The Common Denominator

We recently spoke at the national convention for EcoWater Systems in Tucson, Ariz. At the dinner, a dealer asked us: “What is the common denominator you have found in all successful water dealers?”

Wow! What a question. At first, we thought there were no features that all successful dealers have in common. The more we thought about it, however, the more we realized there are four factors that are shared by every single successful dealer we know. Below, find the secrets to success that we believe all above-average dealers have—and what you need in order to achieve above-average success.

A Large Sales Team

The first common factor we noticed was that successful dealers have a lot of salespeople. We couldn’t recall any above-average dealers (in terms of numbers sold) who sold by themselves. It is not surprising—you can only do so much by yourself.

I once met a great salesperson who sold 70 residential systems in a single month. That is quite an accomplishment. If a salesperson could meet that goal every month for a year, he or she would sell 840 systems in a single year. Just imagine the time that would take each and every day. A salesperson would have to sell about three systems per working day. We estimate a person would have to average five or six demonstrations every day to accomplish such a feat. Yikes!

How early would you have to start to accomplish that? How long could that level of activity be sustained before fatigue or illness ended the streak? That is why you rarely hear of individuals performing at such a level. It would be a stretch for an individual but not so difficult for a sales team.

Let’s assume a dealer had a hard-working team of average salespeople who did two demos per day and closed 33% of those. Most of you probably agree that this level of activity could be reached and maintained for months. This would mean an average salesperson on the team would do 40 demos per month and sell 12 systems per month. Under these circumstances, a sales team of six average salespeople could easily sell 72 systems per month. The dealer’s team could sell the same volume as the stellar individual sold on his own and still be home for dinner occasionally.

There is absolutely no question that dealers who sell 100, 200, 800 or more systems per month have a large sales staff. Therefore, a common factor in achieving exceptional sales is to create and maintain a large team of average salespeople.

Optimism & Personal Responsibility

Another factor we isolated as being common to great producers and high-volume organizations is optimism and personal responsibility. We could think of no high-volume dealers who feel they are stuck in a market with no potential, and yet most sell in markets where customers aren’t exceptionally wealthy, and the water is average. Top producers don’t need water that is 100 grains hard to sell equipment. Top producers don’t blame the economy, the manufacturer or the work ethic of today’s generation. They are too busy selling to think about all the reasons it can’t be done.

Top producers are optimistic that the market will continue to grow and that no matter what the manufacturers, big box stores or politicians do, they will be successful. They will adapt; they will achieve.

Top producers expect everyone at their company to achieve success. They accept nothing less. If you can’t achieve, you can’t be part of the team.

Great Demos & Full Kits

Another factor that is a predictor of success is a great demo and a clean, complete kit. We recall top dealers and salespeople who reverently open their demo kits like B.B. King opens his guitar case. The kit is complete and sparklingly clean. Top producers understand that people buy the show, and people buy value. In fact, we cannot recall any top-producing sales team that rarely takes the kit into the home.

Repeatedly, we have seen that dealers who do not conduct complete demos are banished to fight the losing battle of price. You can build value through a great demo, or you can focus on your product’s low price. All dealers choose one or the other; they can’t do both.

Large dealers with great sales teams are never wiped out by the little guy who doesn’t do a demo and emphasizes price. Throughout our many years in this industry, we have seen that in every town in America, there is a company selling equipment for $6,000 and another selling for $600. We can recall no town where the lowest-price dealer does the highest volume. Price looks good on paper, but service, value and a great demonstration win out every time.

Confidence & Consistency

As we went on to recall the dealers we have known over the years, we realized the ones who received sales awards have yet another factor in common—confidence and consistency. They have developed a winning formula, and they stick to it no matter what. They have a way to schedule shows, and new staff must use it. They have a way to set prices, and everyone follows the same system. They also have forms and scripts that must be used. Weaker dealers hire staff and cut them loose to figure out on their own how to demo, what to say, how to close, etc. Great dealers have the “secret sauce,” and all staff members are required to use the same recipe.

The Difference Between Success and Mediocrity

After thinking about dealers we have met from coast to coast, we concluded that these four factors are the elusive common denominators between success and mediocrity. This is extremely good news. We are in an industry where what makes you great isn’t tons of money. It isn’t tying up the three great markets in America. It isn’t an education it may be too late to achieve. No, achieving high levels of success seems to depend on factors within reach. Greatness stems from simple practices any dealer can adopt.

Think carefully about this, and let us know if you have seen other factors in above-average dealers. We would love to hear from you at secrets@carldavidson.com.

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