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Sales Strategies for Success

Asphalt Sealcoating Direct's Sales Strategies "Road" to Success

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Many have heard me in the past preach about the nature and effectiveness of sales calls and the necessity of making a good "presentation" and lasting impression to potential customers.

The telephone is a very interesting medium in which to practice the art of sales. All of us are use to communicating face-to-face; it's our natural method of communication. However, telephone communication is different and in order to be successful you must understand those differences.

Normal human communication is made up of three critical parts, vocal, verbal and vision. Vision represents 55% of your communication, vocal (tonal qualities) 38%, and verbal (the words, meaning) only represents 7%! In other words it's not "what" you say, but rather "how" you say it that really matters in telephone sales when prospecting new customers.

In a face-to-face conversation you have the element of vision, (55% of your communication) where in a telephone sales call you can't see a darn thing and neither can your prospect. This is why I have often described telephone cold calls in my past presentations as the least effective method of selling a product. Since you likely have nothing to lose but your time when making a cold telephone call, I will later discuss how you can use the telephone to your advantage and as a valuable and important tool for trial and error self improvement training purposes instead!

Let's start by examining what it means when the prospect can't see you during a telephone conversation. The prospect's lack of vision means of course it doesn't matter how well you are dressed, or even if you have taken a bath or whatever - they just can't see you. It also means you have other limitations such as the fact that you can't demo your product or services because the prospect can't see that either.

Therefore, we must consider these facts if the effectiveness of a telephone sale call is your company's goal to achieve new customers for your business.

Remember that the majority of people make purchasing decisions based on an emotional experience and this lack of vision of the actual product or service creates a level of doubt and places extra pressure on your prospect to only imagine that great vision of what you're selling. In a face-to-face conversation your mood is transmitted by your facial expressions, when you are on the telephone your mood is not so clearly transmitted. Your inability to observe the responses of the prospect is even more critical if you are attempting to win them over into a feel good emotional state that would hopefully lead them into a purchasing decision.

When you can't see the prospect you are calling, you lose all the visual clues you would otherwise use in the face-to-face situation. For example, you don't know how big the prospect's company is - if you're selling computers you can't see if the prospect actually has one or not. Additionally, you don't know if the prospect is distracted or even paying attention to you. Have you ever walked in to someone's office or cubical when they are on the telephone? They look up and make a motion like a jabbering mouth indicating to you the person on the other end of the phone is blabbering on an on. Could that be you on the other end of the line? Does this mean the prospect is paying attention? Unfortunately, it's hard to gauge when your sales people are talking or jabbering to perspective clients on the telephone.

The reality is that most sales calls made to a perspective clients is often viewed as a commercial, advertisement, interruption and places a demand on the prospects time. That is... If in fact you have even contacted the decision-maker on the other end of the line. One must keep in mind prospective customers have probably received many similar telephone calls from people just like you who are equally trying to persuade them to buy their products or services.

In order to become successful in your "presentation" you must be fun, entertaining, and professional to the prospective customer who is listening to you on the other end. Let's face it, anything less is a total bore to the person on the other end he or she already gets lots of those calls. Basically, you have to think to
yourself "How can my telephone call be "different" and stand out from what everyone else does in the crowd?

Your "presentation" (Not what you say, but how you say it.) is the critical component of your business success. With the visual gone the vocal or tonal quality of the conversation is 86% of the entire communication!

People often remember the tone and not the actual words of the conversation. For example, they are more likely to only remember how they "felt" about the sales person they spoke with and amazingly it's not always drawn to any specific details discussed during the conversation.

A good example is when you study certain individuals who "present" for a living IE. evangelists, newscasters, anyone on television or radio and political leaders. You quickly realize they all us their voice and emotion to move the listening audience.

As your own salesperson, you will conclude that mastery of these techniques is critical to your business success. One major advantage these types of individuals have is that they "believe" in the products or services they are selling. That is not to say that they just "like" the products they are offering prospective customers but rather they are quite passionate and have confidence in selling the products.

