Category Archives for "Sales Management"

May 27

Can You Ever Be ‘Too Expensive?’

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston talks about the objection ‘you’re too expensive’….…..

I recently noticed a fellow professional speaker post on his Facebook page that a potential client had told him that the fee he wanted to charge them to speak was ‘too expensive’. He went on to say he was a bit surprised, as he doesn’t normally get that kind of reaction!

Now I know this particular speaker pretty well, and I know that he’s good value for money, but what was most interesting was one of the responses to his post! The person who commented wrote ‘You can’t be too expensive. And you’re value for money. They must have cash flow issues!’

Now whilst I would agree the speaker concerned IS most certainly value for money, there are 4 quick things we can learn from the other person’s comment…..

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 1 – People’s Beliefs ARE Reality – To THEM!

The problem I see here is that I think you CAN be too expensive!! One of my favourite sayings when it comes to sales (and pricing in particular) is that ‘people’s beliefs ARE reality – to them!’.

What I mean by that in this example is that if someone says ‘that’s too expensive‘ it may be that in the moment they DO consider you too expensive – as long as it’s not a negotiation tactic to bring your price down of course!

Now of course there will be some context behind them saying that. They might think it’s too expensive compared to their budget. They might think it’s too expensive compared to what they’ve paid in the past. They might think it’s too expensive compared to what they were expecting to pay.

However, unless you deal with the fact that right now, they consider you too expensive – it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to win this deal, and bring them on board as a customer. Fail to change their belief (and therefore THEIR reality), and you’ll fail to pick up their business!

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 2 – It’s Not Their Fault – It’s Yours!

If someone says to you that you’re ‘too expensive’, make sure you don’t dismiss them (and the sales opportunity) too quickly! As an ex-sales director, I often used to hear my team come back from new business appointments with excuses like ‘they weren’t ready to buy‘, ‘they didn’t have the budget‘, and ‘our price was too rich for them‘.

My response was usually something like ‘Ahh, so you failed to deal with their price concern then?‘ 😉

My belief is that the majority of the time, a price concern (or price objection) is normally the salesperson’s fault, not the prospect’s.

– It might be that…. the prospect doesn’t see enough value in your offering to think it worthwhile paying the price you asked for – YOUR FAULT for not positioning your value to them correctly!

– It might be that…. the prospect doesn’t have the budget to pay the price you want – YOUR FAULT for not finding that out, or speaking to the person who can make a NEW budget!

– It might be that…. the prospect has bought a similar product/service in the past and not paid anything like the price you want to charge them now – YOUR FAULT for not finding out their buying history and positioning correctly against it!

– It might be that…. the prospect won’t get enough value from your offering, in order to generate enough ROI to justify the purchase – YOUR FAULT for not qualifying the Sales Opportunity well enough in the first place!

How many of the above are you and your team guilty of right now? Stop putting the ‘blame’ for price concerns on the client, and see what you and your team could do to handle them better!

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 3 – Find Out – Or Set – Their Expectations

One of the biggest reasons people get price objections, is that the price they want to charge isn’t what the prospect was expecting to pay!

Thinking BusinessmanThis often occurs when the salesperson fails to find out, manage, or on some occasions – set – the price expectations of the prospect.

In the old days, Sales Managers used to lecture their reps ‘make sure you get the customer’s budget BEFORE talking about price!

Whilst back then that was pretty solid sales advice, these days people don’t always have budgets. They don’t always have cash available right now. But they ALWAYS have price expectations – and if you don’t find out what they are, re-set them if necessary – or even set them in some circumstances – then you’re always going to struggle with objections to your price!

How well do you and your team set prospects’ price expectations currently?

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 4 – Qualify Harder Early In The Process

Another reason I find that salespeople come up against price objections is that often they’re sat in front of (or speaking to) the wrong people! People that may not have the money to be able to pay the price the salesperson wants to charge, or have the authority (and ability) to find extra money if necessary!

This is usually caused by a failure to qualify well enough (or hard enough) earlier in the process! Then often results in the salesperson spending lots of their precious time dealing with people that aren’t able to buy what they offer at the price they want to charge!

