World Fence News

February 2015

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30 • FEBRUARY 2015 • WORLD FENCE NEWS A day in the life of a fence salesman BY TOM LUBY, PRESIDENT, PROFIT BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL Your Fence Co. (an alias name I am using for this article) was a great company, well established, great staff, with reliable, hardworking crews; but things were not right in the sales de- partment. For several months, even years, things had been deteriorating, and practically no one liked their job. Here is a fact: if you don't like your job and what you are doing, you will not be very good at it and life will be miserable for you and for the ones around you. The sales manager, Bill, and I had to revamp the sales staff and get ev- eryone to believe in themselves, their jobs, and each other. If not, they had to leave the company. It was a harsh resolution, but noth- ing else seemed to work. It had to be just that simple: "You had to believe in yourself and your company or you had to leave." Naturally, there was some resis- tance to change, as there always is, and Bill even had to let a few people go right off the bat. But today, six months after Bill and I began the changes, the difference in the sales department is phenomenal. Performance has skyrocketed, and volume has increased by some- thing like 35% to 40%. Profits have increased dramatically, errors have all but disappeared, the staff actually smiles when they come to work and the best part is that "the better it gets, the better it gets." It is a self-fulfilling success prophecy. Not only that, the rest of the company no longer blames the sales department for everything that goes wrong, like they used to; instead, they are trying to catch up to the level of success they (the sales staff) now op- erate with. All because of attitude and some attention to detail! One of the first things that Bill and I put into place that greatly contribut- ed to the success of the sales depart- ment at Your Fence Co. was a weekly sales duties list that was discussed at the weekly sales meeting and agreed upon by everyone on the team. That is very important. Everyone has to "buy into" a strategic plan, a way of doing business that must make sense to everyone and must be fol- lowed without exception by all sales staff. This list of duties and responsibil- ities will vary a bit from company to company, but it is essentially the same for everyone. This was a list that all of the sales staff began to follow that, along with an attitude adjustment, led to such re- sounding success. Here is what it en- tails: 1. Make and keep the customer happy! 2. All sales staff must come to work fully pre- pared and eager to succeed. This means everyone on the sales team will receive proper sales training, use all the correct tools such as pictures, letters of recommendation, sales bro- chures and, most important, samples. We would never send one of our crews out into the field to complete an installation without the proper tools; they could never do the job. The same is true with the sales department; they must be completely prepared and ready to succeed. Reading my book "The Close" became mandatory. 3. All sales staff must use some sort of follow-up system, either the old fashion but effective 1-31 (tickler) file, or the newer electronic version of a follow-up system like the Act custom- er and contact management system. But everyone must follow-up on all leads and bids. 4. Next, the sales manager must ensure that all sales staff per- sonnel are up to date, all estimates have received a fol- low up letter and a flag is entered for a return call on all outstanding open estimates and sales calls. 5. All return calls and follow-up correspondence (in Act or 1-31) have been made on time and the results posted. 6. Every sales personnel attends: …do not settle for mediocre performance from anyone on your team, whether they are in sales, installation, the shop, or even the front office. Strive for excellence, expect nothing less from anyone in the company and go out there and make some money!

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