The four critical elements required for any salesperson to start "believing" in your products or services are:

  1. Your Product Cost -Your products must be cost competitive with similar products sold on the market. Always stress the "value added" components of your products or services.
  2. Your Product Quality - For example, Asphalt Sealcoating Direct not only says the best or "quality products," We actually go out of our way to prove it to consumers! You should too!
  3. Your Innovation - Your products and services (stress on advanced customer service) should clearly convey and reflect this to your prospective customers if your intention is to be "above the competition" So, why just "compete" with similar products or services and be lost in the same crowd? Position yourself above the competition!
  4. Speed of The Sale - Products and services must be provided to customers after the sale in a timely fashion. Problems arising after the sale are most often responsible for discouraging any salesperson's future sales efforts.

Remember that people WILL buy products from sales people they like and enjoy dealing with. Yes, you do have to be knowledgeable of your product or service; however it's even more important that you are interesting and fun to talk to. What sales means, is that you actually take the time to develop the relationship with your prospect.

Conversely, if your "presentation" is boring or lackluster, you won't be able to keep the prospects attention long enough to develop the relationship. If you are a powerful presenter, similar to what is displayed by politicians, evangelists or TV personalities that believe in their own products, you will then be able to draw the prospects attention. The prospect will become very interested in your excitement for your own products and services your company offers. After all T.V. Evangelists don't make all that money year after year because they are boring!

If you want to become successful in your own sales presentations, you must first "believe" in your products, and then learn how to "present" them to your prospective customers! The quote is true "Whatever you've got they'll catch!" so make sure they catch the right thing!

Some have indicated to Asphalt Sealcoating Direct in the past, "We're really interested in increasing our sales productivity to increase our business, but where do we start?" This is a question that deserves more than just a paragraph, so this article will attempt to address the "How To" elements of that very question!

There are four key elements for improving the productivity of your sales efforts. They are; effective working environment, motivation, sales strategy, and selling skills. These issues are most effectively handled in the above order as will be evident shortly.

First, in order for anyone involved in sales to become productive, you should first work on creating an effective working environment which spawns this activity to occur. Remember that you hired yourself or other sales people to sell your services and/or products. Keep in mind that all other functions THAT they perform detract them from their selling effort. Multitasking environments in sales leads to lost productivity and leads to frustration and failed efforts. Automation of the sales function on the other hand may be a good place to start. For example, if you or your employee's don't have required time dedicated for this activity because of other tasks they are involved with you your business, then perhaps sales database software might be considered a good starting point. Of course, this is not intended as a direct replacement for human contact with prospects however automated sales techniques do lead to maintaining a certain level of marketing activity in your business that would otherwise be lost.

Sales databases can significantly increase the number of calls a sales person can eventually make for your business. Additionally, if you are making telephone cold calls, consider headsets as they too may improve the effectiveness of the work environment. In addition, study and look for other similar obstacles to selling time, such as paperwork and other duties that keep sales people or even yourself from selling activities. Once you have identified these areas, look for better ways to handle those tasks so you can become more effective when prospecting prospective customers.

A good example is regular literature mailings to prospects and existing customers. Literature fulfillment is a significant time waster for sales people. Often, it makes more sense to hire part-time help to do mailings - this is a very inexpensive way to keep your sales people selling and you have the time on your hands to keep on doing business!

Once you have improved your own working environment, the sales people have no excuse, and can spend more time selling your products or services. The next step is motivating these people to work hard at your business. This is probably the most difficult part of developing any successful sales effort. Poorly motivated sales people will most likely not take advantage of the conditions that give them more selling time than you may have.

Additionally, the less than enthusiastic sales person is rarely a big success anyway. Good motivation comes from good companies. If they feel they are working for a bad company, it's very hard to get them motivated. Thus, your first task in motivation is to make sure that your company shows its concern for it's sales people. A good working atmosphere is necessary to maintain a positive attitude.