Often this leads to the salesperson becoming frustrated, having to ‘walk away’ from deals, or heavily ‘discounting’ just to win the business – none of which are good outcomes for the salesperson!

How well do you and your sales team qualify your opportunities right now? Check by reading my article on ‘7 Things You MUST Do Before Sending A Proposal’

Follow the tips above and watch your performance and that of your sales team soar!  I look forward to hearing about your future success…. 

You can ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here

About The Author:

Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker

You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines. Media enquiries – details here
Mar 23

Is Sales All About ‘Luck?’

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains what impacts your sales that people label as ‘luck’…..but might actually be something else….

You know, I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has called another person ‘lucky’. And that situation happens just as much in sales, as it does in other aspects of life!

This article was inspired by a business contact asking me ‘Andy, what impact do you think that ‘luck’ has on the sales process, or the salesperson themselves?’

I thought that was a great question, and it deserved longer than just a quick reply – so I’ve put my thoughts below for everyone else to see as well…..

So How Much Of Sales Is About ‘Luck?’

In my opinion? Very little. You’re probably aware of the famous quote from golfer Gary Player ‘the harder I practice, the luckier I get’. It’s normally down to something else, rather than just ‘luck’ or ‘fate’.

It’s very easy for someone to label something as ‘lucky’ – especially if they don’t understand what has occurred to produce that piece of ‘luck’.

It’s very unusual for something to occur just by ‘luck’ – there’s usually some sort of event, or behaviour, that triggers an action – which may be perceived as ‘luck’.

How About An Example For Sales?

Here’s an example. This year, in the first hour, of the first working day we received an email from a new client, saying that they wished to go ahead with a substantial piece of work. This occurred without any phone calls from us this year, or any contact, or anything!

Would you call that luck? Because some people would! Let’s explore the circumstances behind that ‘luck’…

The new client had contacted us looking for someone to speak at their company events and train their sales team. Their approach to us started in the middle of last year. They came to see me speak at a large conference, and then train a smaller group of people twice.

They asked us to come in and present to the board of directors, along with 5 other speakers and training companies. They then asked to speak to a number of people we’d worked with in the past to see what their experience (and results) had been.

They then had to get budget approved for the whole programme, and sent us the email on the first working day, once budget had been approved.

So What Impact Did ‘Luck’ Have In The Process?

PAs you’d expect, I was interested in what impacted the new client’s buying decision to come to us, rather than one of the other companies they were originally talking to.

Their answer was a combination of our approach, my ‘style’ as a speaker and presenter, how we planned to structure the programme, how professional we were to deal with as a company, the proposal we submitted, the presentation we gave, and the results we had got for the clients they spoke to.

That seems like a lot of things influencing the process, just to put it down to ‘luck!’

So How Can YOU Get That Kind Of ‘Luck?’

In this content, I like to describe what other people call ‘luck’ as ‘R.O.P.E’ – which stands for Return-On-Previous-Efforts.

In sales, effort usually comes before results in most cases. In other words, you have to do the activity first, before you can reap the rewards later.

And the more ‘new business’ the activity is, the more pertinent that rule becomes! It applies to cold calling over the phone, cold canvassing face-to-face, networking, following up leads or mailshots, and pretty much every other business development activity!

The difficulty always is that at the time those activities feel as though they were pointless – as you got no reward at time! Those rewards only come later – IF you continue to do those activities!

THE WORST thing that you can do is to stop doing those activities, seeing them as ‘pointless’ or ‘not the best use of my time’ – because then you’re not going to get the rewards that would come from those activities later! This is a common trap that most people fall into. And the longer the sales process is in your organisation, the bigger the gap between your efforts and your results – make sure you don’t give up too soon!

So What Sort Of Activities Should We Be Doing To Have More ‘Luck’?

What sort of activities should we be doing in order to have more luck? Pretty much any business development activity! As long as it’s done in the right way of course.

In order to get the most amount of ‘luck’ on your side, you need to do these activities on a CONSISTENT basis. ‘Occasionally’ or ‘when we’re quiet’ just won’t cut it I’m afraid.

