How to Minimize Turnover on Your Sales Staff

Turnover in sales is high — to say the least. With an annual sales turnover rate of 27%, it’s actually double the rate of the overall labor force.

Not only are the rates unfortunate, but they’re also costly. The time and money you spend on sales training are lost. Your investment doesn’t bring the return you needed. It’s back to square one every time a salesperson leaves.

Why do salespeople leave so frequently? Mainly because they don’t hit their goals. Instead of individually fixing the problem, managers usually try to treat everyone the same and find a one-size-fits-all solution to sales challenges.

But different people have different challenges.

Most salespeople don’t want to do a bad job — they just don’t know how to do a good job. They don’t know what steps to take to be successful. They need a strategy. And as their manager, it’s your job to help them find it.

Here’s how to get them on track.

1. Be Present

Good managers are aware of what’s going on with their team. They’re keyed-in and alert to how everyone’s doing and what their team needs. They look for ways to specifically equip their salespeople and help them improve.

Good managers do NOT do the salesperson’s job for them. A lot of sales managers were good salespeople who want to be friends with their sales team. But it doesn’t help anyone when this relationship turns into favor-asking and oversights. Instead, be aware of how your team members operate and show them the path to improvement individually. Give them the flexibility to decompress. Empathize with their situation. Then give them the tools they need to turn that stress into a challenge, not a threat.

2. Match Pay to Effort

No one wants to be a part of a get-rich-quick scheme. We’re too smart to think that easy money is all it seems. At the same time, no one wants to be underpaid for what they do. People start looking for other jobs when the pay doesn’t line up. If you pay too much, they don’t feel good about their work. If you pay too little, they start looking for another company who will pay them the real value of their contribution.

The compensation has to be commensurate with their efforts. The best compensation structure is typically one that mirrors the way your business makes money. If your salespeople profit as your business does, everyone is motivated to make the company more successful. If there are certain activities that are valuable to you, then pay them for it. But make sure those efforts help achieve results that benefit everyone.

3. Recruit the Right Employees

As you’re building your team and structuring compensation, you’re also cultivating a positive environment. Keep HR in the loop on how your team works. Make sure they know your core values and the positive culture you’ve established. In the interview process, ask questions that give insight on their values. You need to know if they believe in your core values. If they have the potential to become a core value violator, don’t hire them.

Also, have your salespeople recruit when you’re looking to hire a new team member. If they’re active in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring, you’ll eliminate a lot of red-flag candidates and therefore eliminate a lot of sales turnover.

Each person has a unique approach to sales, but everyone wants a boss who’s in their court. They want someone on their team who’s rooting for their success. If you’re a tuned-in manager who helps each salesperson hone their sales approach, offers fair compensation, and hires based on values and positivity, you’ll build a team that will last.

Increase Sales in Your Organization by Building a Culture of Positivity

culture of positivity

B Positive isn’t just my blood type — it’s also my philosophy.

How do people reach success? Well, the common thread in my past endeavors is happiness. When people are happy and begin to envision success, they become an unstoppable force.

If we want our organizations to be their best, we need to be positive. We need to lead by making good decisions that produce end results that benefit everyone.

How to Build a Positive Culture

Sure, there’s the mentality that if you’re going to make an omelet, you’ll have to crack a few eggs. Yes, there’s stress in any organization. You’ll need to have tough conversations with people as you lead them and hold them accountable.

Yet in a culture of positivity, people realize you’re all on the same team. You’re working towards the same goal. People with a common goal and positive attitude view tough conversations as a challenge, not a threat. Ultimately, they move forward for the good of the organization. (Or they don’t make it in sales and you’ll hire someone who wants to get on board.)

This is how you create that culture… the culture of positivity.

1. Create a Clear Line of Sight

Show your employees the big picture. When we understand the reason for our work and our role in the team’s success, our work becomes easier because it’s purposeful. So explain to your team:

  • What’s the end goal?
  • What happens when the organization is successful?

Then make sure each person knows how they fit into the big picture. How do they help the company reach its goal? Why is their role important?

One of the best ways to do this is to explain what problem you’re solving as a team. Everybody is happier solving problems than they are identifying problems. So focus on how you’re effectively resolving issues and making the workplace better.

2. Set the Tone

As a leader, you need to cast a vision and lead by example. Communicate your focus and then lead from the front. Think of it like pulling spaghetti. When someone makes spaghetti, they have to get in front of the machine and pull the noodles out. They don’t sit in the back and jam it through. They actually guide the dough from the front.

That’s your job as a leader. You guide your employees in attitude, work ethic, and values.

3. Surround Yourself With People who WANT to Be Part of Your Culture

You need people on your team who are willing to be positive. Establish core values and hold people accountable to them — even your customers. Only work with companies that align with those values. If you have any core value violators — customers, employees, vendors — get rid of them immediately. Core value violators are like a virus that can infect your entire organization.

Once you have your goals and culture established, make sure you’re recruiting people who are willing to join that culture. Everybody from the bottom to the top needs to feel as though they have a stake in the outcome and be willing to positively contribute to the team.

