Getting 1 Salesman for my Offline company - Any Tips?

23 replies
Yes.

Business is going strong, but after years of working my butt off, it's time to move another step on the ladder: contract 1 experienced salesperson to go outside and do what they do best: make constant sales.

I know some of you guys have experience with salespersons, thats why I am asking for feedback and tips. Can you share your experiences, techniques and systems you have in place? Paid %, provided material/knowledge, etc?

Much appreciated.
#company #offline #salesman #tips
  • Profile picture of the author manny2513
    Well you gotta keep you sales people happy. They are the ones bringing the $$. I pay straight up commissions so if they don't sell they don't get paid that way you are covered and you can hire many of them without risking $$$. But pay them a good commission so they know that when they land a sale they get good $$ for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by manny2513 View Post

      Well you gotta keep you sales people happy. They are the ones bringing the $$. I pay straight up commissions so if they don't sell they don't get paid that way you are covered and you can hire many of them without risking $$$. But pay them a good commission so they know that when they land a sale they get good $$ for it.
      Cheers Manny,

      We'll do monthly payments of all the commissions, as we don't want people trying to close sales fast and furious just to make money. I mean, I imagine them trying to make the sale for 2K when in fact they can negotiate a better deal, you know?

      What do you think?

      We discussed a plan for sales percentages:

      1 Sale/month = x%
      2-5 Sales/month = x%
      etc etc

      Whats your lowest % rate, if you don't mind me asking? 10%? 15%?

      Again, thanks for your feedback!
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      People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author P1
    Door to door sales or cold calling sales?

    And does the salesman have to close the whole thing as in go through the meetings?
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by P1 View Post

      Door to door sales or cold calling sales?

      And does the salesman have to close the whole thing as in go through the meetings?
      Hi P,

      We'll try to grab a experienced door to door salesman, but he'll be able to use our office to make calls following our guidelines and quality control - he won't have all the "liberty" to go pitching companies that we don't want to work with. Hope it makes sense. But a experienced door to door sales guy is a must, yes.
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      People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    If you have the sales part of your business down, make the selling systematic, then you can train people to do it. Because if you're looking for a superstar, first off, there aren't really too many of them. And if any were available, I'd have to wonder why. Plus if they leave you, and figure they will, you're so dependent on them they'll take your business with them. And if they're not good, but talk a good game, they'll just be a waste of your time.
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    • Profile picture of the author P1
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      If you have the sales part of your business down, make the selling systematic, then you can train people to do it. Because if you're looking for a superstar, first off, there aren't really too many of them. And if any were available, I'd have to wonder why. Plus if they leave you, and figure they will, you're so dependent on them they'll take your business with them. And if they're not good, but talk a good game, they'll just be a waste of your time.
      That isn't necessarily true a happy customer will most likely give you referrals.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Bucker
        Fernano, I'm not exactly sure what all you are looking for but I will share what I know in hopes that it helps.

        1. The ad to assure a higher rate of views.

        A. Make the title something to catch the eye. I suggest using Craig's list. There will be several other ads with standard titles. Maybe use something like " You have never sold like this before" or "Tired of the same old dead end sales job" or "Very rare position has opened filling by 11-16-11" *The date on that last on is important. Using a date that is soon create urgency.

        B. Give more detail in your ad. (Most ads are too simple and create no call to action)
        1. The position
        2. Who we are looking for (not the average salesman, position not for everyone)
        3. What we have to offer (more than the norm)
        4. What to do next (make the process a few steps the best companies to work for are the ones that don't just hire anyone no matter the size.)

        2. Percentages in most sales positions one starts around 20% or 25% and work in tiers upto 35% in most cases. I'd make the highest percentage you decide on to be reserved for over performance, not easily attained without a good amount of work.

        3. Train train train. An average well equipped sales person will do a good job. With the right tools it will make him slightly above average. The right salesmen will soar, but not as high as you can without ongoing training.

