Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Things You Won't Admit About Slow Sales

There are many types of sales management in today’s modular home factory. Some are simply the owner and a couple of sales people and possibly a sales manager. Other modular factories have a sales manager and many sales people and a few have a sales department, complete with a sales manager, coordinators and inside and outside sales reps.

Every one of them are trying to improve sales; even the largest ones. There are some things that tend to clog and in some cases even kill sales. The problem is that many of them are so plain to see and easy to correct but nobody wants to really fix them because it will mean change or worse yet, admit that you were wrong. 

I just want to ask each of you a simple question,"Can you handle the truth" about why your sales are lagging?
How many of the below mentioned trouble spots are alive and well in your modular home factory sales organization? If you find a few, fix them and start improving your factory's sales performance.

  1. The salespeople have too many sales reports and many of those reports never get read. Also, have you ever read an honest Lost Order Report that simply said, “We were outsold”.
  2. Is there enough sales training? Want proof? How many sales reps can describe the steps in the sales process? Sales skills must be at the center of the sales team’s culture.
  3. Your order process is too long and complex. It’s time to fix this long lingering problem as a quick way to improve sales.
  4. The wrong salespeople are recognized for the wrong reasons. Only three things matter, YTD Commissions, YTD Percent of Quota and Close Rate. Who cares about the sales rep that secured the most sales appointments during your last prospecting blitz? Instead, recognize the rep that got the most new modular home builders that ordered a home. That’s the only way to improve your Corporate sales performance.
  5. There is a lack of “Trust” at all levels in your Sales Organization. So, Email trails grow longer because the focus is no longer on selling. The focus is on “CYA” activities and not ways to improve sales.
  6. Sales managers want higher sales activity so now your sales funnels are packed with unqualified prospects that will never buy anything. Sales Activity for the sake of activity will not generate one penny in revenue. That’s no way to sales performance.
  7. Product training explains how a product operates but can’t tell your sales force how to sell it. Product training is not sales training.
  8. Your brochures come off a printer in your office. The second rate quality is obvious to your builders and their customers.
  9. You cut cost by reducing your administrative staff and now a $150,000 a year salesperson sends out the mail. Smart move? How can that improve sales?
  10. You don’t take the time to learn how to improve sales when you lose an order. Also, you don’t take time to learn something when you win an order. That knowledge is power.
  11. There are too many meetings for the sake of having meeting. Please don’t have a meeting to fix this problem.
  12. Sales are down so most salespeople don’t want to make waves at a time when some waves should be made. The Sales Manager’s “Open Door Policy” isn’t as wide as you may think. You’ll improve corporate sales performance when you get all issues out in the open.
  13. The sales rep that won your last sales contest didn’t even know there was a sales contest.
  14. Due to cuts in customer service; which has never been a strong area with modular factories; salespeople spend too much time on customer service issues and not enough time selling new accounts. Company sales will increase when your reps have the time to do what they do best… sell.
  15. Top sales reps are not encouraged to share their “best practices” with others. What’s the big secret?
  16. The most tenured salespeople are using the most outdated laptops. In order to increase factory sales, give them the tools they need to succeed at the highest level and they will help improve sales. Too many sales reps have to provide their own laptops, tablets and smart phones.
  17. The sales team was never supplied with sharp answers to the most common sales objections they face every day. Why not? Is that any way to improve sales?
  18. The factory management never hires an outside sales trainer and the sales manager ran out of new material years ago. Since there isn’t any new material, now only “new hires” get any training. Improved sales follow training.
  19. Management once hired an outside consultant to learn what the sales reps already knew and wanted to tell them. Listen to the reps and improve sales performance.
  20. It’s been years since a salesperson asked for a referral from a client. Referrals improve sales.
  21. Processes have become very complicated and process training has replaced sales training. Process training may improve processes but it will never improve Corporate sales performance.
  22. Sales people spend hours entering data into some prospecting data base that no one ever uses. Get the reps out in the field where they can increase corporate sales performance. If you don’t believe this, watch the movie, Up in the Air.
  23. Casual Dress Policy has gotten out of control. Fix it and you’ll improve sales.
  24. There are too many arguments about account ownership and each argument is resolved using different standards and guidelines. Disappointed reps will do little to increase Corporate sales performance.
  25. Assigning “no compete” territories to selected builders sounds like a good idea but rarely do these builders perform as well as expected and they are hit on by every other modular factory rep and will probably switch at some point. Always look to improve the sales territories.
  26. You don’t have a list of customers you can reference. How can that void improve corporate sales performance?
  27. Too much time is spent on low volume builders and not enough recognizing the top ones. Only top builders will improve sales. It is up to the sales reps to work with all builders in an effort to help them become more successful but when that fails, cut the builder lose and hope that a competing factory picks them up
  28. It takes too long to get newly hired sales reps productive and management quickly looses faith in them. Get serious about new hire development and increase corporate sales performance.
  29. Having the best product at the best price will never happen. Even if it did, it will never guarantee sales success. Sales success always goes to the team with the best sales skills. Do something to get those sales skills.
  30. No one can remember the last time they had some fun at work. Ouch!!! Fun is just one more way to improve sales. 

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