Thursday, July 28, 2011


I met with a great modular company owner yesterday about a project they are working on and during the conversation he told me about the "knows" that every one of his sales reps has to learn before they get full commissions.

Two things struck me as odd.  First, he actually has a program in place for his sales reps and secondly, his sales people don't make a full commission until they show him they understand the importance of what is expected from them.  WOW!  This guy is my hero.

I asked if I could share his "knows" with other Sales Managers and Owners and he readily agreed.  He asked that I not give out his company's name and also he left out a couple of "Knows" that he doesn't share with anyone but his sales reps.  Great guy!

1.  "Know" your product.
A sales rep has to know how his home is manufactured from the beginning to end.  The rep also has to know the standards of EVERY factory that sells in his/her assigned territory.  Knowing your factories strengths and benefits will give you an edge when talking to a builder using another factory.

2.  "Know" your procedures.
Every factory has a set of rules that insure that a house is designed, quoted, produced and sold properly.  This is not a "learn as you go" thing.  If a sales rep can demonstrate to their Sales Manager that they fully understand the entire process, there will be less confusion when they actually start talking to builders.

3.  "Know" your territory.
Every assigned territory is different.  Some are going through really tough times with unemployment over 10% while others are starting to see new home starts again.  If a sales rep knows their territory and understands what is happening within it, they can put together strategies for both themselves and their builders.

4.  "Know" your builder.
In the old days, knowing your builder meant knowing that every week they would give you houses to quote and place orders without a huge effort on your part.  Today it means getting together with your builder to help them develop their business and improve their marketing.  Becoming a partner with them.

5.  "Know" your post sale responsibilities.
Every factory has a service department.  It's up to the sales rep however, to make sure that everything goes smoothly after the house is delivered.  Tell the builder that you will meet them at the latest houses you delivered to see if progress is being made and that nothing will reflect badly on the factory.  Making sure that the house is being finished just as the customer wants is something that needs to be done by every factory but in all honesty, most factories don't even have pictures of what their houses look like when completed which means that nobody, with the possible exception of the service guys, has any idea if the house is completed properly.

When the sales rep for this factory owner demonstrates that they "know" his rules, they earn full commissions on every house including the one's when they were on "probation."  Good job!


William said...

So Coach tell us some facts about this "great owner" you wrote about.
Does he train them on each of the "knows" or does he leave them on their own to flounder around?
What is the length of his formal traiing period?
Does he do the training or does he have a sales manager? From what you wrote it appears he must be an owner with sales experience.
How large is his sales team?
How many of them are still on probation?
Does he set quotas? What type? Sales calls? Quotes? New Builders signed up? Conversion of quotes to orders? Total Orders?
What is the average number of builder accounts that each of them are responsible for?
Does he expect them to prospect?
I don't know about other readers but these are things that would be interesting to know about this great owner you wrote about? I am sure you can write about these things without exposing the name of the company.

Coach said...

William, I only spent 90 minutes with him and the "knows" were not the reason for the visit. I could have talked with him longer about his sales team but he and I both had to get to other places.
I can give you a couple of facts I know about him and his sales team.

He has 4 outside sales people that that been with him for quite some time. Not sure what he meant by that.

He does have sales experience and he showed me some of the reports he generates but I was not allowed to see any numbers.

He is still in business (today, that alone is an accomplishment) and builds a mix of houses and commercial units. Beyond that I can't tell you much as the other things you ask about were not shared with me.

He does not have a Sales Manager but rather an "assistant" that seemed like a real sharp girl who he said can do everything when he is not available.

Anonymous said...

Hey William. Does Coach have to do all your work?

William said...

Coach, thanks for the info. Helps to make sense out of what the owner said to you.
I did not ask the questions to help me in my business as I am not active any longer, but for educational purposes. I think it always helps to know what others are doing and postings like the ones you do help all of us to be better educated in sales and marketing.
Again, thanks....

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