A compensation program that motivates its employees to strive for "more", is also very successful in any business strategy. Providing adequate training and working with people on their career paths also shows that your company cares about them. If people have good opportunities for the future and realistic chances to improve them-selves, they will most definitely strive to work harder and will stay longer.

Sales strategy is of course the full responsibility of your company. If you don't develop a good sales strategy, you will create a more difficult, and thus more negative selling environment. This of course has effects on your success and bottom line. The best answer is to continually review your own channels and strategies, not only among management, but also with the sales force. Often business owners and operational managers lose sight of reality in blind ambition of other unintended goals. When this happens we may set our sales people unreasonable tasks thus killing off any motivation to become productive employee's of your company.

Finally, selling skills are of the utmost importance. This means training for your employee's. Improper handling of customers and prospects will send business running at 70+ MPH toward your competitors.

It's best to develop a regular sales program, working directly with the sales people on their selling skills and approach. Sometimes this can actually be a lot of fun if done right. Sometimes simply talking about the sales calls on a regular basis will bring up key issues that lead to improvement of selling skills and
approach. Even if you are not a sales oriented person, discussing sales calls with others often generate useful ideas and open a dialogue for discussion.

Action Items to Start Increasing Productivity:

Examine how your sales people spend their day. Look for duties that might be better handled by other personnel, even if it means another body. Find ways to give sales people the maximum selling time to generate maximum dollars! Why would anyone wasn't to create and maintain barriers to this idea is beyond me but for some reason it seems to happen at 1000's of companies every single day!

Get together with your people and develop a great place to work. Find out what your sales people like and what can be done to improve the selling atmosphere. Review and inspect your current compensation program (if any) to see if you can find better ways to make it more exciting and responsive to the performing sales person.

Discuss the company's sales strategy with your group on a regular basis. Always look for better approaches and more opportunities in new areas where success may be waiting for the taking.

Train your people! To coin a phrase, training time is always paid back in spades! Your sales team and effort make your business! Just as the knife is the tool of a chef, keep your selling edge sharp in your company! Asphalt Sealcoating Direct offers many sales tools and brochures that can be of valuable assistance in educating any sales team. In fact, you are reading one right now! This will keep their knowledge base on the leading edge and above the competition. Remember that product knowledge in sales is immense power over your competition!

What the Top Performing Companies Do:

  • Develop and organize key questions tailored to a specific customers need (Consider doing customer surveys!)
  • Go after the large strategic sales
  • Vary strategies for different situations (flexibility)
  • Don't waste time getting to business (customer response time)
  • Ask tough questions in an attempt to illuminate your customer needs. (Point out problems customers have by asking strategic questions and immediately provide them a working solution!)
  • Avoid discussing any products before identifying customer needs first (solution based selling)
  • Focus on the advantages of your products or services that are most important to your customer
  • Close the call with a solid agreement moving toward the next step. Always, Always follow-up with your prospects.

What the Average Performers in Sales Do:

  • Layout their presentations immediately
  • Go for the easy business
  • Use only one or two strategies
  • Small-talk for too long creating confusion for the customer.
  • Ask minor questions without any sure fire "closing" plan
  • Presents the product before understanding any of the customer’s needs
  • Discusses product advantages without first identifying any customer's needs
  • Completes the call without any clear path of future action or direction

Developing a Formal Sales Plan for Your Sales Team.

A formal sales plan can greatly assist any sales force in becoming more effective. By providing the sales force with example strategies, words and phrases, they learn more quickly, are effective when selling and
develop presentational techniques that rival your competitors. A formal presentation (not a script) serves as a guide for sales people. It also ensures each sales call completes each step necessary to forcefully close the customer.

People who are new to sales often do not have the experience necessary to respond correctly or effectively answer any specific customer questions. How often have you observed this phenomenon as a purchasing consumer? This leads to starts and stops in the sales presentation that diminishes its power. Product or service training combined with a sales outline will help them come up to speed more quickly. The simple existence of training and a sales outline and effective sales strategy helps to avoid this pitfall.

