Salespeople Don’t Fail, Managers Do

A high employee turnover rate will hurt any business. This article will discuss the things you can do to increase your chances of keeping successful salespeople on your team.

Choose Wisely from a Large Pool of Candidates

Make sure you interview a lot of candidates. Many dealers fail because they hire the only person who shows up. Look for good character and previous success at in-home sales. People who have sold business-to-business, or in industries that do not prospect, rarely make it in water. Don’t try to help out people who are down on their luck. Look for successful professionals and sell them into joining your team. We’ve said this in the past—this is not the time to help out a drifter who just blew into town and is living in a friend’s basement. Remember, the better the salesperson, the more you will have to sell him or her into the job.

Don’t Train on Technical Features

When you train new recruits, do not spend time talking about technical features. New recruits have to sell within 10 days, so you need to teach them just two things—how to do a great demo and how to prospect and generate appointments. Anything else is a distraction from job #1 … selling.

Set Written Standards

Never hire staff without setting the standards of performance. We believe you should expect two full demos per day and a closing rate of 33%. To be successful, you will need to state this clearly in writing and have new staff members agree to meet these requirements.

Don’t Let Rookies Ride with Techs or Other Sales Staff

Many managers send their recruits to ride with techs and current sales staff. Although this seems like a good idea, the fact is that some salespeople and techs can be very negative. By the time they are done revealing all the bad news, your recruit may be too demoralized to sell. We suggest you keep the rookie by your side for at least two weeks.

Train on Municipal Water

You won’t have time to teach your recruits almost anything about water. We suggest you teach them a great demo and send them on municipal water so they can begin selling quickly. Unless they are on draws or large salaries (which we don’t recommend), they will need to sell quickly.

Don’t Sell Like an Owner

Owners sell mostly call-ins, and they do it without demos. A combination of their passion, the fact that call-ins are half sold and years of success make this possible. If you teach recruits to sell without full demos and good closing skills, they will not succeed. In our opinion, this is a critical reason why recruits fail.

Show Them How to Get Appointments

We believe it takes about three days to teach a great demo. After that, you should immediately begin helping your recruits get appointments by doing it with them. Take them on courtesy calls. Knock on neighbors’ doors. Do it all, and do it right.

Teach a Demo Word for Word

Don’t show recruits your demo twice and then wish them good luck. Their demos will be weak and ineffective. You need to make them memorize a demo word for word and show you they can
do it to your satisfaction.

Practice Demos

At the end of the training, have them do five practice demos for friends and relatives. This gives them confidence, and they may even sell one. Call everyone they demo and see how it went.

Help Them Close

Go along on their first five real demos and watch. You may have to assist or explain, but help them get two or three sales. This can be done in week two so they start selling right away. If you unleash new salespeople without watching and helping, you are setting them up for failure.

Review & Inspect Weekly

Every week, inspect their demo kits and make them perform a section of the demo for you. This is the only way to make sure their demos are up to your standards and stay that way.

Sound Like a Lot of Work?

You may be thinking that this will be serious work, and it is. That’s why many owners have never had a successful salesperson. Just remember that a well-trained salesperson can reasonably sell 12 systems per month. That should be at least $20,000 per month in gross profit, or $250,000 per year. That’s a lot of money, and it isn’t going to fall into your lap without effort. Stop digging holes; stay off the trucks; and work on the one thing that will make you money for a long time to come—training successful sales staff.

Remember that salespeople don’t fail, managers do. If you select them, train them and supervise them, you have to make them successful. You do this through hands-on inspection and assistance.

If you have had salespeople who failed, what will you do different next time? If you do it the same way, you will probably get the same result. Try more techniques that keep in mind accountability and the fact that sales is job #1, and you will be pleased with the results.

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