In October I wrote a post about a situation where a small business owner is faced with hiring their first salesperson. If you’ve ever started a business and watched your efforts grow into a legitimate business you know the situation. This could be in any market type: manufacturing, insurance, services etc. You have made the transition from the only salesperson to the business owner who still sells but also has another person in the company selling.
I won’t say that this is scary but I will say that it is challenging. Why? Because you have never managed, trained or coached a salesperson but you assume that since this person is a salesperson they know the following:
1. How to learn the intricacies of a new product.
2. How to set up a territory.
3. How to actually conduct a sales call.
4. How to manage an account that buys the product.
5. How to actually sell. (Quite different from number 3.)
6. How to organize their sales day.
So many business owners make the mistake that their job is done after they have hired a salesperson. Don’t fall into this trap! Think about this from the perspective of what you went through when you started your business. Regardless of whether you started selling a service, ran a manufacturing company or distributed for other companies you knew a lot about the product, the marketplace, potential customers, what these customers wanted, the competition etc.
Don’t push the assumption button on your new salesperson. Give them the same advantages you had when you started the company. Provide them with in depth training on:
1. The market(s) you sell into.
2. The types of customers who buy your product.
4. The right way to approach the sale and present the product.
5. How the product is made if that applies.
These are your strengths so share them with your new rep. Then really do a favor for this person and link them to a person or organization that will teach them how to sell, how to manage a territory, set goals and do the other nitty-gritty behaviors that make up a salesperson’s daily life. Of course, I am assuming that you have not hired a true sale professional who will come equipped with this information. If you haven’t hired one of these folks then heed one of my previous final thoughts-prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. (My apologies for the P word.)
The better you prepare a salesperson to be successful the less likely you’ll be hiring a new salesperson in 6 months.
The Final Thought: Good teaching is one fourth preparation and three fourths theater. Gail Godwin, Novelist