Marketing Mastery: Five steps to empower your sales team

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May 11/18, 2015; Volume 29/Number 3

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

“I’ve told my sales team they need to increase their closed sales, but nothing improves.” This was the sentiment expressed to me by a frustrated flooring dealer. Actually, I’ve heard this complaint in various forms from many dealers. The problem occurs because retailers inform their salespeople of the end result they want but fail to provide practical tools and training to achieve that result.

By empowering your sales team you can add hundreds of thousands of dollars annually per salesperson. For example, if your average ticket is $3,000 and you train and empower your salesperson to begin closing one extra sale and getting one extra referral each week, that’s an additional $6,000 per week. This translates to $312,000 in additional revenue a year with no marketing costs. There is a lot at stake for equipping your sales team to succeed. Let’s look at a proven, five-step process for empowering your team.

1. Provide the tools for success

It’s not good enough to say, “Bob, you need to increase your sales by 30%.” You also have to give Bob the tools to make this end result possible. Step-by-step, carefully scripted systems for closing sales and getting referrals are critical. These systems must be teachable and learnable.

2. Provide training on how to use the tools

It’s also not good enough to just hand someone the tools, send him on his way and expect maximum results. You must provide training on how to use the tools. The magic of having written, step-by-step processes is not in the paper they are printed on—just like the magic of a great installation is not in the installer’s tools. The magic is in how skillfully the tools are used. This requires training.

3. Make them accountable

It’s not what’s expected, it’s what’s inspected.

It’s important everyone on your team knows exactly what’s expected of them, and you, or the sales manager, inspects their work regularly. Is each team member following the system? Can every sales associate recite your sales and referral request scripts at the drop of a hat? Are walk-ins being greeted using your scripts?

 4. Recognition for good work

Celebrate the small successes. Recognize sales associates when they get their first sale or referral using your system. When a sale is saved, praise those responsible for saving it and talk about the techniques used. Recognize team members when they go out of their way to provide great service or do a favor for a client that cements their loyalty.

 5. Create a rewards system

If your sales team is paid on commission, more closed sales will automatically result in increased income. Consider also using a tiered commission structure in which a sales associate gets a higher percentage when certain benchmarks are reached each month. Here are some achievements to celebrate:

  • Increased gross sales
  • Referrals generated
  • Sales processes completed
  • Testimonials gathered

Ideas for rewarding these behaviors:

  • Contests (the team member with the most referrals, sales or testimonials in a given month gets a prize)
  • Bonuses for getting a certain amount of referrals or testimonials
  • Certificate, trophy, plaque, cash, gifts

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