Friday, March 18, 2011


Modular Home factory owners and sales managers go through sales reps like a drunk looking for the next open bar.  Sales managers worked their way up from a successful sales career into their role but most have had no training in managing others or teaching others how to sell.  They simply give the reps a thermos and a map and send them on the path to sales glory.

But there are ways to spot potentially bad sales reps. If you are a Sales Manager, look at your reps and see if any fit the list below.  If they do, start right now learning how to help them.  It's not easy but if you are successful, you will have a super star on your hands.  If you are a sales rep and have one or more of these traits, it might be time to look elsewhere for a job.

Bad modular home sales reps:

  1. Hate being rejected. I’m sure nobody likes being rejected or told no but the bad sales rep will take it personally and mull it over for days which will interfere with their next sale.  But let’s face reality, they will face rejection by lots of people in their everyday lives and if they can’t take no without going into a mild depression, they will make lousy sales reps.
  2. Can’t ask for the order. This is the number reason sales reps fail.  They assume that if the builder has written a contract with their customer, the order will automatically fall in their laps.  In many instances in the modular home business, this is true.  But what happens if the builder works with several modular factories?  If the sales rep isn’t consistently moving toward the close; they are simply order takers and those people are becoming extinct in our industry.  If you are unwilling to ask for the order you will only get the leftovers of those that are professionally trained to ask for the order.
  3. Possess selective hearing. If you are one of those people that believe everything someone says to you is true and that what people say is what they will do, you will be a disaster at selling. If you are a gullible person and just believe everything your builder and their customer tells you is “gospel”; sorry you aren’t cut out for selling.  You’ve got to learn to distinguish between a stall and a definite no.
  4. Unable to ask questions.  This is aimed more at the builder and their sales rep than the factory rep.  If they hate asking questions and feel like asking questions is like getting too personal or prying into someone’s business, they will not make it in the field of sales. “What is your income”, “how long have you worked there”, “who is the decision maker”, “why can’t you do this” are questions they will have to learn to asked. If questions cause them discomfort, their career in sales is over.
  5. Believe the price is key to the sale. They believe the lowest price is the reason people buy things.  Please fire them so they can become a clerk at Wal-Mart or a hamburger flipper at McDonald’s.  99.9% of all products on this planet can be replaced by cheaper alternatives.  In just a couple of phone calls, any modular builder can find a lower price from another factory, even if they aren’t currently a builder with them.  Price is actually a myth and not the reason people buy anything but if you believe the lowest price is the reason people buy things you should not be in sales.
  6. Think selling is a bad thing. Even one small dose of this type of thinking will kill their chances of ever making it in sales. Some sales people actually believe that what they are doing is wrong, unethical and because they believe that what they are doing is a bad thing they will fail at it. Great sales people are proud of their title and profession and know that nothing happens on this planet without sales people.
  7. Unwilling to train and prepare. If you are one of those people that thinks they are going to successfully sell just because of their natural abilities and unwilling to train and prepare, you will not make it as a sales person. You can be average sales person but you will probably die broke. Even great salespeople over the life of his/her career will be plagued with competitive threats, industry changes, challenging economies and will find themselves at risk. To be great at selling you will have to make a commitment to sales training, sales seminars, books and staying alert to sales tips and sales strategies.  
A successful sales rep can make you a lot of profit during their career with your factory but it only takes one bad one to offset it through lost sales and their negative attitude.  For the sake of the factory's success, identify them and either retrain them or fire them.  But do something right now!

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