What’s So Bad About Negativity?

It isn’t hard to find negative people. We can write negativity off as the norm or even chalk it up to humor. But who really wants to be in the culture negativity creates?

We’ve all been part of a negative culture — even if we didn’t realize it at the time. In these organizations, you’re told what you did wrong… constantly. You’re never told what you did right. Your boss brings their shortcomings and negativity to the table. They’re leading by example. They don’t feel successful, so you don’t feel successful. You feel like you’re barely scraping by as you eat your way through each day, ready for the evening. You’re watching the ship sink without the energy to run any rescue ops.

No one wants to work in a place like this. No one thrives in these cultures. See, most of what goes on in our lives is internal, not external. If we’re not in a positive culture, it affects our internal selves. We’re negative about life, finding faults rather than silver linings.

I just talked to a friend who was promoted this week. The new job is awesome! She’ll be doing what she wanted to do and earning more money… but not as much as she expected. Now, she doesn’t know if she should take the promotion. She’s been in a toxic culture for a while and that negativity is skewing her perspective.

I told her, “Life is going to be better! The only negative is that the money isn’t exactly what you wanted — but you’ll enjoy what you do. You spend about 70% of your awake time at work — the money isn’t as important as actually enjoying your work!” That’s the big picture. But because she’s been in a negative culture, she couldn’t see it.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest when we’re in the trees. And even the best of us can lose perspective when we’re surrounded by negativity.

Start With You

A positive culture starts at the top and works its way down. Effective leaders create the vision. Then they take their vision from “me” to “we.” They cast that vision for the entire team and get everyone working in the same direction.

Leaders impact and administrators preside. Be the leader. Leaders make changes and grow their people. They make a difference. Administrators just make sure there’s governance on what everyone’s supposed to be doing. Leaders make it happen. They’re leading the pack to accomplish goals that benefit everyone.

Great leaders, positive leaders, do what it takes to make the entire team successful and create a culture that keeps that success going.

Wireless Retailers: How to Drastically Improve Your Employees’ Phone Greetings

Wireless Retailers_ How to Drastically Improve You

No one actually makes a phone call anymore, right? Who would call a wireless store before they buy their phone? They can see stock online, map their own directions, and do their own research, so does anyone really call?

Yes! And as a wireless retailer how you answer the phone matters!

If you don’t have a great greeting and a way to connect with your customers immediately, you’re losing up to a third of your business opportunities. But don’t worry — it’s an easy fix.

Why Customers Call

There’s a common misconception that no one calls businesses anymore — it’s just not true. Yes, live chats, emails, and messaging give customers other ways to communicate, but those options haven’t completely replaced the phone call. We discovered that 27% of all our business comes through a phone call — that’s almost a third of our sales! If you’re in retail, I bet your figures are similar.

See, before your potential customer invests their time and gas money into making a visit to your store, they want to know it will be worthwhile. So they call to see if you’re really open during the hours you advertise online. They want to know if you’re located where they think.

Customers also may want to check your inventory. Do you really have that space gray iPhone?

They’re also giving your customer service a trial run. The phone call is a test — will you price match that accessory? Remember, this is an investment. They’re trying to see if you’re someone they want to do business with.

The Best Way to Answer the Phone

Want to know how NOT to answer your phone? Call any corporate wireless company and you’ll likely hear an automated phone tree that sounds like this: “Thank you for calling Anywhere Wireless USA. Please press one if you have a question about your bill. Press two if you’d like to sign up for our service. Press three if you have a technical issue.”

The best way to show your customers you care is to actually answer the phone. When a real person picks up the phone, you’ve already communicated that you care about your customers.

But you can’t answer haphazardly — there’s a technique to it… and your employees will likely need some phone-answering lessons (especially if they’re under 30 — remember, they’ve grown up in the world of texting and video messaging. Phone calls aren’t in their repertoire).

Here’s the best way to answer your calls:

1. Answer with energy

Stand up! It’s time to talk with a customer. When the phone rings, get on your feet and answer with energy.

Think of it like an audition. If you were trying out for American Idol, you wouldn’t walk on stage and sit down in a chair to perform. You’d stand! Standing gives your voice energy, excitement, and inflection you wouldn’t otherwise have. It helps you stay engaged and sound interested. Your goal is to tell the customer you care.

So when you open with, “Thanks for calling Absolute Wireless! This is Robert. How can I help you today?”, you’re telling the customer, “I care about you! You’re worth my time and energy!”

2. Exchange names

After you answer, they’ll likely launch into their questions, “Where are you located? Do you have XYZ?” No matter what they ask, your response is the same…

“Great! First things first. What’s your name?”

“Julie.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Julie. Again, my name is Robert. You’ve called the right place. Now let me answer your question…”

See, before you deal with the question, you need to exchange names. Say their name back to them. We love to hear our own names. When we hear our names spoken, it builds rapport and increases the opportunity that we’ll close a sale together. But why should the customer know your name? They need to know who to find when they visit your store.

