What’s wrong with your sales staff? Most likely – plenty! Like most forms of direct sales, owners are deeply dissatisfied with the meager results of their efforts. So what’s the problem?
- Direct sales staff don’t quantify results. In other words, what “exactly” is produced by their effort is never determined.
Many contractors are good at asking for and recording the referral question – “how did you hear about us?”, but few can tell you “what actions” did it take the company to produce this referral? As a result, no one knows what works and what doesn’t; what actions they should take more or less frequently; on which results producing activity they should concentrate their efforts going forward.
- Direct sales staff treat all prospects the same. In other words, whether an agent refers you work or not, they are going to get the same amount of your attention.
That doesn’t make sense! Common sense suggests that if Agent A refers work to you and Agent C does not, you place your emphasis and time on ensuring Agent A continues that good behavior while giving less attention to the lousy behavior of Agent C. Get it? We need to dig into our CRM and segment our market. How many agents are in your service coverage area? How many do you market (probably all of them)? How many have referred you work in the last 6 months (hot!); how many like you but don’t refer work to you (warm); how many have never referred work and don’t seem to care (cold, cold, cold!)? Agent A gets McAlister sandwiches for their staff, Agent B gets invited to Agent A lunches, and Agent C gets invited to the annual continuing education course. Get it? Know who does what on the “referral continuum” and market accordingly. What is the best predictor of future behavior – past behavior. Give your best to those who give you the most and if Agent A hasn’t referred you work in the past 6 months – FIND OUT WHY.
- Direct sales staff use worn-out, out-dated, old-fashioned, ineffective strategies. In other words, they use strategies that no longer produce the desired results.
Why does your sales staff keep on doing the same thing and expect different results – because they don’t know what else to do? Improving outcomes begins with a brutal assessment of current results and if you are not getting them – you must change what you are doing. What does this mean in plain English – stop filling candy jars, leave your pens and paper at home, stop showing up unannounced, and stop asking for work. If you are not offering something of value to the agent, don’t expect to get what you want from them in return. You need to figure out what you have to offer and what they find valuable in your offerings. HINT – I know what that is!
- Direct sales staff are poorly supervised. In other words, most owners don’t know what to do with them, so they don’t do anything.
The direct sales staff are self-directed, and you can imagine how that works out. If you are going to hire direct sales staff owners must be ready to get involved weighing in on their strategy, creating conversation introductions and transitions (the spiel), developing performance requirements, and holding them accountable for those actions. Don’t just say, “Go make me $500,000.” That’s a losing proposition. Instead, determine the right sales behaviors that may produce referrals of $500,000 and do them in the right way with the right rhythm for the best results.
- Direct sales staff miss the #1 opportunity to connect with agents. When is that – during a water loss. Yes, during a water loss is the ONLY time they are really interested in talking to you.
Rarely do contractors get the name of the homeowner’s agent and then, in turn, inform them of their customer loss and that you are on the job. There are many ways to involve the agent in the loss without trampling on the adjuster’s toes.
Homeowners are offended when after 20 years of premiums their agent shows little to no interest in the trauma of their loss. Homeowners want to see and hear from their agent. You can help that happen. You can meet the agent on site. You can provide positive feedback from the customer when the work is done. You can reach them in their office to debrief following the claim and share your values and willingness to help again in the future. You can do all kinds of things during and immediately following the claim that you can’t do any other time. You can even host a luncheon for the entire office staff to strengthen the relationship and invite ALL the other agents in the building to join in.
Hmmm, that sounds like a marketing best practice to me that just might be more positive and impacting than just about any other marketing action you could take. Much more could be said about this. If you are not satisfied with what you are getting from your direct sales teams, these are the most likely reasons why. Each one of them can be changed and turned into an advantage, but you need to act now!
Reference: 6-Month Coaching Plan – The Revenue Generator (The Ultimate Revenue Booster for Your Business Sales Growth) https://growmyrestorationbusiness.com/successes/