We are going to discuss the ins and outs of all the reasons and solutions that I can think of when it comes to this topic. Being that this is the # 1 question that I get asked from managers and business owners. I decided to create a detailed blog post so that each time I get asked this question, The answer will be here.
First, lets remember that if there was a one phrase answer like, hire people, give them a pay scale and send them to “this turf”, everyone would be doing it. Just like sculpting a perfect body, there are so many situations that there is no one size fits all. The easiest way to learn how to do it best for your company is to identify what the successful people are doing in your industry. At my company and the alarm company I helped grow to over 200+ active sales reps, I learned what works and what doesn’t at every stage in the process. Here are the stages:
- Getting Started ( 0-1 sales reps )
- Pulse Stage ( 2-5 sales reps)
- Traction Stage ( 5-10 sales reps)
- Growing (10-20 sales reps)
- Off And Going Stage (20+ sales reps)
Yes I so totally just labeled each stage ! lol
Growing a sales force needs to be a fun and exciting thing or you will get burnt out. To start i want to talk to you about the differences between each stage. When you’re getting started you need to understand its going to be harder to grow your sales force quicker than when you have 20+ sales reps in your office. This reason is because sales people love and like activity. You may think the best way to get a sales person to stick at your company is to pay them a higher amount. If this were the case, why is it that the top companies in the industry pay the less but make their sales reps work for their money. Yes backend checks. Altho personally I don’t think I need a backend check to push me to sell 10 in a week, 99% of the sales reps do. When I first got started selling, I found that selling me up on the backend pay scale really helped me push through the hard times ! I wanted to get to that next level and have a bigger lump sum ! How many of your sales guys are bad with their money ? it’s just the nature of the typical sales person, they are bad with their money. Imagine for the first time a sales person who is bad with their money sees a check for $25,000 written to their name. Yes i know they normally buy a car, go on vacations and the money is gone, but it is up to you their manager to help guide them on how to save and spend their money.
Do you want a rep that will be at the doors desperate to get a sale? Many dealers I coach say YES 100% ! if they need to get paid to make rent they are going to work ! I’m here to tell you that thought process is not my thinking at all ! When I recruit sales people I look for people who are open to being smart with their money ! If you create a sales person who can now manage their money and be smart with it, they start to see growth. Sales people who see growth and progress don’t typically leave your organization unless they have a reason to. Stop fearing your sales team leaving you and focus on how you can help develop them. Sales volume tend to increase when sales reps are not desperate at the doors. You may think that they will stop knocking if they have money saved up, and they probably will but who exactly am i referring to as “they”.
To be a good sales manager or business owner you need to listen to your sales team. Hey Tommy, congrats for being the top sales guy 3 months in a row. Come into my office lets talk. let me ask you this ! why do you push so hard to be the best ? see what you are doing here is recognizing them ! recognition goes a long way, and you start understanding what traits to look for in other reps your recruiting. If you are getting a ton of turnaround it only means you hired the wrong person ! Perhaps bringing in as many people as you can to sift through to find the good ones is a part of your recruiting strategy. Whatever your strategy is, know what to expect and stop kicking yourself expecting different results. Hiring people off a Craigslist ad and paying them upfront is a good way to get a lot of people in the door. With this method however, especially if you have very few sales people, no office or a small office with very little activity to start is a recipe for high turnover. One thing to really think of is to look into financing perhaps and ‘Go all out” with a game plan. Remember business is all about risk. If you have a sales force of 5-10 people perhaps you may want to think of a marketing strategy to recruit and turn your office into an office of growth. This is not for everyone but it is a thought. I personally recommend growing slowly and really spending as much time as you can with new representatives that come in your office.
The majority of people asking me this question are those who are getting started. When getting started you need to be real upfront with the new recruits and reps that walk into your office. Remember you need to be where your potential sales reps are ! Many sales people are on social media ! how do you recruit them without being “sales like” ! this goes back to not being a schmuk ! there are so many guys in this industry that think they are so cool and go at people in such an aggressive manner that it turns people away ! some like it but that is not mu style at all ! What I love best about the way I recruit and sell is the fact that I display what I can offer and how I can help someone grow or benefit. If the person does not see eye to eye, I have methods I use to stay on top of that person to perhaps see eye to eye in the future.
So here is what worked for me.
- Always be recruiting (face to face, Craigslist ads, social media and more)
- Invite them to come in to checkout what you have to offer. (let them know you’re a startup looking to expand and you have opportunity for growth)
- Have a manager to train them. (If you don’t, get off your ass and learn how to knock yourself and train 1 simple manager)
- Know your math (Do the math and see how much you can afford on incentives. Make it worth their while to hit and achieve reasonable incentives)
- MAKE IT FUN !
Without making the job fun, sending people into the field, very little people getting sales, your sales team will not grow. No one said its easy however you have to get sales and have activity to get new sales reps to stick. I know you may have shown new sales reps sales and still they quit, but going back to what I said about the way they were recruited, makes all the difference. Current sales reps who work for you that bring a person in and work with them is the best way to grow your sales force. Reach out to your sales reps and let them know you need their help in getting just one sales person that they can bring into the company. Reward them and show them how badass they are for giving that new sales rep the best opportunity of their life to be a part of your ever so growing sales company !