Here’s what you don’t want: You don’t want Julie to come in the store and say, “I talked to some (old/young/white/black/loud/raspy) guy.” You want Julie to ask for you by name.

Related: Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

So you’ll also repeat your name throughout the call. Find a way to say, “Again, my name is Robert. Just ask for Robert when you come by — I’m your new wireless guy!”

3. Book an appointment

Your goal on a call is NOT to close a sale — it’s to book an appointment.

Sometimes we’re tempted to answer all the customer’s questions on the phone. Wrong approach. They could be on their computer ready to buy from someone else and you’re just helping close someone else’s deal. You want them to come in and buy from you.

Your mission is to set an appointment. You start the rapport over the phone and continue to build it when you meet in person. Once people are with you face to face, it’s easier to handle their objections and they’ll feel more obligated to buy. It’s far easier to close the sale in person.

However, don’t mistakingly assume they know where you’re located. Always confirm your location before they hang up. They may think they called another store (your competitor!). You don’t want to work on booking an appointment and let someone else close the deal. So double-check your location during the call.

To learn more about how to make the sale when you meet, check out Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

4. Master the perfect exit

I’m always amazed when I call a store and hear a flat, “Hi, thanks for calling Anytime USA Wireless, how can I help you? Uh-huh, uh-uh, uh-huh,” and then silence — not even a goodbye. You don’t build any rapport when you hardly speak to your customer.

Think of a good call like a song — you need energy, dynamics, a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t just fade out. Instead, keep that energy going until the end of the call. Recap what you talked about and confirm your name, the appointment time, and the location. Your close may sound like this:

“Hey, Julie, it was a pleasure to speak with you. I’m excited that we can work together. I can’t wait to see you at 2 o’clock today. As a reminder, this is where we are located. If you’d like, I can text you our address so you don’t lose it and you have my name. If you ever need anything or you need to reschedule, I’m here to help. Thanks, Julie. You have a great day now. Travel safe.”

You’ll notice there’s a lot of name repetition and reminders of the location. When you close a call like this, your customer knows they’re in good hands.

Phone calls may not be the newest technology in communication, but they’re still relevant. If you’re not training employees on how to answer the phone well, it’s time to start.

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their First Appointment

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their F

1. Don’t barf on the customer’s shoes.

2. Dismal failure is highly unlikely.

These are the two most basic lessons new sales reps need to understand before going to their first solo sales appointment. New salespeople are nervous, to say the least (hence the vomiting advice)! As a manager, it’s up to you to set your new sales reps up for success.

Maybe you’re a manager who attempts to tell new hires all you know about sales before their first appointment. Or maybe you’re the type who kicks them out of the nest to see if they fly.

The key is to find the balance — new sales reps need guidance, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with new information. Here’s how to be the leader they need and four essential tips to get them started.

Be the Leader New Sales Reps Need

Inexperienced sales reps look to their sales managers for leadership. As a manager, you need to coach them in the skills it takes to be successful: consistent work ethic, deliberate work flow, strong listening skills, and realistic expectations.

Set clear expectations.

Be clear about what each salesperson should be doing with their time. Then inspect what you expect. If you expect someone to meet ten new prospects a week, check to see whether they’ve done it.

Explain the value of activity.

There’s more to the sales process than closing a deal. Just because the prospect doesn’t buy, doesn’t mean the sales rep wasted time. There’s value to each step of the process. Explain the different types of value each interaction offers: the prospect knows who you are, they’re in your nurturing process, and they may lead to a referral.

Model listening.

When you go to the first few appointments with your new sales reps, take a step back and observe. By doing so, you don’t compromise their authority with the prospect. If you interject and take charge, the prospect will want to work with you, not them.

More importantly, you model how to listen. Listening is an essential sales tool. As a salesperson, you have to listen to prospects so you can learn about their needs and figure out how to meet those needs. By listening to your reps, you teach the value of listening by example.

Tell them the realistic outcomes.

What can a new rep realistically expect from their first appointments? If they think they’re going to close a deal during their first meeting, they’ll likely be very disappointed. Then reassure them they won’t completely fail.

Four Tips That Lead to the Right Mindset

To really help new sales reps enter their first appointment with the right perspective, share these four tips. It’ll help them see the big picture without getting overwhelmed.

1. You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Let’s say you cold-call someone — you don’t have their business anyway, which means there’s nothing to lose. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Just by going to the appointment, you’re better off.

2. Set easy goals.

Your goal for a first appointment isn’t to make a sale. The goal is getting the prospect to agree to the next phone call or meeting. It’s an easy win — be brief, be brilliant, and count it as a success.

Keep setting easy goals the whole way through the process. Every time you meet a simple goal, it’s a win! These baby steps help a new salesperson focus and lead prospects to buy. Buyers need someone to guide them through the sales process — and easy goals do just that!

3. No one will remember your screw-ups.

It’s unlikely you’ll see your prospects again. You won’t run into this person weeks from now and hear, “Stop! You’re the idiot who messed up that appointment!” It won’t happen.