Asphalt Sealcoating Direct offers presentational marketing material which is specifically designed to be helpful in this scenario when making presentations to prospective clients whether it is cold calling or face to face contact.

The secret to effective selling is not so much the words, but the tasks. The art of persuasion is easily broken down into key objectives that must be accomplished. Skipping any of these steps, makes it far more difficult to close the sale. Presentations increase understanding and facilitate the proper completion of these tasks helping any sales people to sell better.

What are those tasks? How do we link them together to produce an effective presentation? These are the questions we will now attempt to answer. Step one requires that you understand what is key when understanding your own overall sales objectives and goals.

  1. Locate the prospect.
  2. Qualify the prospect.
  3. Develop a relationship. Relate and share experiences or similarities of your own when possible.
  4. Discover the prospects needs.
  5. Verify the value of the solutions to your prospect. Present the actual solution. (Many people forget to do this!)
  6. Present the product or service as a benefit solution for your prospect.
  7. Close the sale. (Handle objections/ future arrangements etc.)
  8. Always ask how you might be of further assistance to them before closing the call.

Depending on the nature of your call and the sophistication of your product or service, you may have to add additional steps. Carefully analyze your objectives and tasks before you even make any presentation necessary to sell your product or service to any prospect. Then modify or add to more specific objectives as it relates to your specific business to the list indicated above. One thing is clear; any business without exception should always have such a specific list outlining these objectives in every case.

Step two in writing your presentation is to detail each of the call objectives, adding methods, questions, and phrases that will accomplish the desired result. You may find that running a sales meeting with any existing sales people in your organization to discuss these points may help further clarify your goals. Let's now go through our task outlined in the above step-by-step guide using the hypothetical example presentation which follows. From our example, using your list of tasks, it should be possible to create your own presentation, one specific to your own product or service.
you will notice that this subject is almost completely absent from the curriculum of most sales courses -and we wonder why some salespeople don't sell products effectively?

There are of course millions of different products and services to be sold every single day. Now it's your turn as a business owner to sell your own services to consumers. However, even the idea of hiring an experienced salesperson directly from the same industry for your own business usually doesn't stave off the need for training on your specific products and services to get them fully up to speed.

Product training and especially training on technical services a company offers to consumers, often misses its mark. When this occurs, it significantly affects the ramp-up time required for any new people becoming involved in the spray application business. It may also cut into the effectiveness with which new products or additional services that gets introduced to prospects. Even more importantly it can be the root
of poor sales presentations throughout your entire company over the whole gambit of products and services you sell.

The reason product and services training is so important is that it sets the tone for what we commonly call solution or customer-based selling. Methods like "SPIN Selling", "Solution Selling", and "Question Based Selling" are all predicated on the concept of developing customer needs. And, the development of customer needs is critically dependent on the understanding of the benefits a product or service provides to a prospect.

It is very easy when teaching the art of sales to focus on the detail of how things work on the "technical" side. I remember going through product training at Asphalt Sealcoating Direct and learning how the various spray equipment manufacturing processes affect the final product. For example, I was learning how tank agitation is produced inside the tank and how the clamps are supposed to be installed on the transfer hoses. All of this is may seem incredibly boring to people who handle a telephone all day however it's very interesting and important for manufacturing spray application equipment. This slant in thinking how other department's functions are not particularly important to the sales function is very commonplace in any product or service training I have observed in the past.

The focus of sales training for your business needs to focus on the benefits of the product or service! While this may seem rather obvious, it's not commonplace with most businesses. A knowledgeable sales person starts with understanding every aspect of your business if the overall intention is to become a knowledgeable sales person in your business. However, it is noteworthy to mention that even without any technical knowledge some sales people should be able to make significant progress with a customer by explaining how they will profit from the product or service you offer. That is not to say high levels of technical expertise aren't required when prospecting customers because really they should be able to answer virtually any question posed, however in this instance you will not only create people who are capable of selling your services but they become technical consultants for your business. They will be offering this technical assistance as an "added benefit" to the "service" aspect you are selling to the prospect or customer.

