How to Win the Game

When I got into the water business, the unanimous sense was that I was lucky to be in such a great industry—an essential field with growth potential. It has been more than two decades since I entered the industry, and the consensus has not changed.

The demand for water treatment continues to grow, as do the types of products and services we are able to offer. Like any industry, there have been highs, lows and many changes, but we are, in fact, lucky to be part of such a great industry.  

The Name of the Game

As dealers, we play a game of “finding and minding.” The object of the game is to find and mind customers.

Dealers have two types of customers: internal and external. Internal customers are the salespeople, service technicians and administrative staff members who help us find and mind our external customers.

Finding and minding internal customers is one of the biggest challenges of the game. Without the right internal customers, we limit how many external customers we can find or mind.

Finding and Minding

Finding is anything but simple, and demands constant attention to the ever-changing trends and expectations of both internal and external customers. As dealers, minding our employees is as important as minding our external customers. Gone are the days of hiring and developing great employees who stay with a company for their entire careers. These days, we have to stay current and be sure we continue offering the best opportunities and value to our employees—or risk losing them.

The principle of minding applies to employees, too. Employees must stay current and offer their employers the best value. Otherwise, they risk their employers shopping for new hires.

Knowing the Numbers

There are only a few variables that impact how much we can earn as dealers or salespeople. Knowing and acting on these numbers can affect how much money we make. The two critical variables are the number of customers you can sell to and how much you can sell to them. Then you must address whether you are selling enough of the right products and services to enough of the right customers.

Playing the Numbers

Playing the numbers is critical to winning, so we need to know and play our sales numbers. For example, let us say in-home salespeople need 10 meaningful contacts to book an appointment and two appointments to complete a demonstration. In this scenario, they need to do three demonstrations to close a sale, and earn $500 per sale on average.

Using these numbers, if salespeople want to earn $1,500 per week, each week they need to have 180 meaningful conversations, book 18 demonstrations, complete nine demonstrations and close three sales. To earn more, they either have to sell more per demonstration or do more demonstrations.

Dealers must know a different set of numbers to play the game. These include the number of salespeople and the amount they are selling per demonstration.

Doing the Math

The game is rather mathematical. It is a matter of knowing the numbers and having excellent addition skills, as it is those who add the most customers and sales that win.

Today’s consumers expect more of everything: comfort, convenience, quality, innovation, security, economy, service and reliability. Now that we have text messages, e-mail, music, GPS, videos and more on our cell phones, no one would want to go back to using pay phones or 1980s cell phones the size of bricks.

The key to our business is addition: adding value where our customers expect it. In doing so, we add products, services and profits. In doing this math, we find that addition leads to multiplication. The next question is, “How many internal customers do I need to multiply my finding and minding opportunities and profits?”

The game is not always easy, but when we play it well, the result is a truly enjoyable and fulfilling way to pass decades of our lives. Finding people to serve, and serving them well, will provide greater dividends than winning a game of chance in Las Vegas.

Ric Harry is a sales, management and technical consultant for the water treatment industry. Harry can be reached at [email protected] or 905.734.7756.

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