4. End with action.

Always end sales conversations with a next action. Even if a prospect seemingly turns you down, you can end the appointment gracefully with a next step.

If they’re on board and say, “Let’s get together sometime next month to keep talking about this.” Say something like, “Great. Let’s get it on the calendar. What about Thursday the 15th at 10:00?” Set a specific date and close the loop.

If they’re not interested, you can still have a next step and closure. Maybe they say, “My brother-in-law handles this need for me. I’m not going to mess up our family dynamics, so I’m not going to buy from you.” You reply, “I totally understand. Here’s what’s going to happen. Keep my contact info in case you get in a pinch and we’ll touch base down the road.” They agree to it, and you close the loop.

Always have a next action, tell them what it is, and get them to agree. Don’t be bossy — just be organized.

Empowering young salespeople has benefits for everyone involved. The more successful they are, the more successful your company. Plus, if they’re successful and supported by your team, they’ll likely stick around (which means you’ll spend less time training replacements).

Do you have other newbie sales tips that have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments below!

The 3 Critical Roles of a Perfectly Structured Sales Team

The 3 Critical Roles of a Perfectly Structured Sal

In a perfect world, sales departments hire three different types of people — then they let them play to their strengths. There are different types of sales jobs for different types of people. As a manager, you need to use that to your advantage.

There are hunters, farmers, and account managers. And typically, a person good at making phone calls isn’t good at closing… and vice versa. Usually, these three different roles require three different personality types. If you want to get the most from your sales team, you need to make sure you have all the needed personalities covered.

Different Jobs Need Different People

People need sales roles that fit their personalities — which I learned the hard way in my years running call centers. A person great at sales typically isn’t great at prospecting because they don’t like to be told no.

There’s a high turnover for telemarketers too. It’s grueling low-wage work that pushes most people outside their comfort zone since they’re cold-calling strangers all day. The average telemarketer only stays six weeks.

Most companies accommodate for this by giving their marketers a script. Then they deliver a live version of a pre-recorded message. But we were in a different situation. We sold high-ticket items to executives. We couldn’t expect good results from our employees just reading scripts. So we focused on finding the right types of people and creating a sales team structure that worked for everyone. Consequently, most of our telemarketers worked for us for years (not months), and our sales were top notch.

Here’s how we did it.

1. We figured out WHO to hire.

We gave all applicants a version of a personality test to see if they’d fit with the demands of the job.

2. We optimized the work environment.

For cold-calling, more breaks are better. So we gave all workers a ten-minute break every hour. Now, they didn’t need to have conversations about who’s going to the bathroom at what time. They just had to stay with the calls for 50 minutes of every hour.

3. We stopped work at 2:00 p.m. on Fridays.

In business-to-business sales, not much happens on Friday afternoons. So we gave our employees the afternoon off each week. They got a long weekend. Plus, they had a few business hours left to schedule doctors appointments or run to the bank so they didn’t have to take time off during the week.

4. We sold them on their work.

We all want to feel satisfied — like what we’re doing matters. So we helped our telemarketers believe in what they sold. They didn’t need to understand all the details, but they needed to believe in our product’s ability to provide solutions.

In call centers, we were looking for people that could go out and find new prospective buyers. These had to be people that could bounce back from rejection and move on to the next prospect. But this is only one step of the buying process. To take someone from prospect to client to satisfied customer, you actually need three types of people to work three different stages of the sales process.

3 Essential Sales Roles of the Perfect Sales Team

The sales process is broken into three stages: prospecting, closing, and managing accounts. Rather than make each salesperson responsible for different clients as they walk through each stage, designate the roles of hunters, farmers, and account managers.

1. Hunters

These are the salespeople who find new leads and generate more business. They hunt for the next big sale. They’re responsible for keeping active opportunities in the pipeline.

2. Farmers

These are your cultivators. They take the leads from the hunters and cultivate the relationship. They’re great closers — they know how to move people from interested to sold.

3. Account Managers

These salespeople keep your current customers happy. They maintain the relationship and boost sales by meeting the needs of the clients you already have. They treat each customer like your best prospect — because they are.

Rather than force your salespeople to play all these parts, give each salesperson one role to master. Use their giftedness to determine where they fit best — then let them focus on clients for that particular stage of the sales process before passing them to the next person.

When sales teams manage their accounts singularly, they have lots of ups and downs in sales. They’re reactive to their pipeline. They have an on-quarter, then an off-quarter. Why? They make a lot of calls, get a lot of appointments, and go to these appointments. But while they’re following up with their leads, they stop making the calls to keep their pipeline filled. When the smoke clears, they have to start all over again.

So, if it’s possible, have different people in each role. People will work where they thrive to boost the sales of the entire team.

For more on hiring, check out this post: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

What If You Only Have One Salesperson?

Maybe you’re not to the point where you have three salespeople that can meet these three different roles. That’s okay. Knowing these three roles can still improve your approach to sales. Here’s how to make it work:

1. Spend time in each role.

Realize that there are three stages of the process — and each stage needs attention.

