiller, who is 55.
She first hired a salesperson she knew from her old job, who tapped fellow retired reps and who now heads sales. The marketing and customer-service managers were also plucked from retirement and given equity in the Evanston, Ill., company. With fifth-year sales topping $2 million, Everyday Learning is in the black and on the blackboards at 2,000 schools.
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For the free 16-page booklet How to Recruit Older Workers, call Joan Kelly at the American Association of Retired Persons at 202-434-2092.