You should be scheduling those ‘new business’ activities in your diary, just like any other appointment! And if you’ve been to any of my seminars or training sessions, you’ll know I often say that they should be the first thing IN your diary, and the last thing to be moved OUT of your diary – they’re critical to your future business, so don’t mess around with them!

Remember, Sometime You Have To Deal With ‘Jealousy’

In sales, sometimes you have to deal with other people’s jealousy.

It could be the jealousy of another member of your sales team that’s annoyed because you got a piece of business in, and they didn’t. It could be the jealousy of a ‘non-sales’ member of staff that knows you’re on commission, and they’re not. Or it could even be jealousy from a family member or friend that knows you’re going to earn more than them.

Whoever it is that may be ‘jealous’ of your success, you need to come to terms with the fact that it’s not necessarily about you, it’s just something that’s reminded them that they’re not performing as well as they could be in some area – and that’s the thing that’s causing them to act in that way, not you.

So, Can Luck Have ANY Impact?

I think there are certain occasions when you can be ‘fortunate’. For example when a competitor does something that rules them out of the sales process. Not sending an email for example, turning up late for their appointment, or delivering an awful presentation.

When it’s something that someone else doesn’t (or doesn’t do) then I can see the argument for that not being solely down to your indivdual efforts. However, I do think there’s some truth in the argument that because you’ve done things well in the process so far, it’s made it easier for the potential new client to remove your competitor from the process!

Now get out there and start doing some new business activity, so In a few months you can look back and smile as you start getting the Return-On-Previous-Efforts!!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..
This article is copyright Andy Preston 2011. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.
Oct 29

Why People Don’t Buy From You……

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips





I always find it interesting how many sales opportunities that salespeople or business owners miss out on, often that they could have won! If they realised how much that lost business was worth over a 12 month period, I’m sure they’d be quicker to do something about it!

There are many different reasons why a salesperson or business owner loses the sale, but here are 3 of the most common – and also the easiest to put right!

Sales Mistake Number 1 – Poor First Impression

I’m astounded how often people struggle to get this one right! Think about the first impression people have of your business. If you’re a salesperson, their first impression of your business might be you! That means looking smart, arriving on time (or early), and looking the person in the eye when you greet them. If people are coming to your premises, it might be things like how easily they can park, how your receptionist greets them, or the literature in your reception area for example.

An example of a business that often gets this wrong (as anyone who travels a lot knows) is a hotel. Think about one of your first impressions when you enter a hotel. The first interaction you normally have with staff is when you check in. What’s often one of the worst things about a hotel? That’s right, their checking-in procedure!

Think about it……. it’s 01:00am, you’ve been driving for 3 or 4 hours and you finally reach your hotel for the night. You’re tired, exhausted and just want to get to bed. You wearily drag your bags and suit carrier up to the counter to be greeted from a voice (coming from somewhere below the counter) with the immortal line ‘SURNAME?’ Resisting the opportunity just to reply with ‘Yes!’, you drop all your bags, answer their inane questions and fill in the registration card with all the same details you filled in online and that you’ve already given them the 14 times you’ve stayed with them so far this year!

What Could They Do Instead?

Now I might be slightly exaggerating in the above example, but not by much! Think about what action a hotel could take to improve the experience. How about if you were greeted with something like ‘Good evening sir. You’ve probably had a long journey. While I quickly check you in, I’ll get the porter to take your baggage up to your room straightaway – do you have your booking reference?’

How much extra effort does this take? Not much! Is it worth it for the impression it leaves the customer with? Of course!

Sales Mistake Number 2 – Not Taking A Genuine Interest

This is something that’s vital to generating more sales, yet is something that’s often overlooked. Far too many people don’t take a genuine interest in their clients!

Let’s use a retail store as an example. Most people have had the experience of going into a retail store looking to make a substantial purchase – usually electrical like a television, computer etc etc. However that experience often isn’t as good as it could be!