2. Focus on getting activity.

Keep making those cold calls. Keep making those appointments. If you keep up the activities that generate sales, sales will eventually follow.

3. Establish processes.

How do you follow through on leads and clients to keep everyone on board? Create timelines and scripts for follow-up so you don’t neglect any particular area.

4. Minimize data entry.

You didn’t hire your salespeople so they could do reporting. You hired them for sales relationships — so that’s where they need to spend their time. Yes, you need to know their activity levels. And typical CRMs require about 3-5 hours a week of data entry. If you could cut that down to 1-2 hours, what would that mean to your company? Rather than plugging in records, your salesperson gets to keep generating leads and managing clients.

Now, if you have 20 salespeople, how much more does less data entry impact your company? If every salesperson saves just one hour per week, you now have 20 extra hours of sales-focused time. That’s 20 more appointments or 200 more cold calls… and that means more clients!

When you trim back the activities that don’t lead to sales, you can maximize the activities that get results.

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Restoration companies need to be in the right place at the right time. When the flood comes, the fire consumes, or a pipe bursts, your company wants to be on speed dial.

But how do you get your restoration company on their short list? In home restoration, you depend on referrals. Sure, you go through regular advertising channels, but professional referrals make you stand out. To have a testimony to the professionalism and quality of your home restoration company is clutch to a homeowner or business in need.

So how do you create a strong referral program? You build intentional relationships with professionals.

It’s all about keeping in touch. You need a rhythm — a way to reach out to people regularly so you don’t fall into the rut of contacting the same agents repeatedly. Instead, you need to give your attention to as many professional contacts as possible to make sure it’s you they call when it’s time to rehab.

Consistency = Trust

A lead management tool makes this rhythm work. It helps you keep track of information so you see the right people at the right frequency.

How? First, it tells you who’s nearby. If you drive across town for one appointment, you’re not maximizing your time. You may or may not get a return. Instead, when you drive to meet a contact, you need to see 5-10 other people too, whether new prospects or people you already know. Sales lead management software that shows you who’s close makes this easy.

This tool helps you to see your professional contacts regularly. That consistency builds trust — and trust is essential to earn professional referrals. See, insurance agents are recommending you to their customers. This recommendation implies you’re an extension of both the carrier and the agent. If you don’t do a good job, that’s a direct reflection on the insurance agent and company. So, if you want to be the person they refer, you need to give them a reason to believe sending clients to you is an intelligent decision. The right tool keeps you on track — it only takes one slip to ruin that relationship. But, if you’re organized and consistent, you’re building the trust they need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Related: How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

Improving Your Compensation Structure

The best software for sales lead management also helps you better compensate your salespeople. See, salespeople in other industries are paid based on their sales productivity. They earn commission by getting dollars through the door. But, in restoration services, salespeople can’t exactly create their sales — they’re not starting fires or busting pipes. So instead of basing commissions on sales alone, they need a structure that incentivizes activity. Why? Activity leads to phone calls that ultimately lead to sales.

We’ve worked with numerous companies to restructure their commissions based on activity levels. Let’s say we start with a 2% commission on sales from one of your referral sources or commercial accounts. Then give your salespeople the opportunity to increase that commission percentage with activity levels. As salespeople hit the target number of appointments, lunches, phone calls, and meetings with professional references, they bump up their commission to the next level.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

The goal is to keep your sales team out of research mode and in the field meeting people. It’s the face-to-face meetings that earn money — it’s walking through office doors, having lunch, and playing golf that builds the relationship.

Plus, there’s not much to research — if you need to know where the agents are, just open your CallProof app and it’ll tell you.

The Two Most Ignored Markets in Home Restoration

Most home restoration salespeople know to stay in touch with insurance agents, but there are two vertical markets they miss — and both are clients with lots of toilets.

Sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. If a property has lots of toilets, they’ll have a water problem at some point. So they need to be on your radar. Here are two specific markets this includes:

1. Property Managers of Multi-Family Properties

The more property someone owns, the more likely they are to need restoration services. Properties with multi-family units likely have a lot of toilets and water lines. So stay in contact with them. After you meet with them and initiate the relationship, tell them you’ll call once a quarter to check in. Really, call them every 60 days to make sure they’re doing okay. Then see them (face-to-face) twice a year.

If you cover a specific geographic area and you know an ice storm came through, send them an email, “Hey, I hope you’re okay. Not all of our clients are. Do you need anything?” Whether they need you or not, they’ll know you were alert and ready to help.

2. Businesses With Lots of Toilets

Businesses and other commercial entities are another missed market. Churches, libraries, factories, and school districts are prime contacts for restoration. They have assets they need to protect from fires, floods, and storm damage. Any business you assume has an on-staff maintenance person or any building over 40,000 square feet is a contact you want to have.

Let them know about the risks they have too. In the event of a sewer backup, is their maintenance staff blood-borne pathogen certified? Do they want to handle that? No, they want to outsource to eliminate risk. I guarantee, if the risk manager at their insurance agency found out that someone who isn’t blood-borne pathogen-certified was working on the sewer backup, there’d be issues. They don’t want to do that — it just puts them at risk.

