Hiring a great salesperson is one thing. Keeping him or her on the team is another.
Often the manager or boss is too busy scrutinizing and measuring the salesperson's performance, and ignoring their own part of the partnership. The part necessary to support, build and keep a great team.
What are you doing to keep your salespeople? Here's a list of 24.5 elements to build and grow a stellar sales team:
1. Structure a fair compensation package that is commission based...the more they sell, the more they earn. People get into sales because it's got the potential for great financial rewards. Create an attractive package.
2. Give them the tools to sell with. Invest in the best support tools money can buy. They help salespeople sell, and they're a reflection of the quality of your business in the mind of the prospect.
3. Equip them with 21st century technology. Or they will die at the hands of the competitor who is equipped. Alpha pager, cellular phone, laptop computer at a minimum.
4. Have the best company in the world. Someplace with a great reputation where they're proud to work.
5. Have an inside team of people that does not fight with, or resent salespeople. Sales wars (battles between sales and production, administration and credit) end up killing the customer.
6. Be the best boss in the world. Have the same consistent positive attitude you expect of your people.
7. Have a manager who is a better salesperson than anyone on your team. Otherwise the respect factor, and the pull-the-wool-over-the-eyes factor increases.
8. Reward sales with money. Nothing happens until a sale is made. Have a generous compensation package that rewards success. If they succeed, pay them well.
9. Acknowledge achievement. Have award certificates (not just for sales) to show employees they have achieved excellence or exceeded a goal.
10. Recognize in front of others. Have victory celebrations. Ring a big bell when a sale is made. Instill pride for sales.
11. Have incentives and contests to keep it competitive. Dangle the carrot, whet the appetite -- get them to go for the brass ring. The bigger the prize, the bigger the effort.
12. Reward repeat business. If a customer reorders, it means they were satisfied with the way they were sold and served. Pay a larger incentive the second time.
13. Reward referrals. When one customer refers another, it's the most profitable sale. Referrals are hard to get (earn). But once you do, it's the easiest sale to make -- pay handsomely -- someone has earned it.
14. Reward business taken from others (accounts from the competition). Taking business away from the competition is a big event that should be celebrated, rewarded -- and dissected to see how to repeat it.
15. Reward testimonial letters received. Testimonial letters are the only proof you've got. Pay a big reward for the letters that overcome objections.
16. Have regular sales meetings. Air out the field or phone problems, let salespeople have a chance to discuss their challenges and successes. They will learn from the leader and each other. Have an agenda and follow it.
17. Have regular sales training. A weekly sales meeting should include 15 minutes of training. Weekly meetings, a quarterly 1-day training, and an annual 2-day retreat, are minimum standards for sales growth.
18. Have regular personal development training. Your team must grow personally in order to achieve sales growth. Train in attitude, goals, responsibility, listening, pride, communication and change -- growth elements fundamental for success.
19. Set realistic and achievable goals. Work on sales goals with the sales force. Get them to agree that they're realistic and achievable -- then get them to write a plan for their achievement.
20. Every six months ask your sales team what you need to do to help them make more sales. Get them to write a blind (no name) report about situations and needs. Act on them.
21. Have them fill out (print out with laptop technology) sales reports every week by prospect status. Don't track sales people by time (what they did on Tuesday). Track them by account. Look at the sales cycle and the follow-up activity. If you have laptops and contact management software, a sales report is a one button act.
22. Don't talk trash behind their back. Don't grumble about their poor performance, Help them or fire them.
23. Reprimand in private. No one likes (or deserves) to be ridiculed in front of others. The best way to reprimand is over a meal -- and have a game plan for improvement.
24. Encourage them. Banners, letters, posters, words and phrases of "you can do it" go a long way towards getting it done.
24.5 Don't let them run you. Tell them what you expect, and follow through to be sure it's done. Salespeople have all the power you need to achieve your success -- if you harness it.
This list is by no means complete, but it's a solid foundation to keep your team at peak performance. To ensure the success of your sales team -- measure performance two ways -- theirs and yours.
There is also a huge side benefit. When you have a great, productive, high earning team -- the word gets out. The "law of attraction" kicks in. Good salespeople will call and want to work for you. What a great dilemma to have.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Knock Your Socks Off Selling and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless; Customer Loyalty is Priceless. To order Jeffrey's many books and/or audios and videos, go to www.yoursuccessstore.com. (c) 1999 All Rights Reserved.