Particularly at the moment, when stores have cut back on the number of staff ‘on the floor’ and available to help. Now if there’s a shortage of staff it’s more of a management issue than something the individual salesperson can do anything about, yet the staff who are left don’t seem to take any interest at all in the potential customers, let along a genuine one!

I’ve seen many potential customers stood around, desperately looking for someone to help them make a purchase! They wait for ages (the ones that don’t get fed up and leave) then when someone finally comes along, they appear to have no interest in the potential customer, no interest in what they’re looking for, and definitely no interest in making the sale! What kind of behaviour is that for a salesperson?!!

However most salespeople and business owners make the same mistake to some degree. Most either don’t take enough genuine interest in potential clients – either they don’t the right questions to uncover needs, buying motivation and drivers to purchase, or they are too ‘self-focused’ and talk to much about themselves and their solutions!

What Could They Do Instead?

Be aware of customers looking for help. Engage them in conversation. Ask them what they want the product or service for, not just ask about the technical specification. Ask them better questions about reasons and drivers behind the purchase!

Sales Mistake Number 3 – Poor Last Impression

If your business would like repeat business, testimonials, or customers referring you to others then people’s ‘last’ impressions of your business are as critical as their ‘first’ impressions of your business!

However, most people don’t think about the last impressions of their business. Perhaps the last impression of your business is the delivery driver or courier? The person experience the customer has when paying for the goods or service? The package when it arrives at the customers offices?

Let’s take the ‘hotel’ example we mentioned in the ‘first impressions’ part above. What is the second most annoying process of being in a hotel? That’s right – checking out!

Think about it…. you queue up at the desk, behind people checking in and people just wanting directions etc, then when you finally get to the front of the queue you’re asked for your credit/debit card details again (the same ones you already entered online and the same one you already gave them when you checked in). Then you have to wait while they do yet another card transaction – when you’re in a hurry and all you want to do is leave! The best you can hope for at the end of this long-winded procedure is a mumbled ‘thank you’ from the receptionist!

Does that sort of experience inspire you to book that hotel again? Send them a testimonial? Recommend them to all your family and friends? I thought not.

What Could They Do Instead?

How about when you check out, they ask you if you’d like the payment to be taken off the same card you used when checking in? I know they can do this as one hotel offered to do this last week. That’s the only time in over 250 nights I’ve stayed in hotels over the past 18 months it’s been offered!

Or how about taking full payment when you check in, so you can leave quickly in the morning? How about the receptionists were trained to say ‘thank you for staying with us – here’s a voucher for 10 percent off your next stay with our compliments’. How much extra loyalty and extra business would that generate? Quite a lot I’d think!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

Aug 10

5 Mistakes Most Sales Managers Make With Their Team Meetings….

By Andy Preston | Sales Management

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains the mistakes most Sales Managers make when running meetings for their sales team! Instead of being a motivational, uplifting boost to your team, most sales team meetings are boring, too product and information driven and insanely dull affairs for most salespeople. Read this article to help you avoid the common mistakes most Sales Managers make, and get your meetings back on track!….

Whenever I’m talking to (or working with) Sales Managers, they invariably ask me for some help in running the team sales meetings. They realise that running a compelling sales meeting is vitally important, but often fall into running meetings that don’t inspire, motivate or even engage their sales team.

Have a look at the common mistakes most Sales Managers make below, and make sure you don’t fall foul of them!….

Sales Management Mistake No 1 – Dragging Them On Too Long

Far too many sales team meetings drag on too long! I’ve known meetings that could have been done in 2-3 hours drag on all day. I’ve also known meetings that could have been done in 30 minutes last 2-3 hours.

The longer the time period, the more difficult it is to maintain interest and attention from the attendees. Lunch will go for longer than scheduled, people don’t make it back from breaks on time because they’re taking/making a call etc etc.

So think about what you want to cover in the meeting, and how long that would take. Just because you may have the field reps up to the office for the day, doesn’t mean that meeting has to take all day for example.

Sales Management Mistake No 2 – Too Much ‘Whinging’

This is mean to mean too much whinging from your team, but I’ve also known Sales Managers be guilty of this in sales meetings! Remember, your sales team are all together in one place (whether physically or virtually) and they’ll use that opportunity to ‘gang up’ on you if you’re not careful.