When you meet with asset owners of these businesses, make them aware of the risks they face. Here’s just one (true) story of why letting the pros handle cleanup is best.

During a busy time of year, a restoration company hired a temp to help with janitorial work. The guy they hired had a history of heroin use and intravenous needles. He worked a few hours of a sewer cleanup (wearing full protective gear) before he quit and walked off the job.

Later, he sued them because he tested positive for hepatitis C… and he won. He had 20 years of needle usage in his history, but after working less than a day on a cleanup with blood-borne pathogens won the lawsuit. And they’ll win every time. That’s how dangerous some of these issues are.

The Real Value of Relationship

Having a relationship with your company is helpful to you — but it’s valuable to agents and owners too. Sometimes, they don’t understand that the best deals don’t come out of the phone book. If they start looking for a restoration company during a 2:00 a.m. emergency, they won’t get special treatment. In fact, they’ll likely get a hefty bill and a lot of stress. Help them understand this. A pre-existing relationship with your company protects their assets (and bank accounts) during unexpected crises.

Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone: A Lesson In Sales Cold Call Training

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The busier the prospect, the better the prospect they are. I’ve spent most of my career owning business-to-business call centers and teaching people the tricks of the cold-calling trade. And we find this to be true across the board.

If you’re finding the right prospects, they won’t have much time to talk to you. It’s not that they hate cold calls — they just don’t have time to waste. So you need to be brief, be brilliant, and then be gone.

Know Your Purpose Before You Call

Before you call, identify your short-term goal. What’s your call to action? How can you get them to take the next step? Usually, the goal is to get a follow-up call or schedule a meeting. Whatever it is, make it easy.

Unless you’re just lucky, you won’t get a demo or make a sale on the first call. So, aim for a simple next step. This is the 3-part process I use to train salespeople for cold calls with busy prospects. Use it to give the client the information they need, get their attention, and then get out of their way.

A Simple 3-Step Process for Successful Cold Calls

1. Be Brief

People only care about what it is, why they need it, and how much it costs. That’s all they want to know, so don’t waste their time with extra info at this point. Tell them what you do, why it matters, and then schedule the next meeting.

Your call may sound like this:

“Hey, I have a way for outside salespeople to never have to do reports again. You won’t be chasing down leads and you will never have to wonder what happened to a dropped prospect.

We did this for a company with 1,000 sales reps. Now, none of their 70 sales managers have had to call their team for a report since. Plus, now they can figure out if new salespeople are going to work out within days instead of weeks.

Love to talk to you about it Thursday at 10. What does your calendar look like?”

2. Be Brilliant

You’ve also got to get their attention. How is your product relevant and personalized to their needs? We know that sales managers have trouble getting their team to submit reports. We know that people lose prospects and never know what happened to the deal. That’s what we help fix — so we use it as a hook.

Look at the difference. A traditional cold call might sound like this:

“Hi, my name is Clayton Geiser. I’m with CallProof, and we’re a company that helps salespeople implement a new type of CRM. If I could show you how this works, it’d change the way you do business. Our CRM capitalizes on the use of mobile devices to track and contact your clients. May I speak with the person responsible for making decisions regarding your CRM software?”

A brief and brilliant cold call might sound like this:

“Hey, I’m Clayton Geiser with CallProof. You can look us up – it’s worth a Google. We have a way to make sure that your salespeople turn in reports on time so you can do your job and build a business. Love to talk to you about that. I know I just called you, but what does your calendar look like next Thursday?”

See the difference? You’d hang up on the first guy, but you’d take a call like the second. Why? It’s novel and relevant — in other words, brilliant!

3. Be Gone

Once the prospect agrees, say, “Great! I’ll shoot you an email to confirm the time, and I’ll talk to you on Thursday. If you have a pen handy, I’m going to give you my number just so you have it.” Even if they don’t write it down, it makes the interaction more tangible.

Then get off the phone. Remember, these people are busy, so they don’t want to deal with someone who wastes their time. By ending the call this way, they know it’s over. Plus, they assume you’ll respect their time in the future.

Related: Cold-Calling Anxiety? These 6 Tips Will Help You Overcome Your Fear

People have been telling me that cold calling is dead since the 90’s. Sure, it’s been overused in the past, but it’s still a tool that has to be in your arsenal. Good cold calling works, plain and simple. You just need to implement these three powerful steps.

Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

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It’s tough to find a good salesperson — especially if you’re selling commodities. And when you’re hiring sales teams, building an entire group of great salespeople seems impossible.

After all, it takes more than good commissions to make a top seller. You can’t just up someone’s pay in hopes they’ll transform into an awesome salesperson. So who are those rare jewels… and how can they start working for you?

Where to Find the Best Salespeople

When it’s time to hire sales associates, where do you start looking? In reality, the best salespeople are already employed. The best way to find a new salesperson is through referrals. Then you have to recruit them, deal with turnover, and try to keep them around.

Those better-than-average salespeople have two qualities.

