Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Mess with a Salesman Week

This is it. The perfect week. Friday is December 31st.

Friday's the end of the week.
End of the month.
End of the quarter.
End of the year.

. . . and the end of a LOT of deadlines for sales people. They have quotas and bonus systems. They have goals that need to be met.

If you find the right one, they can really make some great deals this week. Historically, this week is rumored to be the best week EVER to buy a car. If you find the right sales person.

Quotas based on shear sales dollars are very common, so any sale adds to that goal. But some sales quotas are based on units sold. That means that moving product - even at a loss - can get someone a bigger bonus.

Some industries have been hard hit for a long time with no relief, such as real estate. These sales people are desperate all the time. So don't worry about getting a better deal on a house this week. They'll be just as desperate next week.

But if you know someone gets a bonus based on total sales, total units, number of contracts, or even the number of add-on items they push, then start dealing now. You will find this week to be a period of amazing honesty when it comes to the question of "Where is there flexibility?" In other words, which fees are simply bullshit intended to put more money in your pocket? Let's drop those so we can talk about the thing that gets you a bonus.

Note that these rules don't apply to all sales people. If a sales person is on strictly salary, there are no extra bargains this week. Talk to them next week.

More importantly, there are some sales people who are not "in the running" for any sales competition. They're number five or number ten. They have little motivation to be making big, stupid deals this week. Big, stupid deals are going to come from hungry sales people who might actually win a big contest and get a trip to Maui or a new car. You gotta find the really hungry sales people.

How do you find these folks? Easy: They're working this week. They'll be in the office at 5:01 PM. They'll be on the phone every time you call - but they're guaranteed to call you back ASAP. They'll be working Friday, including Friday night.

Yes. They'll be working Friday, New Year's Eve, doing whatever it takes to make one more deal and kick more butt.

Schmoes who go home at 2 PM Friday are either not sales people, or they're not hungry sales people.

So make a plan. Make a budget. And start working your sales target now. You've only got a few days to whip them into a froth so they'll take anything you offer on Friday.

What About YOUR Sales People?

There's another side to this coin.

If you employ sales people, how are they motivated this week? Are they hungry? Are they bringing in new business?

I love lots of people who call themselves sales people. But I have to say that most of them are lazy and won't be cutting any big deals this week. This is a week for excuses (everyone's out of the office, no one calls me back, no one's looking to buy right now, decision makers aren't around, etc.).

There are always good excuses. And there are more excuses than normal in the last week of the year.

But there are always buyers. And this week there are hungry buyers trying to find new solutions. You just have to find them. They aren't going to be calling YOU.

Analyze your sales this week. For the month, for the quarter, for the year. How have you set up incentives for the last week of the year? Intentionally or not, are you motivating sales people to try harder or take the week off?

Monday (January 3rd) might be a great time to talk to your sales people about what motivated them this week. (Don't bother them this week unless they're not busy. And if they're not busy, this might be a great week to fire them and look for someone who will be busy on the last week of the year.)

Ask about how the sales commission structure motivates them. Do they love it? Do they hate it? Yes, they agreed to it at some point. But if it's not working, fix it. Find out what would have motivated them and see if it makes sense.

What you do NOT want to see is that your year-end commission structure motivates sales people to make stupid sales that you can't deliver. Or worse, ones you can't make money on. If the sales people are motivated to make sales that cause you to lose money, something is very broke.

Where do you stand?


Join me on the:
Intel Hyrbrid Cloud Roadshow
Charlotte - January 4, 2011
Ft. Lauderdale - January 6, 2011
Portland, OR - January 11, 2011

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