This can be a tactic used by the more experienced people, or the people whose figures aren’t where they should be this month – or both!

Some salespeople will also have their ‘favourite topics’ for this – ‘the company doesn’t do enough marketing’ is one example. Another is something like ‘our prices are not competitive compared to…..’ And the old favourite ‘well if we had done such-and-such back in 2005….’

You need to be aware of this, prepared for it and deal with it as soon as it comes up!

Sales Management Mistake No 3 – Lack Of Preparation

This again counts on two levels – both the salespeople and yourself. If the salespeople are unprepared, it’s normally because of a lack of communication or understanding between you, or a tactic to distract you from looking closely at their figures and activity – usually when they’re underperforming!

Lack of preparation on your own part normally happens when there’s pressure on other things – then suddenly the sales meeting creeps up on you and before you know it, it’s the night before and you haven’t planned the day properly.

Whether intentional or not, I’ve sat through many meetings that felt like this was the case!

If the meeting isn’t properly planned beforehand, the meeting can feel like a waste of time to all the participants. Before the meeting, think about your outcomes, what you want to cover (not just copying the agenda of the last meeting!) and how to get your message across in the most effective way.

Sales Management Mistake No 4 – Not Challenging The Team

Another common mistake Sales Managers make is not to challenge the team, particularly around their sales pipeline, or prospecting lists. Far too many salespeople are allowed to get away with just paying ‘lip service’ to these important activities.

I remember being sat in a sales meeting where one of the salespeople was reading out his sales pipeline and going through which businesses he thought he would convert before the month was out. When he said a certain name the rest of the team started sniggering. He’d mentioned the same company name 4 months in a row and didn’t appear to be any closer to converting them! Whether he was deluding himself, or genuinely felt he was going to convert them, I’m not sure!

Either way, he should have been challenged on it! The Sales Manager concerned unfortunately just nodded and moved onto the next salesperson. Therefore, none of the team to the exercise (or the sales team meeting in general) seriously, and just saw it as an excuse to get away from their normal work for a few hours – not the sort of outcome you want from a sales team meeting, is it?

Sales Management Mistake No 5 – Too Much About ‘Product’ Or ‘Information’

This is another common problem with most sales team meetings. Some Sales Managers think that the meeting is only about ‘information delivery’ to their team. I’ve even seen some managers get out ‘memos’ that they’ve sent to the team previously, and then go through them in the sales meeting! Seriously!

Another version of this is that valuable time at the sales meeting is taken up with ‘product’ discussions – some people even invite suppliers in to present their latest products to the team. Unfortunately, these ‘presentations’ often fall short of the mark – not tailored to the audience and appear to the supplier’s ‘stock’ presentation that they’d give to potential buyers (not resellers), forgetting the important fact that the team isn’t there to buy their product, they’re there to sell it for them!

The impact on the team therefore is usually is too technical. information overload, and boredom!

Think about the reasons you have the sales meetings with your team for a moment. Surely some part of these meetings should be motivational? Particularly if your team are based in the field and it’s your only opportunity to see them for the month? Doesn’t it make sense that part of the meeting should be about motivating the team and helping them deal with their current sales challenges, rather than boring them to death?!!

Oh and on that note, you do include some sales skills training and drills as part of the meetings, don’t you?


This article is copyright Andy Preston 2009. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Dec 17

Before You Employ A Salesperson, Read This First!……

By Andy Preston | Sales Management

This article was inspired by a couple of small business owners that have approached me recently with concerns about employing their first salesperson. I thought it would be useful to share with others some of the things you need to do before you employ them, and also what to watch out for!

The Challenge……You’re thinking of taking on a salesperson, but you’re not sure how much to pay them, whether it would work, whether you’ll just end up paying for no results, and you’re just not quite sure what to do………..