        Hope that helps. Good luck to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    In my experience, hiring just one , is NOT a good idea.

    If you are looking to only have one sale person working for you for a while.
    be prepared to have a revolving door for a little while.

    I have hired and fired literally hundreds of sale people over the years.

    If you only hire one, and spend your time training, teaching, ect and that
    person does not work out. ( other then the learning experience, you just wasted your time, and are no better off. )

    also another thing to consider, sales people. run on mojo, emotion... hype.
    hard to get 1 sales person in gear that way. they need motivation, and that usually
    comes form another sales guy on the same team closing more deals then
    he is. ( you would think the fat check would be motivation enough, but im telling you right now, that is not often the case )

    It is also simpler on your end to teach / train a group. once again its a pride / ego / motivation thing. All real sales people love to show off. love to show boat.
    love the attention.... the money they make is just icing on the cake.

    So simply put., figure out a number you are comfortable with i.e 5 and then hire
    in batches of 5.

    O one more thing. Real sales people are a pain in the ass ... so every now and then you have got to fire some one for the sake of the group. if you only have one
    who are you going to fire? more importantly ... who is going to sell your product
    while you are looking for a replacement?

    I am one of those pain in the asses i was talking about, and i have managed several large phone rooms , as well as my own sales people. so i have a ton of experience in this area. If you need more info, just let me know.

    Rick

    ---- edit

    I forgot to say. Paying people only once a month... going to be hard to find
    someone that can afford to take that risk. Even the super star sales people usually live hand to mouth. .. they spend it faster then they make it some times.

    --- edit #2
    i will pm you our pay out. as i don't want that posted here on the board.
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  • Profile picture of the author sharkey
    Where do you guys suggest finding salespeople other than craigslist?

    I think it's just my area but craigslist here I have to wade through a lot of very unqualified people and scam artists. I got my top person on CL, but the last time I ran an ad on craigslist I didn't get any one I was comfortable hiring at all. I was hiring for both commission only and hourly + commission. Is there a better website to (inexpensively) post a sales ad that the salespeople know about?
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    • Profile picture of the author P1
      Originally Posted by sharkey View Post

      Where do you guys suggest finding salespeople other than craigslist?

      I think it's just my area but craigslist here I have to wade through a lot of very unqualified people and scam artists. I got my top person on CL, but the last time I ran an ad on craigslist I didn't get any one I was comfortable hiring at all. I was hiring for both commission only and hourly + commission. Is there a better website to (inexpensively) post a sales ad that the salespeople know about?
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Bucker
      Sharkey, many people have your same problem in filtering through many unqualified candidates or as you put it scammers. What I have found is that no matter where you an ad those very people exist.

      The thing that has helped me is developing a filtering system. When they hit the link on what to do next at the bottom of your ad it can take them to a pre application page where they must first read all the instructions in order to fill out the pre app properly. Also, some of the questions can only be answered by doing research. Put it on a scoring scale and decide what you will accept. Below a certain score is not even considered good enough to spend any time on. The better scores make it through for you to look at.

      You can do this in a way that only serious people apply correctly and get to your desk.

      Hope that helps a little
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      • Profile picture of the author sharkey
        Originally Posted by Michael Bucker View Post

        Sharkey, many people have your same problem in filtering through many unqualified candidates or as you put it scammers. What I have found is that no matter where you an ad those very people exist.

        The thing that has helped me is developing a filtering system. When they hit the link on what to do next at the bottom of your ad it can take them to a pre application page where they must first read all the instructions in order to fill out the pre app properly. Also, some of the questions can only be answered by doing research. Put it on a scoring scale and decide what you will accept. Below a certain score is not even considered good enough to spend any time on. The better scores make it through for you to look at.

        You can do this in a way that only serious people apply correctly and get to your desk.

        Hope that helps a little
        I do that already but in a less organized way, so actually your suggestions should make it go more smoothly.