1. They love to sell. They can’t get enough of the high after they close a deal, so they’re always looking for the next deal to chase. Plenty of people are good salespeople — they are the people that like to close and like chasing a sale. But the great ones love it.

2. They need to sell. The payout needs to be high enough to warrant the work that goes into closing a deal. If someone’s making enough money to be content without closing new deals, they probably won’t.

Top salespeople love and need to sell. Sales is different from account management. Great account managers are more common, but someone who can go into a business, figure out what they need, and follow through with a sale is a gem.

4 Big Mistakes in Your Sales Recruitment Strategy

Great salespeople may be rare, but they’re out there. When it’s time to hire your next salesperson, avoid these mistakes that could keep you from finding (or keeping) a top performer:

1. Hiring Too Quickly

Sometimes we’re so desperate for another salesperson, we rush the process. Instead, take time to find out more about a candidate and how they operate. Ask them about their other jobs and their lead process. Do they have a “No Client Left Behind” process? What do they do after they leave a meeting? What’s their system for follow-up? If they can’t tell you exactly what they do, that’s a red flag. Great salespeople have systems that result in closed deals.

People can busy themselves with 100 different activities that don’t equate to sales. Checking emails, filing papers, and researching software are all good organization practices, but they don’t lead to sales. So find out from the beginning if they know how to engage in activities that lead to sales, like meetings and phone calls.

2. Poor Compensation Structure

Structure your compensation in such a way that salespeople need to sell and are well-rewarded when they do. If you have a salesperson that loves to close deals, but makes plenty of money after a few big successes, their motivation takes a nosedive. So look at various pay structures to offer enough incentive to motivate your sellers.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

3. Inadequate Training

Sometimes we either skimp on the training so people can get to the field, or we train so much on the product that we forget to train on the sales process. Make sure you train in the things that matter for closing deals — activity levels, how to qualify a prospect, and follow-up.

People need to know what types of work lead to sales and what to look for in a product. They also need to understand the real value of doing business with your company. What problem does the product solve? When they understand and believe in the narrative of how this solution changes things, sales happen.

They don’t need to know everything, but they definitely need enough info to identify the opportunities and solve business problems.

Related: How to Cut Your Sales Training in Half and Improve Retention

4. Lack of Accountability

We all need accountability. Even the best salespeople work more productively when they know they’ll have to answer for their schedule. So keep your team on target with their quotas. Monitor their activity and check in when the numbers are off. Some people ask their sales team to enter activities into a CRM at the end of the week, but it’s much easier to use an automated CRM like CallProof. Then your team just logs their activities with the push of a button. They’re incentivized to stay on track, and you see who’s really meeting their goals.

Hiring mistakes cost you revenue. They drain your time and distract from potential sales. So when you find the right person, don’t let them slip through the cracks. Do the prep work up front in your hiring, pay structure, training, and reporting to keep the best salespeople working for you.

The Most Successful Sales Teams Avoid These Time Management Mistakes

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As a salesperson, you have a say in how your day unfolds. But as you balance working in the office with prospecting and helping clients, are you really making the most of your time?

Below we’ve listed the most common time management mistakes that salespeople – and sales managers – make. If you want your sales team to run smoothly and effectively, avoid these mistakes and follow the steps listed for a more productive schedule.

The Biggest Time Management Mistakes That Sales Teams Make

Being busy doesn’t mean you’re effective. So look at how you spend your time and schedule your day to see if you’re maximizing your work hours.

Mistake #1: Spending Time on Software Updates and Data Entry

A salesperson’s day should be focused on talking to prospects. You have to work within the office hours of your potential clients. So spend your day making those connections. Other activities can be done other times. The CRM software can be updated anytime. It’s not bound to the 9-5 workday. So save it for a less valuable time of the day.

Mistake #2: Leaving the Schedule Open

Each night before you leave the office, figure out the best plan of action for the next day. If you don’t have a plan, you won’t accomplish as much. Make a schedule of when you’ll prospect and contact clients so you don’t spend your best hours figuring out what to do next.

Managers, help your team by setting clear goals for activity and creating a sample salesperson daily schedule. Then your salespeople have a model of how to structure their day to best use their time.

Follow These 3 Steps to Increase Your Sales Productivity

As you look to increase productivity every month, the key is knowing what works. So, after you set activity level goals for each individual and teach them to schedule their day, you need to check on what’s happening. It’s all about the plan, the reality, and looking for ways to improve.

1. Know the Plan

As a manager, I want to know how my salespeople schedule their day. I want to know who they plan to see and how they envision spending their time. For example, they’ll tell me, “These are the 10 people I’ll see today.”

2. Know What Actually Happened

Next, I need to know how the plan unfolds. What really happens? Do they see all 10 people? Maybe they only see 7 of 10 prospects on their list for the day. Now I can follow up.

3. Calculate the Difference and the Cost

What’s the difference between their plan and reality? In this case, they missed three of their planned contacts for the day. So I ask why. The salesperson says, “The expense report took up my time so I could only get to seven people.”