However, even in the most technical sales, for example, the customer or prospect doesn't really care how the software in their computer is written, just that it increases the productivity of the environment for which it was purchased. It might take a significant background to sell software because of all the application interface, customization, and programming involved - but the customer isn't buying anything until they're convinced of the potential profit and increased productivity it will bring.

So what's the answer? Simple… Products should be taught (first) from the benefit side before your spray application services. Let's use our software example to see how this works. If the software uses a special formula to calculate "just in time" customer service - we'll call this feature "GOOD". The salesperson needs to know how "GOOD" brings about added benefits in your spray application business environment. Not necessarily how "GOOD" works in itself. For example, maybe "GOOD" is also able to calculate more accurately the amount of product that should be stocked by your company for the number of application jobs you are scheduled to perform that week, which in turn reduces inventories by six percent in your business spray application environment. Ok, so what does the sales person in your company need to know?

The typical training on such a service might focus on how "GOOD" works, the variables, spray application formulas, functions necessary to make application calculations etc. Then, what the salespeople actually need to know is: what is the value of having "fewer inventories" and what impact does having "fewer inventories" have on the organization. Such as:

  1. Less inventory means less space allocated to stock.
  2. Less investment dollars tied up by your company in product waiting for customers to purchase.
  3. Less loss when spray application product becomes old and unusable.
  4. Easier ramp up and down for new and old products and services for sales people.

These are the things the salesperson needs to understand to be successful at selling your services, as they make up their ability to develop the customer's needs. Don't readily assume they already know how to sell your product or service. This is one of the biggest mistakes I have seen sales manager make.

You literally don't even have to talk about the "GOOD" feature to sell your product, if you can show the customer how those four items will give them a healthy ROI with the purchase of your solution. This is exactly what it means to sell a solution!

By teaching salespeople how to ask questions about the "benefits" of the product (the four items above), you give them the power to develop customer needs. The focus of good product training is teaching salespeople those points and questions. Let's look more closely at our example with "hidden" consumer benefits.

Fewer inventories means less floor space allocated to stock.

  • How much floor space do you allocate for inventory?
  • Is your company expanding (growing)?
  • (Any question relative to floor space shortages.)
  • What are the costs of allocating space?
  • How these costs are normally passed on to the purchasing consumer by your competition?

Each of the above questions digs into critical issues our "GOOD" feature can assist in solving. By asking these questions we have the opportunity to make "space" and issue (problem) and "inventory size" a part of the solution.

The scope of our example here is very limited. Obviously such a product and service would have many other critical features and potential benefits we have not touched on. You will typically find that these features group together in certain ways to provide a specific benefit for consumers and that group's of benefits are also the result of a specific feature of your specific business. For example "GOOD"s benefits may spill over to providing adequate supply to the market and reacting to increases and decreases in demand more effectively than your competitors.

You will be surprised upon testing your salespeople for their understanding of these types of questions and such benefits offered by your particular business how weak they really are in this area. Your product training will be far more effective if taught from this standpoint. The goal of your training should be to help salespeople identify the key benefits and understand the many ways they may positively or adversely affect the organization. Additionally, the training should go through the process of helping salespeople develop the key questions needed to discover the value these benefits might have for the prospective customer.

Effectively gauge your sales approach using your telephone

Have each salesperson in your business create a database called "Sales Tips" to share with one another during meetings and discussions that have worked effectively for them in the past.

You will quickly improve your company's sales skills if these experiences are documented and shared. Make sure your top players are in the game, as what others hear in their successful experiences they will surely copy!

Avoid any negative discussion or bad sales experience or drama discussion during these meetings. Focus only on identifying any sales techniques that worked!

