Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

January 1, 2001

As the beginning of a new year rolls around, I think "Who wants to be a millionaire?" is an appropriate question to ask

As the beginning of a new year rolls around, I think "Who wants to be a millionaire?" is an appropriate question to ask. Housing starts are down and many are predicting a slow-down in our industry. However, I think it’s a real opportunity to make money–even millions–if you want it enough. Is it a dream? Is it hype? Does anyone achieve it? Let’s take a look.

First the Facts

I have met several millionaires who made all of their money in our industry. You probably have, too. The number one thing between you and your million is believing it can be done. Last year, I came across a company that puts out more than 400 systems a month. I met many salespeople who make more than $150,000 on straight commission. Can it be done? Yes, it can, and it is being done by people just like you. Let’s look at the four steps these people have in common that help them make it to the final level (as Regis would say).

Step #1–Sell Yourself On Your Product, Your Company, Yourself

This is the foundation. You have to believe in your product, company and yourself until you feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have your equipment. You have to be on a mission to save people from drinking out of the tap and getting equipment from companies that offer less than you do. Often we sell ourselves short, and it costs us big-time. How many times have you heard yourself or someone on your team describe your equipment as "competitive–its all the same valve and resin." If you aren’t excited to the point of fanaticism, you never will make it to the top.

You need to sell yourself everyday on how great your product, company and you actually are. Maybe pick one aspect of your product or company each day and spend a few minutes working yourself into a frenzy of excitement on its benefits to customers. For example, do you have up-flow regeneration? What are the benefits? What does it mean in terms of savings, life style, etc.? The more excited you get, the more you sell. Sell yourself until you can’t believe it or accept it when they say, "No."

Step #2–Make a Plan to Make a Million

Despite what you see in government lottery commercials, you don’t have a big chance that someone is going to instantly make you rich. However, if you make a plan that you really believe in, there’s a very good chance of making it. It is said, "What your mind can conceive and your heart can believe, you can achieve." Set some high goals for 2001. The average company in our industry has one or two salespeople who sell six times a month. That means fewer than 100 sales per year for the entire company. That shows lack of goals. Why not set your sights on five or six salespeople who sell 24 systems per month or a total of approximately 1,700 systems per year?

Can it be done? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. That’s why 90 percent of Americans make less than $35,000 per year. It’s up to you. The lower your goals, the lower your achievement. It would be better to set a goal and come up with a plan to make $300,000 next year and fail by 30 percent than to have no plan, no daily goals and stay at your current income. Sit back and plan out what could be instead of settling for what is.

Step #3–Work Out Measurable Numbers

Ok, let’s assume you have worked out a plan to have five salespeople who each sell 12 systems per month for a total of 720 sales per year. Now, you need to set out measurable numbers and make a written contract with yourself to achieve them. Why write them out? Because it’s the only chance you have of sticking to your goals. I suggest that you get out your written contract every payday and see if you have accomplished your goal for the week. Here are some of the items you might want to include in your written contract.

  • Hours spent recruiting this week: 3
  • Potential salespeople contacted this week: 15
  • Water samples picked up per salesperson: 30
  • Referral visits per salesperson: 5
  • POU cooler calls to small business per salesperson: 10
  • Full demos completed per salesperson this week: 12
  • Systems sold per salesperson this week: 4

Notice that all these goals are concrete and measurable, not just a hope to "do your best." You also should write out what will happen to you and your staff if these numbers are not met. It may mean working extra hours or dismissal. There must be consequences and a certain pressure if you are to ever meet your goal.

Step #4–Stick to the Plan

Once you have a plan and goals that you are meeting, never let anything distract you. Accumulating wealth and building a business require time and a steady course. Every day that you achieve your goals is a day you should duplicate tomorrow.

So can you be a millionaire in our industry? I think you can, and I have met people who have done it. Most who fail do so because the have no written goals and plans or the team has no pressure to achieve. Notice on the TV show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" the contestants talk about being under pressure. They think carefully and sweat out each decision. Maybe your company has to be a bit more like that if you really want to join the ranks of the millionaires. Will you start on your way to make a million in 2001? Is that your final answer?

If you have questions or a topic you would like to see addressed, please e-mail wqpeditor@sgcmail.com; fax 847.390.0408.

Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, which provides sales and management training designed exclusively for the water equipment industry. For more than 13 years, he has helped more than 1,400 companies in seven countries. For a free demonstration tape and catalog, contact the company at 800.941.0068; www.salesco.net.

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