        I've also had so many people who I thought were qualified walk off with free samples or hand them out like candy, too. I've considered making them buy the samples and I'll refund when there's a sale. Currently I haveem give me the contact's address and I mail directly to them but it's getting expensive. Not sure if that's fair to them or not to make them buy the samples, but otherwise I see hundreds of dollars walk out my door never to be seen again.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by sharkey View Post

          I do that already but in a less organized way, so actually your suggestions should make it go more smoothly.

          I've also had so many people who I thought were qualified walk off with free samples or hand them out like candy, too. I've considered making them buy the samples and I'll refund when there's a sale. Currently I haveem give me the contact's address and I mail directly to them but it's getting expensive. Not sure if that's fair to them or not to make them buy the samples, but otherwise I see hundreds of dollars walk out my door never to be seen again.
          I have experience with this, but I wont speak from my own experience.

          There are many companies with major brand names who charge for samples.

          Major manufacturing companies get 10-20 requests every DAY for samples of their product from small retailors all over the world. many of them charge...

          Why charge? Because there are 50 "tire kickers" for every one serious buyer in sales. Its just reasonable.

          Amway, herbalife, and every other MLM company in the world charge for their kits... They have hundreds of new recruits come on per day, but only a few of those recruits are serious about winning with the opportunity...

          It wouldn't be reasonable to send out a kit to 100 people per day that costs $130 ... and not charge.

          There are two approaches I see here that could be taken. Either:

          A: Put alot of energy into finding "just the right" couple of people.

          B: Take a shotgun approach and give the opportunity to hundreds of people in one swoop and let the successful ones rise to the top.

          If you are going for number two... You should charge for your materials.

          Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobKonrad
    Hi Fernando,

    congratulations on your expansion plans!

    We used a lot of "door-to-door" salesman for a while in one of my former companies (selling physical products, however). Experience was pretty bad:

    - The REALLY great guys want high fixed fees + high commissions
    - The guys who work on a smaller fixed fee + commission are often not that good, unreliable, a lot of hire and fire
    - the guys who work solely on a fixed fee will cheat you and get lazy after a while
    - the guys who solely work on a commission are ofen desparate, will do anything, have failed several times and see this as their last chance... a lot of troubles with them, also a lot of hire and fire.

    I know this does not sound very promising but it really was an experience to work with door-to-door salespeople... I'm glad we're out of that, to be honest.

    Just be careful, screen them, and have a close look what they're actually selling. Often they'll promise everything just to get the sale, and YOU (or your business) has an angry/disappointed/whatever customer.

    Cheers,
    Rob Konrad
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I agree with base pay plus comission.

    Also if you want a real super star you have to pay them very well. I have no idea what kind of profits you are making but I'd say if you want to get the real high performers you should spend 50% of your profit paying the sales people. You have to make it worth it to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Rhome
    Treat them like gold. See them as partners. And forget the pay "monthly". Wow, that's not a good start. I pay weekly. And yes, an environment where there's reward and recognition works better than hiring just one.

    Also, I find too many people are easily disappointed because the hiring process didn't work out. I see it as doing a sale: you'll have to do the numbers to find the good ones, and even then, the pure sales people usually go all out yet tire fast and go from project to project so you might not keep them for long anyway... unless you create a great place to work with.

    I find that having realistic expectations AND treating them well goes a long way in getting both of you what you want. I want the best for them and my clients, so in the end only the competition is losing. But if a sales rep doesn't work out, or if many good reps quit and move to something else, I'm not more surprised about that than Google or Facebook making a drastic change, or another WSO coming out I *need* to buy

    I might not like it but it is what it is. Get your mindset right and go for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by Jay Rhome View Post

      Treat them like gold. See them as partners. And forget the pay "monthly". Wow, that's not a good start. I pay weekly. And yes, an environment where there's reward and recognition works better than hiring just one.

