In any company, the department that plays the most valuable role in growth is the Sales Team. This is especially true if you’re a small business and your small business sales is what makes or breaks your company. Your sales team is what’s going to drive your company into the future. If you put together a great sales team, you will see substantial growth.
After doing sales for over 10 years, you tend to pick up a few tricks and skills. We all have the ability to sell, but its putting that ability to work for your company that’s difficult. As a small business owner you may or may not have some sales skills. However, you’re probably not the king of selling for your company. Even if you are, you can’t do it all alone. If you want to grow, you’re going to need a strong team.
I’m writing this article to help small business owners identify a few key aspects when hiring a salesperson.
1) Confidence. Confidence is the key factor your Sales Rep. must have when explaining your product to strangers or people in the market. Your Sales Rep. must have the confidence that your product is the best product in the market, that there is nothing that surpasses it or is better than it. Your Sales Rep. must be ready to defend or protect your product from predators in the market (such as other Sales Reps. in the same market) from tearing it down and bad mouthing the product. They must have the ability to meet and talk to strangers without fearing rejection. A good Sales Rep. must be aware that rejection is going to come, but just as the old saying goes, “ Shake the dust off your feet, and move to the next door.”
Remember that confidence comes from practice. Have your sales reps practice their skills. Encourage them to talk to strangers just to practice talking. Sell them on your product and they will sell the product for you.
2) Knowledge. A great Sales Rep. must be very knowledgeable about your product. They must know the –ins and outs of the product or service. They must never use the words “ I don’t know”, “maybe”, or–my favorite one–”let me get back to you.” There is a huge difference in writing “I can help you with XYZ” and
“You can be successful with XYZ.” If your sales person is having a hard time understanding the product or service ask yourself “Am I not explaining it well enough?” Most Sales Reps. take a few weeks or months to understand a product.
If you have a business services company (plumbing, temp agency, janitorial, etc.) send your Sales Rep. with one of your field employees. Have him study, examine, and watch your field employees, and make sure he asks questions. If you’re offering a product let your Sales Rep. sit down with your chief engineer. The best person to explain the product or service to your Sales Rep. is not you, but the person who invented it, or works with it everyday. Firsthand experience is worth 100 times more than talking about something all day.
3) Motivation. You should always motivate your Sales Reps. each and every time you talk to them. Always congratulate them on their successes and how you can see their work benefiting the company. If a Sales Rep. is not motivated then there is obviously something wrong. Either they don’t believe in your company or they have a roadblock and they don’t know how to fix it. No one knows your company better than you. It is your job to make sure your Sales Reps are motivated to take down any roadblock. Always give positive feedback along with constructive criticism when necessary. Keep your salespeople motivated and they won’t say “I can’t do it,” they’ll say “How can I make this happen?”