Blog Archives

Have A Laugh Fridays Uh-Oh New Sales Comp Plan!

Under two minutes for a great laugh today! When compensation plans change, sometimes sales rep feels like they are being treated unfairly.

Check out this humorous take!

Have a fantastic weekend!

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Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away!

Shortly after I started my first outside sales role, I traveled 9 hours from my home office to see a small account. I continued to see them on a semi-regular basis even though growth potential was limited. I made that nasty trip two more times in the first year.

In some warped sense of reality, I thought I would impress my boss by doing the extensive travel.

The two other painfully long trips and lack of growth in the second year gave me an “ah-ha” moment!

I realized that these trips were not productive uses of my time. I ended up dropping them altogether the year after when sales diminished to almost nothing.

I would sign up any account early in my career, because that is how sales people are wired right? When you are on commission, every sale counts, so you have even more incentive to bring on new business. True, but only to a point.

What I soon realized is if negotiations with a prospect are difficult and time-consuming, there is a real possibility that they will continue to give challenges as a customer in the future. This is not true all the time. But I have “broken up” with prospects before we have had our “first date”.

I learned a very valuable lesson from an ex-manager several years ago. He stated,

“The best business deals occur when both parties give something to the deal”

Rarely do business relationships work when one party gives, gives, gives and the other party gladly takes, takes takes.

I have dealt with customers who were always upset and/or angry with myself and the organizations I was working for. Although these occurrences were rare, I ended up letting them go too. There was negative energy, and since they were smaller with respect to revenue, it was an easy decision based on the value of my time.

I serviced the occasional account who did not support my companies at all, but were more than happy to ask for pricing when a customer specifically requested our products. Eventually they were dropped too. Those were very sad relationships!

Selective = Success

Once I realized that every company is not a suitable business partner, I gained much better perspective on my account base and territory in general. Some tough decisions were made, but at the end of the day I focused my attention on the accounts that had the most growth potential.

  • When was the last time you looked at your customer base and identified troublesome relationships?
  • Can you scale back the time you spend with them, or drop altogether?
  • On the flip side… Do you spend enough time with your largest customers?

DO NOT Be Just A “Professional Visitor”!

It was near month end, and I had just returned from dinner during a product training trip. I opened my email to a note from my boss titled “DO NOT Be Just A Professional Visitor!”

I had never heard this phrase before in the context of a sales role, but I knew exactly what he meant. I forget the exact content of the note, but I am sure it was very colorful based on how he typically corresponded with us.

What he was basically saying was it was close to month end, and we needed to secure orders. A sale rep’s job description did not include going to just visit accounts. Clear goals needed to be made and achieved on each call. I heard him loud and clear.

Going to see accounts just for the sake of seeing them and not moving closer to securing business was rarely, if ever a good idea. Certainly build rapport with customers, and get to know personal details about them, but always have a “moving business forward” component of the call.

You don’t have to complete 10 objectives or something drastic like that on every call, but aspire for at least 2-3. When I had limited time with an account, I may have only had one goal, but I made sure it was a worthwhile one.

The sales profession can seem complex on the surface, but at the end of the day systems can be simplified to insure success long-term. Make achievable goals for each call, and do whatever you can to not stray from the plan. Anyone can go in and just visit people, but the real success stories come from those who plan and organize ahead of time, and are always thinking about closing business!