We’re losing business because we’re not getting back to prospects and clients fast enough. We want to be careful that the right person follows up, and that we give out accurate information. All of that falls on my shoulders, and as the owner of the business I’ve got a lot on my plate. Not sure I can afford to add someone else to help me, but also know that if I don’t, we’ll never grow. Not sure who exactly to hire, or how much to pay that person, either. How do I get ahead of this problem?
Thoughts of the Day: Figure out what each new customer is worth. Build in a starting commission plan that incents your new player to deliver results. Use knowing what you want to accomplish this year as a yardstick. Look at what’s on your plate that you can offload to other people outside of sales, so you can focus on training your new sales support person.
A team working on sales is essential for any business that intends to grow. Figure what you need in sales to have a winning year. Add in what you’ll need to make up for attrition. Break that down into monthly goals for sales to new and existing clients.
Now that you know the size of the problem, take stock of your strengths and weaknesses in sales. Are you good at opening doors? Nurturing relationships? Closing the sale? If you’re like most business owners, you’re probably good at event driven tasks, such as negotiating and closing deals. Nurturing and follow up take time and persistence and most business owners don’t have the bandwidth to focus continually in this area. Get someone who can fill in on your weaknesses, probably someone who can open up opportunities, stay on top of leads that come in, and get appointments set up for you when it’s time to move things along.
Remember to post the job internally; someone who already knows the business could be your fasted trainee. Hire someone who is looking for upside opportunity. Insure your candidate believes he or she can make things happen by offering a lower base with commission for results delivered.
Define the extra revenue and profit that comes from achieving your goal for additional sales. Compare that to the cost of adding your new sales assistant. You should be making minimum 3x as much profit as what your assistant will cost. If not, either the pay is too high or your goal is too low. Fix the equation.
Set up a way to measure progress. Put a graph up on the wall showing sales made vs. sales needed. Making goals public will help focus everyone in the company on what’s important. If you’re on track or ahead of goal, everyone can celebrate. If you’re getting behind, ask everyone to step up to fix things.
Make sales your personal focus, without distraction. Set up a desk just for sales. Set a time each day to work at that desk. Keep all your sales related paperwork at that desk.
In order to free up more time to focus on sales, make a list of all the tasks you personally handle. As much as possible, assign everything outside of sales to other people, even if it means taking time to train them to do what you do.