In developing a "sales tips" database use the following guidelines:

  1. Learn and make sure you understand your written sales tip. One method to do this is to rewrite the tip in your own words - try to add some more detail to it as you do.
  2. Review recent selling experiences for examples of where the tip could have been applied. You should probably write these down.
  3. Based on the review, list the behavior changes you want to implement and foster based on past experiences and discuss how you believe the tip might help anyone sell to prospective customers in the future.
  4. You might find it useful to pass your ideas by someone else to see if they think your ideas for improving are sound. You may even get some good additional suggestions in the process.
  5. Working with just the one new sales tip, pick up the telephone to see how effective they work. Make some "test calls" focusing on using the new behaviors you have selected. Similarly if you calling in person to a prospective customer you can use these same principles.
  6. Audio taping your practice calls can be extremely helpful during this "research" process.
  7. After each telephone call or visit, sit and review the call (play your tape if you made one) writing down and documenting where you used and failed when applying the new selling behaviors. In those places you failed to use the behavior, write out what you think you should have done instead.

Now, make another "test call" focusing on what you just learned. Repeat this process a couple of times each day for a day or two and you will quickly find you have changed your behavior. This is also a useful method for training new sales people as a method of monitoring and improving their performance. By running constant training (as little as 2 hours a week) you will keep your sales-people razor sharp. One of the best things you can do with your group is document and analyze potential customer contacts together. Audio taped telephone calls are the best. Visits in person usually require another person to act as an observer to document the process. If you have used a tape recorder during the customer exchange process you can later hear the actual interchange between the seller and buyer. Play and replay key points and discuss them together as a group. Remember, when you clear obstacles for everyone involved in the selling team, you're making multiple people more efficient at the same time - that's leverage!

The following are examples you can use in your new "Sales Tips" database:

Sales Tip # 1- Qualify early!

You will find you are much more successful if you qualify your decision-maker early in the call, before you start to answer questions or discuss your products or services. The decision making process is not always simple. Often there are a number of individuals involved in deciding on the product or service as well as the vendor. If you don't qualify your prospect early in the game, you may not take the best approach in presenting your service later. Depending on the decision-process and the role of the person to whom you are speaking you may want to discuss the technical details of your service or the benefit-results to users. Not knowing the person's relationship to the process can cause you to focus on the wrong area of the selling process and loose impact with your prospect.

Sales Tip #2- Teach and encourage people in your business to coach each other.

If you want your team's selling skills to really grow, get them coaching each other on their individual selling skills. When people in a company start trying to help their peers with their skills, they really start leaning! Not only the selling skills they are working on, but it also encourages leadership and training skills they can use later in their careers. You will also find that they often listen to peers more than they listen to you as the business owner. Remember your goal and intention is to increase sales regardless of how that specific objective might be achieved.

One of the biggest complaints regarding my advice from business owners I get is: "My people have been to all this training and I can't get them to use any of it!"

Have you provided any methods for documenting and evaluating your sales team recently?

Most training "appears" to go down the drain because there is no method to evaluate or validate information you have provided to sales people in your business. In short, if you have no way to gauge feedback, then you simply do not know if they acquired any of the information or training you provided them.

Now, of course, you must provide the structured framework for this activity to occur and provide ongoing guidance as to what they have learned from any sales training you have provided. A good way to find out if your "people are using" your training efforts, or if the information is being absorbed into the minds of your sales people is to actually let sales reps evaluate themselves! That's right... It's called the peer to peer review process. The results and enthusiasm at these types of "information sharing" meetings are often quite remarkable.

Sales Incentive Programs - Making Them Work for You.

During a sales presentation I conducted in Oklahoma, a participant briefly discussed incentive and compensation programs for sales people. I would like to further reflect on this discussion. As the participant described, a major part of keeping sales people motivated is the right incentive programs. This clearly identified the idea that your compensation program also has a tremendous effect on how hard your sales people work. It is critical that you examine your incentive program regularly to make sure that it meets the needs of your company and its sales team.

