written by john c ashworth
If you manage a sales team, you MUST read this and understand these money management facts.
This idea comes straight out of one of Dan Kennedy’s books titled, ‘Almost Alchemy.’ The entire theme of the book is centered around the idea that if you’re willing to change your business math, you can and will change your business and personal life for the better. If you’re interested, I’m happy to send you a copy of the book in kindle format.
Click here to take advantage of this offer.
Here’s what you need to know if you manage a sales team.
This is really, really important and most business owners in particular really get this wrong so be sure to keep an open mind here…
The first thing you really need to understand and deep down, you probably already know this, is that your sales volume can and will be increased significantly when you follow-up effectively. The problem, as Dan puts it, is that disbelief in the value of unconverted leads runs rampant, for both salespeople and business owners and sales managers. This is in spite of the evidence suggesting that in most commerce categories anywhere from seven to twenty one sequential and interest and trust building contacts are behind 80% of all eventual sales.
Even in faster decision oriented businesses like shopping for a DUI attorney or a car or a personal injury attorney, over half of all sales are still made to slow-maturing buyers (Almost Alchemy, by Dan Kennedy published November 12th, 2019). In other words, a lot of the money is in the drilling-down and the discipline of building elaborate, interesting, and well thought out follow-up campaigns that nurture trust and interest and that ultimately will lead to more sales. You don’t need MORE marketing, you need better MARKETING, and better business math.
The car business is famous for this mentality and I mention that from time to time in my writing because I was a car salesman myself for four years and while this was one of the most powerful and rich experiences I’ve had as a salesperson, and human being, I could not stick around forever. One of the BIGGEST reasons was that I was NEVER allowed the freedom and resources I needed to build and cultivate this kind of sales and marketing mechanism. The ‘eat what you kill today’ mentality was just far too engraved in this culture. The same holds true for most businesses, of course, but the car business is a great example that most of us can relate to. We all have to buy cars.
The other important set of facts you need to accept when it comes to your sales team are these…and I warn you, they are a little disturbing but they are in fact very accurate.
1% are great!
4% are good.
15% are adequate.
40% are barely adequate.
40% are useless.
Take a close look at your sales team today and be honest with yourself. Personally, I’ve been part of enough sales teams in a wide variety of settings and to me, this looks just about right.
Here’s sometime else very important to understand…no matter how hard you might try, you will NOT be able to improve any of the bottom 80%. Stop wasting your time, money and resources on this and spend time and invest money in your top people instead. But that’s not all. The other very important point here is that while you’re not just going to go get rid of all your mediocre salespeople. They still hold value for you, but only if you’re willing to put the time and effort into building a real and comprehensive sales system. A marketing plus sales system that can be taught, measured, and improved upon daily. That’s real work, which is why most business owners and sales managers don’t do it. It also takes a level of commitment to personal development, and the Japanese concept of Kaizen or constant improvement.
Lastly, to do this right, you need good business math and good and consistent measurement so that your math is accurate and tells you the real story about what is happening day to day. You can only squeeze your salespeople so much, and as the size of your sales team grows, you will discover that the average productivity of each salesperson declines. As Dan points out clearly in his book, the work of freeing your company from the lowest producers becomes harder and harder because there are just so many darn slots to fill. As a result, expectations are lowered and you begin your rapid decent into mediocrity and misery.
PS I’m not saying you should give-up on your sales training and sales meetings and all of your efforts to inspire motivation in your sales team either. If you read the ash flash regularly, you know this is what I’m all about here. It’s just important to accept the fact that your sales training is NOT scalable. Instead, you should look at it as a means of supporting the top 20% of your sales team who will in fact benefit immensely from your efforts. If you’re interested in discussing ideas about how you can do this more effectively and having a discussion about how you can adopt better business math strategies, you can contact me here.