Once the non performers have been identified as outlined in last month’s column, the next step in improving the overall efficacy of a sales department in a modern day equipment dealership is to replace those underperforming order takers with existing or potential field marketers.
Overachievers. The first attribute that a sales manager should look for in a budding field marketer is overachievement. An overachiever is a term that is hard to define but easy to identify. By definition, an overachiever is someone who consistently exceeds expectations. Whether in school, sports or industry, an overachiever is overly ambitious with high expectations and is motivated to be the best that he or she can be.
Sometimes impetuous, often imperious and always mercurial, overachievers are passionate about what they do and singularly focused on achieving their own personally established goals.
They’re demanding of others as well as themselves and are impatient with peers and colleagues who lack their focus or their zeal. While perfection is often a trait of overachievers, their fear of failure often outweighs their desire to win.
Similarly, while some overachievers are exceptionally bright, almost all overachievers exceed their expectations because of an indefatigable work ethic. An 8-hour day is simply not in their DNA. They work exceptionally long hours and will do whatever it takes to achieve their desired end result.
Risk Takers. Overachievers are risk takers and are often thought of as quirky because of their tendency to “think outside of the box.” Additionally, rarely are overachievers team players. In fact, because they march to a different drummer, it is not uncommon to perceive overachievers as “loners.” But like all employees, they appreciate the occasional “at a boy,” and should play an integral role in the goal setting process.
Goal Setters. Goal setting is the second attribute that a dealer or a sales manager should seek in a burgeoning field marketer. Research in social psychology has revealed “95-97% of the people in the world do NOT have written goals and fail, while 3-5% have written goals and succeed.”
Successful sales personnel should have established goals as to the amount of money they want to make; the number of new units they want to sell; the dollar amount of new equipment sales; the number of used units they want to sell; the dollar amount of used equipment sales; the gross margin percent for both new and used equipment sales; and the number of conquest customers they plan to convert.
Yet, when training salepersonnel, I find very few have such goals and objectives, let alone the action plans to bring such ambition to fruition. Potential new hires should have a history of planning their actions. They should also be familiar with a to-do list. Whether in school or a previous occupational position, they should be able to discuss how they planned their time to achieve the goals that they established for themselves.
Money Motivates. The third attribute that a dealer or sales manager should look for when hiring a potential field marketer is the applicant’s desire to earn a very high income. Outstanding field marketers are motivated by money. They are also motivated by their own performance. They want to be the best. That’s why compensation systems that don’t discriminate on the basis of performance will rarely satisfy a field marketer. In fact, such compensation systems will likely encourage the field marketer to seek employment elsewhere.
Top Performers. During a training session earlier this year in Western Canada, I met an equipment salesperson who had sold $3,650 shy of $25 million last year with an overall gross margin of 8.5%. Coincidentally, these are almost the exact same numbers that were achieved by a Midwestern salesperson last year who I had had the opportunity to train a few years earlier. While most salespersonnel struggle to achieve $5 million in annual sales or exceed a 6% gross margin, here are two salespersonnel from different parts of North America who significantly outperformed the norm.
What explains such superior performance? Meet two money motivated, goal oriented overachievers. While most salespersonnel are home watching American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, both of these overachievers are likely to be in the field with a customer or at the customer’s kitchen table in the final stages of closing a transaction.
These are the individuals who will be calling the dealer or store manager late into the night to see if any additional money is available to “close the deal.”
These are the salespersonnel who live and breathe their profession. While they’re constantly seeking to exceed their customers’ expectations, they are concomitantly seeking to exceed their own challenging goals and expectations. Good isn’t good enough as these overachievers continually challenge themselves to be the best that they can be. FE