SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

Where do your salespeople go to improve their tradecraft?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May 2019) 14,371,410 people are in sales.

Yep.

Over 14 million!

And can you find a good one to recruit for your flooring company?

Nope! (I know you’ve tried).

 

Our research tells us the size of the commercial flooring industry is about $25B and contains around 2500 companies.

We estimate the average flooring company to be $10 million. Our benchmarks tell us an average salesperson carries a sales revenue quota of about $2 million.

The owner(s) carry a quota of $4mill, so to reach $10mill they have an additional 3 salespeople.

So, not including the selling component of owners, 2500 times 3 is 7,500 commercial flooring salespeople.

 

The key questions are where did they learn their skills, and more importantly for you, how can they get better?

 

Like you, the owner, they learned from the school of hard knocks. Trial and error. With a whole lot of error. They might say trial and terror!

And it took a long time. In one of our clients the top guy has been there 20 years and is the rainmaker.

 

But you have a bunch of others who are bumbling along at not much more than a breakeven level. If you don’t have another 20 years for them to get beaten in to shape, what are your options?

a) You hire a rainmaker
b) You increase commissions to incentivize the poor to average performers
c) You hire an assistant for your rainmaker so he can double his sales
d) You shrink

Let’s consider these options:

a) Rainmakers are never out of work. They don’t send out their resumes. If they have taken a long time to build their book they aren’t going anywhere. Occasionally something might irk them and they jump ship. But they always have a destination in mind and it’s not triggered by a headhunt.

b) Higher commissions aint going to do it if they don’t have the skills. You will just lose time while the experiment plays out to its inevitable conclusion. Oh, and you will have to offer the same deal to your superstar divas so it may cost you a lot to not move the dial with the average joe.

c) We’ve seen adding an assistant for the rainmaker does make a difference. But it comes with risk. Now your rainmaker goes from being responsible for 25-40% of your book to say 35-60%. What happens if they get ill? You also need to tread much more carefully around them. If they have diva-esque tendencies, they will be looking for their own reality show next!

d)Your competitors are getting hungrier, stronger and savvier. If you don’t continually up your game you will lose more often and your business will shrink.

 

So what’s the answer?

 

We’ve spent time observing over a hundred flooring salespeople. We’ve shared some of this with you before. Like the fact on average they only spend 6% of their time prospecting for new business!

(You can download our free Benchmark Report at www.flooringbythenumbers/benchmark )

 

Here’s the golden nugget. There is nothing the rainmaker does that most of your salespeople can’t do. It is all about effective sales behaviors.

 

Three things you can do to increase overall sales performance:

1. Sit with your top salespeople and map their process (how they target, how they make new connections, how they engage, how they bid, how they leverage vendors to get optimal material pricing, how they manage change orders, how they ensure you get paid in a timely fashion). Literally put it on a wall sized map. Then document and train on that with everyone else.
2. Buddy up a junior salesperson with your top performer. You may even want to give the mentor an incentive or bonus.
3. Have the salespeople put together a sales plan. (They will fight you on this!)

 

A plan is not a number! Strategic thinking does not mean “I did $2.5mill last year so I’ll go for $2.7 mill this year”.
The value is in the planning (or thinking) not the plan itself. Most salespeople we observe do not take enough time to think.

There are many best practices happening in your company. You need to codify and replicate them.

 

PS If you need help or need to do it faster, check out our proven sales course: Selling to End Users