In this training extract:
00:36 – What is their role?
01:05 – Put the word out
01:22 – Questions you need to ask
02:47 – How to reduce the burn rate
04:51 – Regular reviews
05:19 – Reward the results you want
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Now you might think this isn’t an Internet marketing or Internet business topic, but really, it actually is. Certainly, if you’re dealing with customers on Skype, or LiveChat, or even via email, it certainly is good for you to have someone else do that. So you might want to hire a salesperson.
Also, you may have a direct sales team and doing retail agency stuff. So there’s plenty of options there. And if you have an e-commerce store, you’ll probably make 30% more sales if you can have someone answer the phone. So let’s talk about this for a minute.
The first thing with a salesperson is you have to specify what the role is, like what is this person supposed to do, and how much are you willing to pay, what sort of qualifications will you need. You need to spec out the sales role in advance. What behaviors would you like, what are the must-haves, what are the would-be-nice to haves.
So you write these down in a form, and that’s your criteria to be writing in an advertisement. So the next thing is you advertise. Do the ad design. Usually, it will be some kind of words, often it will be placed on an online jobs board, and perhaps, it could be put into a form or a signature file, or you make your own page. Whatever works for you, but you advertise.
And then you go to the next stage, which is interview. For the interviewing your salesperson, you’ll want to check their previous… in fact, I’ll extrapolate that, you want to interview and check. Find out where they were before, what do they like, why they’re leaving, what are they looking for.
And you want behavioral-based questions. Talk about a sale in the past that didn’t go well. Talk about why that happened and how do they feel about that. Have they got someone else in their sales role where they’re at, is it a sales team?
How do they feel about competition? Have they ever had a time before where they missed a sales contest or they missed commission? What sort of pay structure do they have? What do they like about it? What don’t they like about it? Really drill in.
Salespeople, by the nature of their role, will be more difficult for you to interview than other roles, because these people are professional persuaders and convincers and they should be fairly adept at interviews because that’s what they’re doing every day for a living, is taking a conversation and making it work in their favor. So just pay attention to that. It’s essential that you do reference checks for salespeople because they can fabricate things and bluff you through it. They’re very confident.
Then you have to train them. Once you decide to hire them, you do a job specification, you have contracts, etc., have an agreement, it’s important, and then you train them. There’s no point putting an untrained sales person to your prospects, that will burn them.
There’s no point letting a salesperson from a different culture, or different product or service come and deal with straight up prospects because that will burn them. And your role as the owner of the business is to reduce the burn rate as much as possible by training your salespeople.
When I hired people at Mercedes-Benz, I didn’t care if they had never sold before, if they had been selling for the last 50 years, they went through my training program which took about 2 weeks. And they had to do two lists: one was a list of theory, and one was a list of practical.
Theory and Practice
The theory was all the stuff you have to know: engines, specs, zero to 100 times, the model range, what type of leather in the cars, who are our competitors, the history of Mercedes-Benz, etc.
The practice was role playing a sale from start to finish. I would literally have them phone me up to make an appointment, then I would attend the appointment, then they would offer me a tea or coffee, they will take notes, they would suggest a test drive, they would show me over the vehicle. We would test drive, we’d come back, we’d sit down, we’d do a write-up sheet which was a 6-seed questions, we’d find the right car, they’d ask me to buy it, I’d sign up the paperwork, then I’d leave, and then I’d come back and they would deliver me the car, the way that I need it delivered, and then they would follow me up afterwards via telephone to answer any questions I might have had, see who I’ve shared the car, with who I took it to and asked for referrals.
And that whole process happened via role play before they would have to speak to a single prospect. I can tell you, the biggest mistake in selling organizations is they don’t train their salespeople and they are burning opportunities. So putting the work out front with salespeople, you’ll get the rewards.
And then of course, you review performance regularly. Most salespeople are on a recurring monthly start. They start from scratch on the first of every month, and they have monthly targets. You need to make sure these targets are realistic and achievable, but also that they are ambitious and make people stretch.
And if you have multiple salespeople, which I highly recommend, have more than one, have at least two, you can benchmark. You’ll have some natural competitiveness.
And then finally, you reward. Make sure that you reward the result you want. If you have hired a salesperson to make sales to existing customers, then give them a loyalty bonus. Every time they resell someone who’s already bought before, they get an extra bonus. That will encourage them to farm as well as hunt.
If you’re hiring a pure hunter, then you give them a bonus for bringing in a new customer who’s not in the books. So it’s essential that your reward mechanism is aligned to the result you want. If you have a Rambo sales person who just makes all sorts of false promises and lies to get a sale, you will wear the brunt of that later, so be careful with your reward schemes.
And you have to heavily watch salespeople and I tell you this from decades of experience. It’s a tricky role to hire, train, and manage full. If you can get it right, direct sales teams are like napalm on fire, they can really take off, as long as you can control it.
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