There could be a number of reasons that you’re considering employing a salesperson. It could be that your business has expanded to a point where it would make sense to employ a salesperson. It could be that you’re involved in a business that requires you to “deliver” the product or service (like consultancy, web design, training etc) and you don’t have enough time to deliver and sell at the same time. It could also be that your sales skills aren’t as good as you would like and that you think someone else would be better at selling than you are.

Whichever it is, and whether you’re thinking of taking on someone part time or full time, the tips below will work for you. Even if you’re thinking of outsourcing your sales to a telemarketing company or similar, some of the tips below will still work for you, although I do have a number of thoughts on what you need to do if you’re considering outsourcing, but that’s a separate article!

Tip No 1 – Consider Where They’re Going To Work

If you run your business from home, some business aren’t comfortable with others working from their home, and some employees aren’t comfortable working from someone else’s house! In addition, the environment doesn’t always feel like “work” and it’s too easy for the salesperson to relax, especially if the business owner isn’t around! If they are going to work from your house, have you arranged a separate telephone line, computer and access to your CRM system or database (you do have one of those, don’t you?). Very often CRM or database software carries a “per user” license fee, so you need to think about this beforehand. Also if the salesperson turns up for work and they don’t have a separate phone to use, this can make things very difficult.

If they are going to work from your office then at least it is a more “formal” environment, but if the salesperson is going to be there on their own some of the time, then you can adopt most of the things mentioned above. Also from a security point of view, what safeguards have you put in place to stop them stealing data or customers?

Tip No 2 – New Or Experienced?

The second thing to consider is are you going to take on a new salesperson, or someone more experienced? If you’re taking on someone fairly new to sales, you will carry some responsibility for training them. Unlike the environment of a larger company, where you have the luxury of putting them next to more senior salespeople to help them “learn the ropes”, in a smaller business where they’re going to be the only salesperson, that obviously isn’t possible. A training plan should be put in place to help the new salesperson gain the skills needed as quickly as possible. The exact skills needed are going to be dependent on their role (telesales or field sales for example) but at the very least consider telephone skills or cold call training as one of the first things to being an immediate return-on-investment.

If you’re planning to take on an experienced salesperson, be careful you don’t make the biggest mistake most small business owners make in this area. That is, thinking “oh, they’ll know what to do” and leaving them to it! Whatever you do, don’t make this mistake. The absolute last thing you should do is leave them to do it on their own! I’ll expand on this more as we cover the other points below….

Tip No 3 – What Is Their Role?

The third thing to consider is, what is their exact role and what do you want them to achieve? Are you employing them in a “telesales” position, where you’re looking for them to make appointments for you or someone else? Or are you looking for them to make the appointments, then attend themselves, taking the process all the way through to closing the deal? The two roles are different and require different skill-sets, so that will affect the type of person you hire! Also, don’t expect the newer salesperson to be able to go out and close deals face-to-face as well as an experienced salesperson would. Are they going to be predominantly new business focused, or will they have an element of account management to their role? Again, this will effect the sort of person you hire.

You also need to define exactly what you’re looking for them to achieve. An all-too-common complaint that I hear from salespeople is that they’re doing what their manager wants them to do, but the manager is still complaining! This is usually because the manager has not clearly communicated to the salesperson exactly what is required. The biggest thing to cover here is, how are you targeting the salesperson? In order for there to be fewer misunderstandings, you should agree between you (because the salesperson has to “buy in” to any targets set) both financial targets, and activity targets. Now these will differ from company to company, industry to industry and person to person, but generally speaking, you need to set a financial target in terms of how much money you want them to bring in (usually a per month figure) and then activity in terms of numbers of phone calls, appointments generated, appointments attended (if they’re field sales as well) quotes given, and deals won. Only when these have been set can you then compare actual performance against them. Which brings me on to my next point…..

Tip No 4 – How Are You Going To Performance Manage Them?

