Monday, June 10, 2013

Duties of the Modular Home Factory Sales Rep

Sorry to tell you this but most modular home factory Sales Managers can’t tell you what your duties are as the company’s sales rep. Most of them came up through the sales ranks and unfortunately they were never taught them either.

Beyond writing up the sales contract with the builder and answering their questions, what else should you be doing to further the success of both the factory and yourself? Here is a list of duties for the modular home sales rep:

Calling on Existing Builders and Developers:
The sales reps’ most important duty is to call on existing builders. Calling on your assigned builders means keeping in touch with them. Email is fine for most of the dialog between you and your builder but a face to face meeting should happen at least once every quarter. If you have 20 assigned builders, you should be meeting with them at least 80 days a year. This can include the days their home is being set or when you meet them to help resolve a problem.  Make the most of every personal meeting. Shaking hands is an art that can never be replaced Facebook or email.

Adding New Builders and Developers:
You were assigned a specific territory. I’ve seen sales areas covering several states given to sales reps and I’ve also seen partial states given to others. It doesn’t matter what you were given, you have to learn everything in it that effects your livelihood. While traveling through it, set up meetings with new builders, especially ones that have never used modular before. I was given the Boston, MA market at one factory and told that a certain builder had the whole area and I was not allowed to prospect for new ones. That builder did 6 homes a year in an area encompassing over 600,000 people. If this happens to you, ask why you can’t prospect for more builders but be prepared for that deer in the headlight stare from your Sales Manager.

Informing Your Builder
Your builder does not have eyes and ears at the factory. No, wait a minute, they do! It’s you. You are the one that has the responsibility to introduce new options, new procedures, new pricing and new homes to your builders. Don’t assume that the stuff sent out by the Sales Manager is all that is needed. If it were, why would the factory need you? You are the person that needs to explain why and when the changes are being made. Doing this one on one with your builders will build strong relationships.

Builder Counseling:
How can you expect your builders to improve their sales-to-prospect ratio if you’ve never talked to them about their marketing and sales efforts. Do you really understand what is needed by today’s new home buyer? Have you shown any inclination to help your builders with Facebook, Pinterest or email marketing?  Your builders are hungry for it and if they can’t find any help from you, they will probably be very receptive to the first factory rep that shows up on their door with an offer of help. If your factory doesn’t have any sales and marketing programs for the builder, ask if you and the other reps can start one. That should wake up your Sales Manager.

You are the Factory Feedback Specialist:
Sales people are the key people to collect detailed frank, factual information of the builder’s needs, concerns and expectations. This information is vital to the decisions made by your factory. If you don’t bring back these concerns to your Sales Manager, then don’t expect any change. Meeting your builders face to face will produce more honest feedback than a dozen emails or phone calls.

Participate in Sales Meetings:
You are the bridge between your builders and the factory and need to participate actively to represent them at the weekly or monthly sales meetings. These meetings provide a forum for exchange of ideas, techniques, production methods and other topics your builders need. Don’t sit in the corner saying nothing and hoping you don’t get called on for your input. This isn’t grade school; this is your professional duty. Don’t sit back and ridicule other reps for asking questions during the meeting. We’ve all been in the sales meeting where the Sales Manager just stood there and droned on and on, asking each rep how many homes they were bringing in this week, month or quarter. That’s because the Sales Manager didn’t have a plan for the sales meeting and the only thing they know is how to do is ask for your numbers, something that could have been done with a phone call, in person before the meeting or email.  

If your Sales Manager is no asking you to do these things, then you are fighting an uphill battle. Be prepared to do these things on your own and your success will inspire others to ask how you are doing it. Then hand them this list.  You might want to leave one on your Sales Manager’s desk.

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