May 21, 2002

Recipe to Outside Sales Success

Do You Have the Recipe for a Successful Outside Sales Force?

There are 10 ingredients to a successful sales team. Read
the following 10 items to see if your sales force measures up.


1. Think First—Plan

Your thinking capacity is one of your greatest assets. Read
through these 10 thoughts and think about your overall approach. Ask yourself,
“What makes you better or different from your competitor? What advantages
do you have, and how will you use them?”


2. Plan of Action

Most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to
plan. If you are not happy with the result you presently have, then work on a
new complete plan. It has to look good on paper first before you implement it.
It’s amazing how many dealers don’t have a marketing plan, and they
will suffer for it.


3. An Ounce of Screening Is Worth a Ton of Training

Why do so many dealers hire any warm body? Two rules to
follow are never hire anyone with just one interview and don’t hire them
unless they have potential. Some dealers actually try to talk people into a
job. Follow the opposite theme, let them talk you into the fact that they can
do the job.


4. If It is Not Definable, How Can It Be Obtainable?

Seems simple, but lots of people fail to communicate the
results expected. I am referring to how many people to solicit, demo’s
done, closing rate and income dollars required by the dealer to please the
salesperson. People always perform better if they know what is expected of
them. If you do the work, the results will follow.


5. This is Basic Training— Presentations, Credit Applications, Orders

Some professional trainers miss the obvious. When your
salespeople leave your training they need to be able to make a presentation,
fill out a credit application and write up an order. Managers should make
certain a presentation has a built-in close. Just ask yourself this question
about your existing sales presentation, “Why should they buy
tonight?” If there is no reason to buy today, then why should they buy at
all? Also make sure the presentation is based on questions and not on a


6. Take Time to Tell Them About Fishing

If you look around, you can see lots of examples of
excellent training with outside salespeople going down the drain because the
trainers give them a kit and shove them out the door with words such as
“go sell.” Failure is predictable. Take time to tell them where and
how to secure leads. When you look at your outside sales training program, at
least 50 percent of your training time should be on how to do effective


7. Take Them Out Fishing

We like to hear about how to fish, but we love even more to
have someone take us to where the big fish are. A good guide will explain the lure, presentation and where to find the big fish. If you do not take these people
into the real world and door knock (as an example) or call on accounts, it will
never happen. The first six things you did right are a waste of time.


8. Track Their Activity, Not Just Their Sales

Dealers and trainers always are good at tracking
salespeople’s sales results, but what about their activity? Try planning
their time. This is hard but necessary work. When a salesperson has done the
activity right— this includes demos without results—you will begin
to take a look at their ability to sell. Your plan either is to fire them or to
improve their presentation and closing skills.


9. Busy People are Happy People

Again many dealers fail to understand why they are so busy
while their sales force is sitting around looking for things to do. People who
are kept busy are happy. Remember, activity is what brings results. Meeting
with your salespeople everyday to give them things to do. When you see
salespeople standing around, it’s your fault not theirs.


10. Reward Success

Your weekly sales meetings must not be a time to set people
straight. It is a time to let certain successful salespeople share their
success. Rewards and awards are very important. Most people love to be
complimented and given recognition.


Working on all 10 ingredients in this article will bring
successful results. Working hard at the basics is the road to a good sales
team. Take a good hard look at your present team and compare. If you do the
work, the numbers will come.           

About the author

Jason B. Schell and Peter Strain have an educational program called Water Depot University. The university offers courses each month at its facility in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. For more information, call 800-427-7986 or in Canada 866-686-9420.