The question: “How can I hire a salesperson for my small carpet cleaning business?”
Steve’s answer: “YOU will always be your ‘best salesperson’ till you hit ‘Critical Mass’. But if you insist I’ll explain how to hire/manage/motivate salespeople.”
I want to hire a salesperson for my one truck operation since I far prefer commercial work. Do you have any specific articles on scripting for commercial sales? (Or for that matter any info on hiring sales staff?) I would really appreciate any help and thank you for helping our industry!
Wanting to Grow in Georgia
Your question is a common one. Why? Because virtually every carpet cleaner I know (including me!) went into this game because we love… to personally clean carpets! And most of us (including me!) hate and fear “cold call selling”! But then we also recognize the need to have a marketing and “personal sales” program where our company reaches out to clients. Hmmmm…
Carpet cleaner’s inspiration strikes: “I know what! I’ll hire a salesperson to do the ‘dirty work’ so I don’t have to sell! This way I can keep on having fun and playing on the truck cleaning carpets! Genius!”
Steve Toburen: “Listen closely here. The vast majority of ‘salespeople’ any small service business hires will be a total and complete disaster!” Why? Let me count the ways…
- Professional selling is both a profession and an art. And good PROFESSIONAL salespeople are already employed (usually by large corporations) and are pulling down six-figure salaries. (Wanting, I’m assuming you can’t pay a salesperson 100K plus?) 🙂
- Your “amateur salesperson” very likely will either a) underbid or b) screw up the contacts he or she does make and you will lose your only chance to build a relationship with these potentially very important prospects.
- After hitting #2 above your salesperson in short order will burn out and slack off. Eventually (after you have wasted a lot of money, time and energy on them) you will discover this and fire them while suffering a lot of emotional drama/pain in the process.
Wanting, I’m not trying to be negative. It is just that I have seen this exact same “train wreck” scenario repeated again and again and again. So who should you “hire”? Yourself! BUT for only one morning a week! HERE is a seven step process on how to “be your very own best salesperson” and in only one morning a week! (I also give you four ways to bring in money fast from commercial contacts.)
Now I can “feel your pain” from here, Wanting. So let’s assume you ignore my well meaning advice above and STILL want to “hire a salesperson”. (And I will admit I have softened my stance whether to hire a salesperson simply because if you hate, fear, HATE and dread something you won’t be any good at it!) So let me give you some tips:
- Hire part time. Find people who want to work one or two days a week. This probably means they will keep their other job which is fine since you shouldn’t have to support your salesperson while they “get up to speed”! (Part time also means they won’t burn out as fast… maybe!) NOTE: On the other hand “part time” is not a guaranteed solution. Check out what Chuck Violand and I shared with a carpet cleaner HERE.
- Hold them accountable. When you meet with your prospective new hire ask them how many new prospects they feel like they can contact every day. Let them come up with a number but it should be at least 20 per day. (When someone sets their own sales goals they are going to be far more committed to them.)
- Track and manage their results. Give them a “route sheet” and a “sales contact sheet”. Explain that you want to know who they are planning to call on next week in your regular “every Friday” afternoon meeting. You will also want to see the results of their past week on the sales contact sheet. Salespeople need “managing” which means you must meet with them regularly instead of just “abdicating” this important function! 🙂
- Decide when to take over. Much of your salesperson’s job (especially in the beginning) should be to “bird dog” for you. When they discover a potentially big account don’t be afraid to step in and take over. Have this clear up front and reassure them that they will still receive full commission on the sale.
- Reward and praise them when they meet/exceed their goals. This is apart of “management” and you should be doing this “Public Recognition” with ALL your staff.
HERE are a bunch more tips on hiring/ controlling and training an outside salesperson. Frankly, Wanting, once carpet cleaners see how much work it is to “do it right” with a salesperson they many times decide to do it themselves! 🙂 Either way, I’d like to hear about your results and how your SFS team can help you more!
PS HERE are some great sales scripts. And HERE is a Commercial Carpet Analysis form. And HERE is a Production/Pricing Analysis form to help you (or your salesperson) bid work profitably. See, I did come through for you… in sort of a long-winded, preachy type of manner! 🙂 Whatever you decide, Wanting, I hope you do great!