If you agree the targets mentioned above and then they don’t hit them, what happens? If it happens 3 months in a row, what happens? What points below these targets do you consider “underperformance”, and what is unacceptable? How are you going to support the salesperson in achieving these targets (or not!) As soon as you take on a salesperson, to get the best out of them you need to take some responsibility for their motivation as well. No matter what you may have heard about salespeople being self-motivated, in my experience even the best aren’t completely motivated all of the time! If they aren’t working next to you all of the time, consider putting some time in the diary for weekly sales meetings, face-to-face if possible, over the phone as a minimum. In these sales meetings you want to be discussing how the salesperson is performing against the targets you have set, and what pipeline they have – how much business will be converting in the next few months for example.

Tip No 5 – How Are You Going To Pay Them?

For most companies, the days of picking up good salespeople on a commission-only basis are over. Or certainly the ones that will stay for any length of time. The majority of salespeople expect a basic wage and uncapped commission as a minimum these days. You can sometimes get salespeople on a self-employed basis, where you pay their company for their services rather than the person themselves. More likely you will be paying the person directly as an employee, which has tax and national insurance considerations, never mind employment law and associated HR issues. The best commission schemes work on a tiered structure, where the level of commission increases the more the salesperson goes above their financial targets. As an example, 125% of target may carry a higher percentage commission, 150% a higher percentage again. If you would like any help with setting commission schemes or anything else contained in this article, contact me through the website, using the “contact us” page and I’ll be happy to give you some ideas.

Tip No 6 – Who Are They Going To Be Calling?

In other words, where are they going to get their prospects from? Do you have a list of prospects on your CRM system or database that you want them to contact? Are you going to purchase some data to give them some leads to work on? Or are you expecting them to generate their own? If they are a newer salesperson or they haven’t worked in your industry before, then just leaving them to generate their own might not bring the best results, at least not for a period of time. If you are giving them data, if it’s more than 3 months old, it may need cleansing first in order to make sure it’s up to date. This may also be part of the role you want them to be doing. If you’re buying the data, then make sure it’s been cleansed in the last 3 months, otherwise you’re reducing their chances of success.

Tip No 7 – How Long Do You Want Them To Work For?

The seventh thing to consider is, how long do you want them to work for? This is an important point, especially if you’re looking for them to get more appointments for you personally. If you can only cope with a certain number of additional appointments per week, it might not make sense to employ someone on a full time basis. Perhaps someone in that role one day a week, or one day per fortnight might be sufficient? If they’re starting to make more appointments for you than you can cope with (and the quality is good) then perhaps it’s time to get them attending some as well, and bringing in a new salesperson to make appointments for both of you? Either way it’s a nice problem to have.

Tip No 8 – How Well Do You Know The Person?

I know in some cases business owners like to employ people that they know fairly well – perhaps a friend, family member of partner? Although it can sound like a good idea in the beginning, it can also cause it’s own problems!

The more “personal” the relationship between you and the salesperson is, sometimes the more difficult it can be. Managing their underperformance can be particularly difficult, especially if they’ve been working for someone else, seen how well you’ve done, and think it will be “easier” and “less hassle” to work for you! You can virtually guarantee anyone who thinks in this fashion is going to struggle to meet your expectations and succeed in the role. So what do you do if they consistently underperform for you? If they’re costing you more money to employ than they’re bringing in? Can you see how this might be a different scenario than if it was a “normal” employee.

Consider the implications of having to “sack” a friend, family member or partner. Or if they’re your partner and the relationship comes to an end? Or if the role puts a strain on your personal relationship?

The best way to deal with the majority of these is to set the expectations in the beginning of what will lead to the business relationship ending – lack of performance against the agreed criteria. Try and separate the business relationship from the personal one as much as possible, by getting them to agree on what criteria they will be judged, and the consequences of not hitting that criteria. That makes things a whole lot easier if you’re faced with the situation of underperformance.

Remember, you’re not employing the salesperson out of “charity”, they’re supposed to be fulfilling a role for you. If the role didn’t really exist and you’ve “invented” it so that they can have a job, that’s fine, as long as you’re aware of the implications and consequences of hiring them on that basis (you paying their wage, them not necessarily doing much in return).

Follow the tips above and you’ll avoid most of the problems involved with hiring salespeople. If you’d like further help on this topic, or anything else sales-related, you can contact Andy on 0845 130 6779 or contact us here