Tag Archives: sales

Do you train your employees? Odds are, NO!

Employee training should be the gold standard for every company, but over a life-time of working for companies, I realize it is not. The position most lacking in training is also the most important to the company … sales. The very position that generates the revenue that supports the company.

I have worked for far too many companies in my life and with only one exception, the training is as follows: “You see that map of our territory? You can call on anyone east of this line. Now go sell something.” And that is one of the better ones, but at least it pointed me in the right direction.

The one exception? Lanier Worldwide. They took training to a level I had not seen before nor since. A new sales person spent the first month in the hiring office studying spec manuals for their products, followed by a week at Corporate putting that knowledge to work. The emphasis in their training was on how to communicate that information to the prospect and make them a customer. They were also the best company I worked for at communicating information, but I’ll save that for another shortcoming of companies article.

I’ve heard lots of excuses for the lack of training programs … it costs too much, it takes too much time, it’s not practical, the new hire is experienced, etc. If I had a dollar for every sales person thrown into a territory completely unprepared, I could retire. And I suspect the results reflect the training. Little training, little results, fantastic training, fantastic results. I know this from my personal experience.

I’m curious, how much time does your company take to train the sales people it hires? Now don’t count the time the new sales person spends in the office filling out paperwork and meeting with HR. I mean real product, territory, and sales training.

In my experience, the only position that receives less training than a new sales person is the newly promoted Sales Manager.

Math for Salespeople: The Definitions

Dollar SignHere are a few terms I will be referring to in this series, and the book.

These definitions are not accounting definitions, but are mine as they address salespeople working everywhere.

Changing Seasons, Changing Directions

Dollar Sign The time has come for The Magnum Life to change directions and focus on a different aspect of life … increasing income for salesmen. Not in the conventional way, but by teaching salesmen the importance of the numbers behind what they sell and how it affects their commission checks.

As I work with salesmen, it is apparent many don’t understand the basics of markups and margins, which is critical because commissions are generally based on the gross margins of their sales.

With a teacher’s heart, I have started working on a book that will cover this aspect of sales in depth, with The Magnum Life acting as the rough drafts and sounding board for the book.

Where It Began

For the last several years, The Magnum Life has been about my travels and experiences on the road as a traveling salesman. The name originated as a result of buying a 2007 Dodge Magnum for a road/sales car. It has a lot of room, runs great, looks great, and gets good gas mileage. But The Magnum Life means far more. It’s about living and enjoying life.

I am no longer a traveling salesman covering the State of Texas, having left the road for a management position for a wholesale/retail distributor. I do, however, still work with salespeople and see several recurring themes … difficulty in getting new business and commissions.

I may address gaining new business as it pertains to the math of commissions, but the main focus is on increasing paychecks by understanding how the percentages work.

Your Input

One of the ideas of writing articles about the endeavor is to solicit your input, questions, and ideas. If I write something you agree or disagree with, that is valuable information in structuring the book. It might not change my viewpoint, but I think discussion about this is important.

The math portion is based off commissions plans I’ve worked under or know other salespeople have been compensated with. The rest is based on my experience as a sales manager for many years.

That’s it for now …

Cold Calling – Ad-hoc

So what do I mean by ad-hoc cold calling? I go over it in the video, but, it is the unplanned call a salesman makes in the field between planned calls.

Your in an area for several schedules appointments. You finish one early and have just over an hour to kill. What do you do? You can go drink coffee or make a couple of unplanned cold calls.

Suspects or prospects … How will you know?

Cold Calling – Target Accounts Part 1

Every day, salesmen are confronted with free time in their day and cold calling is inevitable. Is it worth it? It is a colossal waste of time and energy? Maybe.

In this video I talk a little about the preparation needed for cold calling your target accounts. In a later video I will go over specifics for research.

Cold calling can be profitable is you know your target customer and do a bit of research. You should know your average dollar sale and the commission on that average sale. This will determine the amount of time you spend on research.  Choose to spend your time wisely and it will pay dividends.