Q&A From April 2015 Webinar

On our most recent home improvement webinar we had numerous questions that were not able to be addressed during the program. Here are responses to several of them:

Q: In a company where the average contract is $12-15k, how much volume should be expected from a salesperson?

A: By today’s standards, with the kind of leads most companies develop, a salesperson selling $15k contracts should be producing in excess of one million dollars net revenue per year, which represents somewhere between 65-70 net contracts. We have clients who have average contracts between $7-8 thousand dollars and the average salesperson sells $700-800 thousand dollars per year. Much depends on how the people are trained, and what style of closing process they use, but in truth many companies set the bar way too low.

Q: In a company that produces TV leads and has a successful canvassing crew, what should the “sit rate” (presentation rate) be?

A: If your canvassing program is new, your salespeople will tend to see canvass leads as “lesser than” or inferior to the television lead. Once salespeople begin to understand that the canvass lead usually gives them access to a customer who is not out looking for prices on a specific project and will not have been contaminated by misinformation, they will see the benefit. Accordingly, a canvass lead with a well-trained salesperson can exceed a 50% “sit rate”. In the more experienced companies a 60-70% “sit rate” is not uncommon.

Q: What is the one trait that you find in common with top producing salespeople?

A: Hard to narrow it down to one trait. However, it usually falls in the field of self-confidence on the part of the salesperson, persistence, and the ability to deal with resistance. Some new salespeople may have a character trait which seems to make them likeable; that’s helpful, but it is not the most common trait found in top producers.

Q: What are your thoughts on using head hunters or placement agencies for finding salesman?

A: The history of using placement agencies and/or headhunters for salespeople are not that great. There are prospects for the sales role out there who may not be familiar with your product or the intricacies of your industry. However, if their behavioral profile indicates that they can bring “passion” to the presentation, then they can frequently be taught “processing” inclusive of less telling and better selling methods. You can find these people as easily as your placement agency. As David pointed out, in every territory the kind of person who can succeed as a salesperson in your organization exists you simply have to use the right methodology to find them. Our case histories studies point to numerous successful salespeople who might have had limited or no sales experience, but the profile indicated a behavior that is adaptable. Yes, there are cases where the headhunter or the placement agency do find a salesman, but when it comes to people who sell in the home, we have found their success to be extremely limited.

Q: Should salespeople “in training” be forced to look at videos or listen to CD’s, and then be tested on comprehension?

A: Sales training is an ongoing process, as is seeking to improve the “skill sets” in any profession. The proper video training enables salespeople to identify with an individual using a process which can be replicated. Depending on the size of your sales organization, video training should be broken down into “segments” where the video is turned off and a discussion on the subject matter can be introduced. The use of CD’s is also effective for personal “study”. If the information is proposed in an inspirational style, the salesperson can listen to these in what we like to call “windshield time”, driving to or from a sale. If salespeople are effectively using CD’s as part of their training culture they should be quizzed repeatedly on (a) what they heard (b) how they intend to use it (c) or how they are using it.

Stay tuned as we answer more questions in our next blog posting.

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