Searching for a sales rep

Increasing sales by adding the right marketing professional to your team. September 20, 2003

We are looking to increase our sales. Does anyone have info on how to find a sales rep?

Forum Responses
(Business Forum)
From contributor H:
Advertise for one in your trade magazines. The ones that are willing to work for a commission only are the bright ones. Commission against a draw for the first 60-90 days with a review the first second and fourth week. By then you know exactly where the rep will take you. Don't hesitate to get rid of him at any time and do not listen to crybaby terms.

From the original questioner:
It sounds like you have some experience with this. What are the cry baby terms? Are these guys hard to find?

From contributor H:
Good ones are always hard to find; bad ones with excuses are abundant. Focus on ones that have a good track record and are not afraid to let you talk to their customers, both new and old. Crybabies are the ones that will always have an excuse as to why they lost the sales - it will always be the company's fault.

From contributor P:
The rep your looking for is going to be attracted to your company because of your goal to increase sales to your business. Attitudes and concerns like those responses above only attract the low performance rep.

Sounds like you want the real deal. You are already on the right track. You said you want to increase sales. The pretenders usually contact ads for "sales rep" or "sales". The person you're looking for will immediately be able to talk about how to increase sales. Being such a person myself, I can tell you that I am attracted to companies that state that goal instead of talking about compensation. Look, compensation takes care of itself. It's much more exciting to talk about how we are going to do this, increase sales.

The right person knows how to increase sales via many areas. Knows how to increase sales from existing customers, get new business, attract customers buying from your competitor, build long term mutually beneficial relationships and more. If I new what kind of business you are in and where you are located, I could add more info.

From the original questioner:
I'm with you on those ideals. My main objective is to increase sales and grow my company. More sales will do that. We have a great crew of 10 and they enjoy their jobs, take pride in their work, and always try to do the job better and faster. We are a 5000 ft CNC shop that manufactures casework and millwork of all kinds, for all different applications. 99% of our work is through generals (I think this is holding us back). We have 1 estimator and 1 engineer in the office, nobody focusing on just sales.

Our shop is in beautiful Gloucester, Mass, 45 minutes north of Boston. My company is over 20 years old, and I'ts time to make the move to really take a position in the marketplace. My guess is a sales manager with the right connections and experience could really make an impact with ACM.

The main thing is that someone wear the hat of marketing and sales - if no one is selling, then sales will be off. Sounds simple enough, but through some specious thinking on my part ,I have fallen into the same trap as you. We also are a 5k sq ft shop with CNC.

As far as finding a good sales guy goes, you are going to be the best salesman. Guys who can close are hard to come by, for sure. I have been through about 6 over the past 10 years. Some were salesman and some were telemarketers. I like using telemarketing and then talking to the customers myself. But either way works.

I think time spent looking at your marketing (not to be confused with sales) will produce the most results in the long run. In other words, look at the big picture, not just sales.

I have not found any trick way of finding good sales people. But what I look for are people who are cheerful, have a track record if possible, who genuinely want to sell and sell your services, have a family. The thing about sales is the salesman has to be able to control people they are not necessarily everybody's best friend.

When you hire someone, give them 3 months if there is no sign of sales, then look for someone else. It takes about 6 months, usually, for the sales to get up to speed.

No matter what, you will have turnover. But the main thing is to Just Do It and you will find someone who can get it done.

From contributor P:
To the original questioner: I found your response impressive for a number of reasons.
The way in which you describe your crew indicates excellence in production, design and leadership of the company. Pride, skill and respect throughout your company really do put you in position to proceed into this next goal.

Truly successful companies always are a team of talented people moving the same direction. I will also say it is one of the most enjoyable and powerful experiences we will participate in during a business career. That having been said, I agree that strategy followed by implementation are the next moves for you.

Regarding the general contractor comment, I see generals as one kind of customer that I deal with. It sounds as if you are servicing that client somewhat effectively. My initial thoughts are about the many other participants in building and construction. I see a tremendous amount of business involving other decision makers. Architects, designers, showrooms and others involved in project specification. Not to mention end users. Many areas will need to contribute. But the good news is they are already out there. A great many very receptive to client-oriented companies.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor J:
I would have to agree that what you need, first and foremost, is a marketing plan. You stated that most of your clientel is the builder market. What you have to look at is, no matter who buys from your door, the end user is the one that is making the purchase. The more you display, the more people know what you have, the more they can compare means the noticable selection of a better quality and more unique product - yours.

Placement is the key. A board with pieces isn't enough - make a statement. Then find the places that promote the use of your product - door and window manufactures, siding companies, cabinet design houses, custom contractor showrooms. An end user making a request for a particular product goes a long way for making a name for yourself.