      Also, I find too many people are easily disappointed because the hiring process didn't work out. I see it as doing a sale: you'll have to do the numbers to find the good ones, and even then, the pure sales people usually go all out yet tire fast and go from project to project so you might not keep them for long anyway... unless you create a great place to work with.

      I find that having realistic expectations AND treating them well goes a long way in getting both of you what you want. I want the best for them and my clients, so in the end only the competition is losing. But if a sales rep doesn't work out, or if many good reps quit and move to something else, I'm not more surprised about that than Google or Facebook making a drastic change, or another WSO coming out I *need* to buy

      I might not like it but it is what it is. Get your mindset right and go for it.
      I tend to agree that hiring in volume is the way to roll something out...However I think most of these guys are just answering the OP's question directly.

      I asked a multimillionaire once "how do you maintain your success".

      He said "Most people are trying to sell you something they think you would like better... I just give people what they want instead".

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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Wow! Thanks so much guys!

    Rick, Michael, Rob, Jay, John... Much appreciated, your tips, alerts and guidelines are going to be used this weekend to do another in-house discussion of all the points you guys mentioned. To be honest I knew I it was going to be difficult to hire the right sales guy, but your tips have put a whole new perspective in my plans.

    My head is still spinning.
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  • Profile picture of the author localvseo
    You could go to a trade show. There are often a lot of networking opps there. Try to identify aggressive guys who are independent who are already selling a product that is non-competitive but same industry target. See if you can get them to start pushing your services as well. If you line up 3 to 5 people like this you may find a winner out of the bunch.
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  • Profile picture of the author localvseo
    One other idea I just remembered I used a long time ago. There are sites for manufacturer's reps if you search. These are independent sales guys,often experienced, looking to represent product lines. You may find a guy already selling similar services that could be good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Thanks guys, much appreciated.

    Yesterday had a casual meeting with a friend of mine, he runs a sales team (not in this area, but they're all door to door salesman) and he also gave me some good advises, including some already stated above. I'll be meeting him next week and hopefully everything is on the right track, so my company has at least 2 salespersons in January 01 2012.

    Going up baby!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author Vikuna2009+
      Well Fernando, you've gotten lots of good advise here and I thought I would just throw in my own 2 cents to the pot. There are a couple of "groups" of people that have not been mentioned in this thread.

      Group one: House wives. I know you are in Portugal and I have no idea about what kind of cultural differences/accepted norms/behaviours/perceptions are in your country. However, there are many capable women and no, I never have been a housewife myself, lol.

      A woman who manages a household, the kids, organizes all the activities, is active with school activities, maybe donating her time to some charities etc., has the capacity to influence her circle of friends/family and others. She is NOT dependent on the income, it will just enhance her family's lifestyle. Even if all she's got is 10 hours a week, she will be slowly learning, selling and expanding once she sees the possibilities. And, there is no need for an attitude "adjustment" since she is not really a jaded salesman, looking for the best perks.

      Another group would be semi- or fully "retired early" people. Since you are in sunny Portugal, there are probably a lot of "snow birds" there from other countries. Some might just spend their winters there, others do year around. Depending on your target market, there might be a language barrier there, it might not.

      For them, they probably do not really NEED the money. But, what once was thought as a good idea to retire might now be a total bore and they just want something meaningful to do.

      A third group (yeah, I said two at first, lol) would be a recently graduated student with no experience. Here's your chance in doing some molding... Their young age could be an advantage in presenting today's technologies.

      Hope that helps, Eva
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  • Profile picture of the author danielkanuck
    You have to advertise, then meet them. Then if you have any proprietary software that they can use to key in orders, you have to train them how to use that also. Give them literature that they can use to sell more for you. Offer rewards and higher commissions for your top sellers. Get them to hit the campaign trail hard and go into local businesses and inform them on how they can help the business owner make more money. This is door-to-door selling, but depending on how much you're paying them, have them assist you with developing direct mail campaigns and cold calling procedures.
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