The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

The next item on my list at the Big Box Home Improvement Store was a moisture meter for the garden. I checked the store’s app to see where I would find the item. The store showed nine in stock but no location.

The employee looked in his device and said the meters were in the Seasonal section at the front of the store. They were not.

The next employee I asked about the meter told me he knew where they were kept and I followed him to a shelf location—that was empty.

Remember, they showed NINE in Stock

He apologized and said they must be out. I showed him in the app where they had nine in stock but that no location was shown. He said, “Sorry, we must be out.”

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Don’t Settle for Being Part of the 80%

Be part of the 20%
Why did you go into Sales?

I am fascinated by what people think sales is about.

  • Easy Money?
  • Easy Work? (Just play golf all day)
  • You were told you were a natural because you talk a lot
  • You can’t find a job so you go into sales
  • You take a job selling until a good job comes along

Easy Money?

It’s easy money. That’s what a lot of people think selling is. How many times have you talked to someone and that thinks that all salespeople do is drive around all day? If that were only true.

Selling is hard work. Prospecting, making phone calls, making appointments, having meetings, being told “we’re not interested”, building proposals, and more. A salesperson spends their day working to get in front of good prospects. Then they spend their evenings putting together proposals they hope will be excepted. Many days go from daylight to well past dark.

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First Day of Sales?

first day of sales

My first days in sales were a mess and I did not achieve quick success but persisted in my pursuit. What could help me achieve success quicker? I wasn’t sure of the answer but knew it was available because of seeing other’s success. I was fresh, raw, and untrained.

On my first day on the job, the Sales Manager said, “Here’s your catalog, there’s your territory. Now go forth and sell.” That was the complete sales training program in a nutshell. I was lost and it took me several weeks to make the first sale. A kind woman took pity on me and bought one case of toilet paper. I thought to myself, “This is not working.”

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How Serious is Your Sales Training?

Corporate Sales Training

Can we all agree that sales is a profession? If you believe it is a hobby or part-time job, you can quit reading now because this is for professionals only.

I’ve been thinking and writing about sales training a lot lately. Two particular articles, Are you the person responsible for sales training, and How necessary is sales training to your corporate success, reflect some of my philosophy.

I know that training is essential to a company’s success, yet I see salespeople struggling to succeed. Why is this? I can only work from my own experience, and with only one exception, it was not a positive one.

I understand the cost factor in extensive training, but I also know it pays off in the long run. Well-trained salespeople tend to stay longer on the job and make more sales at better margins. That is a win/win to me.

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Are you the person responsible for sales training?

Are you responsible

When I started in outside sales, the Sales Manager handed me a 3-ring binder and walked over to a map on the wall. He raised his arm and, with an extended finger, pointed at the map, drawing a lazy circle around an area an hour from the office. He said, “We don’t have customers in this area, so you can call on anybody you like.” It was virgin territory with no list of customers or prospects. That was my training!

Time Passes

Decades later, I became the manager of a wholesale/retail business. In the beginning, I watched the operations to see how things ran. Quickly, I began to notice inefficiencies. 

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How Important is Sales Training to Your Company’s Success?

picture blocks spelling sales training

” I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Muhammad Ali

Do salespeople need training?

Every new sales job I’ve started required some type of training. Whether it was for a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software or product knowledge, training is an essential part of onboarding a new hire. So why do companies fear training new sales reps?

Consider other professions

-marketing
-psychology
-meteorology

Continue reading “How Important is Sales Training to Your Company’s Success?”

Is Persistence the Key to Success

“Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill

Persistence is touted as one of the most desired traits for a salesperson. Do you believe it is true? Even Napoleon Hill said it was unbeatable for success.

That got me to thinking about the word persistence. What does it actually mean?

The definition of persistence shows the following:

persistence (noun)
firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or >opposition.

This is straight from an online dictionary. I’m not sure I like the word obstinate. Does persistence have to be obstinate?

obstinate (adjective)
stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, >despite attempts to persuade one to do so.

I don’t believe obstinate is a desired trait in a successful salesperson. This definition conjures up images of badgering, manipulating, and pushy salesman in my mind.

I like the word “firm” in the definition. When I see that word, I think about someone not giving up too soon. Not backing away needlessly. Having the ability to back up your case and truthfully answer their objections.

What are your thoughts? Maybe I’m off track here. Let me know.

Current Sales Pay Plans

What is Your Current Sales Pay Plans?

My first outside sales pay plan was commission only. No base, no draw, just commission. If I sold, I made money. If not, …. It was a great learning experience. It proved the Tom Hopkins quote, “In sales, there is no ceiling for how much you can earn. Of course, there is no floor either.”

Learn How to Sell

Sales was not a new endeavor for me, but this was my first time where it determined whether I made money. The first few months were tough, but I grew to enjoy the pay plan over time.

I learned to sell using Zig Ziglar’s “Automobile University.” The library was full of cassette tapes at the time, and my first was Tom Hopkin’s “How to Master the Art of Selling.” It was the beginning of my Master’s Degree in self-learned selling.

Next up was Brian Tracy’s “Psychology of Selling.” Then Michael Pink’s “Selling among Wolves.” I was beginning to love the art of selling. And my numbers showed it.

My next sales job was a draw against commission. The draw had a three-month free run, after which you should be earning more than the draw. IF NOT, you went into the hole with the company until you did. I never got into the hole with that incentive.

Then the same company changed the pay plan to be a base salary + commission. The base was small, but the commission was generous. Life was good.

More Pay Plans

As time passed, I noticed that pay plans continued to change. Here is what I can currently identify in pay plans.

  1. Salary Only
  2. Base Salary + Commission
  3. Base Salary + Bonuses
  4. Commission Only
  5. Commission + Bonuses
  6. Draw + Commission

Are there others currently in use by sales companies? I’m curious about that and have set up a survey to see where companies land on this issue.

Please take a second to respond to the survey.

It is only one question from the above choices.

More on this later.