Now I know the expense report is costing us three visits. If we close 30% of our contacts, that expense report costs us $35K in potential earnings. If my salespeople have to do one expense report a month, it costs us $420K per year per salesperson. Sounds like I need to figure out how to eliminate the expense reports for my sales team. And with that amount of potential profit, I can afford to hire someone that handles expense reports for my team.

When you crunch the numbers and see the differentials, you’ll see what’s standing in the way of closing more sales. Don’t let the we’ve always done it this way mentality stand in your way. Instead, take an honest look at the numbers and eliminate the tasks that create unnecessary obstacles.

Time Management Tips for Sales Managers

Managers, with intentionality, you can teach each member of your team how to be a successful salesperson. Don’t leave it up for them to navigate on their own. Here’s how.

1. Figure Out What They Should and Shouldn’t Be Doing

What’s getting in their way of meeting prospects and closing sales? If you can eliminate unnecessary tasks, do it.

2. Find Solutions

Are expense reports getting in their way? Hire someone to handle those. Is CRM reporting taking up too much time? Find a CRM that automates activity reports. There are solutions out there for these time-consuming tasks — you just need to implement them.

3. Check Activity Levels

Work backwards with your numbers. How many average clients will they need to meet their sales goal? To close that many clients, how many people should they quote? In order to get that number of quotes, how many prospects should they see? How many prospects is that per day?

Then, if you can tell a salesperson exactly how many prospects they should see each day, you’ve taken out your guess work. With an automated CRM, you can hold them accountable to maintaining the activity level they need to meet their goals.

Time Management Tips for Salespeople

1. If It’s on Your Calendar, You HAVE to Do It

It’s easy to snooze a task for later. Don’t do it. Make your calendar sacred. If there’s a task on it, it’s not optional. If you get into a cycle of picking and choosing which tasks you’ll do, you’ll always avoid the most difficult (and maybe most lucrative) ones.

2. Focus on the Highest Payoff Activities

When you have the choice, pick the activities with the highest payoff. Sure, updating your data for the week is important, but what’s the payoff? Cold-calling prospects may be more taxing, but it holds the biggest potential return. So, when your list gets long, don’t start with the menial tasks that don’t make much difference. Instead, start with the ones that pay.

If you’re not using your flexible schedule to your advantage, it’s time to start. Choose activities that bring the most reward and delegate the tasks that don’t.

How to Implement A CRM With Your Sales Team

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Productive. In a word, that was my weekend. I cleaned out the car, re-organized the garage, and even fixed a few things around the house. But there was a problem. I never did the one task I needed to get done. Why? I was avoiding it. And, in an unconscious effort to delay getting to it, I kept finding “better things” to do.

Have you ever done this? There was some dreaded task looming over your head, so you worked at any (and every) thing else?

We all avoid things we don’t like. And if your sales team doesn’t like your CRM, it’ll likely fall to the bottom of their to-do list: the task to complete once all other possible tasks are finished.

Sure, sometimes, salespeople deliberately try to hide their lack of activity — so they don’t follow your sales implementation. But more often than not, they’re just avoiding it. We can always come up with something better than the task we don’t want to do, right?

But why is a CRM so dreaded to the salesperson? Because it’s not built for them.

Who’s the CRM Built For?

Most CRM systems are built for the people who buy them, not for the people who use them. When marketing and IT directors purchase CRMs, they look for the benefits of various data aggregations and spreadsheets. They’re not thinking, “How user-friendly is this for a salesperson?”

Instead, they’ll choose the CRM with features they find helpful, set it up, then require the team to use it. The team will do what they’ve always done. They’ll keep writing things down throughout the week, following their individual systems for managing clients and prospects, but now they have an added responsibility to keep the software updated. So they likely need to block off 4-5 hours every Friday to update their data — a job no one really wants to do.

To the marketing director, the CRM is great because it generates fantastic reports. Yet, to the salesperson, a CRM can be difficult to navigate and entering data becomes cumbersome. So what do they do? Mediocre salespeople make up their data to get by. They want the spreadsheet to say they’re doing a good job. Top performers don’t have time for that. They’re out doing their job, not messing with reports. So they constantly tell their managers that they just don’t have time to get to the data entry. Consequently, the sales manager ends up with skewed numbers that don’t accurately reflect activity.

How To Implement A CRM With Your Salespeople

If you want to get accurate data, you have to find a sales implementation strategy that works for everyone — directors, managers, and salespeople alike. So choose a CRM that fits into their workflow — not one that creates more work. An easy-to-use CRM should make their job easier. It should be a tool that enables them to organize their prospects, document their meetings, and keep track of clients so they can boost their sales. It shouldn’t require them to change their schedule or add another item to their to-do list. A CRM should be a tool that will benefit both of you.

Once you choose your solution, find a partner to help you adopt it. The CRM needs to work for your company and your strategies. Then make sure you have the support necessary to train your sales team so that using the CRM is no longer an obstacle.

We all put off things we don’t like. So, if you want your team to use a CRM, choose one they’re equipped to use, not something they want to avoid.