Having a good incentive program does not mean giving away the store. Remember, being "cheap" won't save you any money either. Any compensation or incentive program that lacks opportunity is bound to discourage your sales team, and thus affecting your sales revenue.

Your first task in creating a good incentive program is to understand the value of the revenue being generated for your business. If you don't understand that concept then your margins and profits will suffer. It is not that hard to create an aggressive incentive plan that doesn't bankrupt the company. My simple formula starts by defining the meaning of good performance. This is what you would expect from anyone in a sales position, according to your comfort level.

For Example:

Let's say you have a sales person that makes $2000 a month salary (for simplicity we will ignore the cost of benefits, etc.) and earns a base commission of one percent on sales. Your margin on products averages about 15%, and you need to make at least 20% return on your investment in the sales person position.

The math says that the sales person must sell $14,286 to pay his own salary with the one- percent commission. Your investment in the sales position is then $2,143, on which we need to make 20% profit or an additional $428. This works out to $3,057 more in generated sales.

Thus we need a total of $17,343 in sales to make our 20% profit on the sales position after covering his salary and commissions.

Formulas: S = sales revenue, [number used in example], * means times

Determining the necessary revenue:

(Average profit margin [15%]) * S - (commission rate [1%])*S = (Salary [2000])
or 15*S - .01*S = 2000 goes to .14*S = 2000, or, 2000/.14 = S = $14,286
And to determine the 20% investment return, (total compensation [2143]) * (return desired [20%]) = $429
(return desired)

To make this $429 you need sales of $3,057 (plug into first formula),
(Average profit margin [15%]) * S - (commission rate [1%]) = (ROI [429])
or 15S (margin) - .01S (sales commission) = $429 (desired ROI) thus .14S = $429 or429/.14 = $3,057
the desired ROI

Hopefully, we didn't lose anyone in the math. The point is to determine a number that makes us comfortable with the sales person in our example. Once this number is determined, any sales person not earning at that rate should be considered for dismissal. New people will need to have a reasonable ramp-up period that gets them to the desired level. Those that can't make it, need to be replaced. Remember, this is not an emotional process but rather one which involves your business success.

Once a comfort level is established, you must focus on what incentives will be added, and for what accomplishments should you decide to any of your sales people. If you have just opened up a new channel or business, "new accounts" might be of extreme value. If this is the case, then you should build an incentive that pays anyone for developing new accounts in the retail chain aspect of your business. On the other hand however, an established sales territory such as the residential driveway aspect of the business might need better penetration in the existing accounts. In this event, you might give an incentive on the growth of existing accounts.

These incentives can be in many forms, comp-time, higher commission percentages, or just flat dollar amounts paid on achievement. The key is the more a sales person exceeds their base comfort level, the higher his or her rate of earnings should go.

Remember, never cap sales earnings! It's amazing how many business owners wish them-selves into limiting their amount of generated business, yet the fact remains that it does happen in many companies. It's never a problem to pay the person who brings in twice the expected revenue, a commission twice the normal rate, because dollar for dollar your company is the big benefactor (one sales person at double commissions and two times expectations is far more profitable than two sales people at the base comfort level!)

2 Sales persons at quota are typically: $34,686 in revenues with the following costs, $4,000 in salaries, $347 in commissions, and $29,483 cost of goods. The total profit is $856 (approximately double our desired ROI on the sales persons.)

1 Sales person at 2 times quota: Revenue is the same. The costs above change on salary from $4,000 to $2,000 ($2,000 gain) and commissions from $347 to $694 (a loss of $347) for a net gain of $1,653 in profit!

In fact, I figure you could have paid the good sales person four times the commission rate and the company would still have made an extra $959 profit over that of two average sales persons! The moral of the story is pay well for performance and you will get it!!

By creating an aggressive incentive plan that pays well for what is valuable to your company (By putting incentives on those things.) we get sales people that over achieve, make lots of money, are extremely loyal to your business, and bring in outstanding revenues!

What more could one ask?