Successful Selling - May 2013

Successful Selling From May 2013

By Josh McGinnis

 

Now that the economy is turning upward, many retailers are adding sales support. But the process of hiring the right retail sales associates (RSA)—the ones that take your organization to the next level—takes much more than placing an ad in the newspaper. A typical flooring store concentrates too much on how to compensate an RSA and ignores the issue of how to hire the right person from the start. This column will help you attain that type of employee without losing your mind or your money. As a consultant and business coach, I have walked hundreds of business owners through the process of finding, training and keeping great salespeople.

Before we look into solutions, let’s first take a quick glance at the top five problems business owners run into when hiring a new RSA: what to look for in a sales associate, how to compensate and motivate a sales associate, how to train a sales associate, how to hold a sales associate accountable, and how to know when to let go of a sales associate. Though the course of the next several months with this column, I will work through each of these problems, offering solutions.

Hiring the wrong employee costs stores more than you might think. To calculate the cost, consider how much money you paid a bad hire. Then, add all the lost sales this person was unable to capture. Your true cost is a mixture of what you paid and what you lost, which is why a bad hire can easily cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how long you hold onto them. This doesn’t even consider all the extra time you spent to manage them. But you can avoid this financial and time-related loss by hiring the right RSA from the outset.

What should I look for in a sales associate? Many managers do not know what to look for when seeking an RSA; others hire the wrong type of person again and again, and hiring the same type of person produces the same results. 

As a manager, ask yourself this: do I have a clear description of what I am looking for in an RSA? Do I have a good track record of hiring?

If you answer no to either of those questions, then it is time to take action. Start by determining what the position will involve and exactly what type of person is best suited to fill that position, the specific accountabilities and competencies (professional and personal) that you desire in a sales associate representing your brand. I know this may seem like a chore that is slowing down the hiring process, but, believe me, minutes spent on the front-end will save hours later on.

To begin this, you must understand what makes a great salesperson. Below, I have created descriptions of four different types of salespeople: A, B, C and D salespeople.

A salespeople are the best you have ever seen. They are all in the top 10%, if not the top 5%, of their field. When you talk to them, you can feel their passion for making things happen. These players improve the performance of your whole team, making everyone better at what they do. They don’t just write orders; they produce sales. They take initiative to grow and better your business. And they reflect the core values of your business in their interactions with customers. These are the RSAs that you aim to hire.

B salespeople are strong, in the top 20% of RSAs. They reflect your core values accurately and are knowledgeable about products. They may not take initiative that improves your business overall, but they make consistent sales and build relationships with customers. These people are the lowest standard you should be willing to accept.

C salespeople are okay. They do their job, though maybe not particularly well. They rarely take initiative or volunteer. These associates are very much “middle of the road” when it comes to performance, but, because they are average, owners have trouble letting them go. They may cause dissension in your team.  

D level RSAs are bad for your team. They are poor performers and often generate a toxic atmosphere or an atmosphere of under-performance in the workplace. They are dead weight and need to be cut immediately from your team.

Your goal should be only to hire salespeople who are at the B caliber or higher. If you do this, your business will improve, and the rewards will be significant.  

Once you nail down your specific accountabilities and competencies and establish a standard to rate your sales team, you are ready to move to the next step in the process, which is knowing how to compensate and motivate your sales team.



SAMPLE LIST OF ACCOUNTABILITIES AND COMPETENCIES

FOR A FLOORING BUSINESS RSA

Accountabilities

Sales of at least $___ a month

Tracks leads, follow up, and outcomes

Generates leads through key activities

Maintains a margin of __%

Competencies
Ability to learn product knowledge
Ability to learn installation/measuring knowledge
Ability to handle objections without sacrificing price
Track record of being great with people
An eye for design
Consistent improvement
Desire to grow
Hard worker 


Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 




Other Archived Articles

Flooring Firm Fire Ruled Spontaneous Combustion   Full Article
Chesterfield County, VA, Aug. 5, 2014 -- A July fire at Better Floors has been ruled a "spontaneous combustion" incident by investigators.

Factory Orders Spike in June   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Factory orders surged in June by 1.1%, the Commerce Department said.

Services Sector Growth Fastest in Nine Years   Full Article
Tempe AZ, Aug. 5, 2014 -- The services sector of the economy grew in July at the fastest pace in nine years, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Kansas City Interiors Icon Bernie Madden Dies   Full Article
Leawood, KS, Aug. 5, 2014 -- William Bernard "Bernie" Madden, owner of Madden McFarland Interiors died Aug. 1.

Flooring America's Rebranded Meeting Underway   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Flooring America/Flooring Canada, a division of CCA Global Partners, has kicked-off conneXtion, its newly branded bi-annual meeting that connects its more than 500 independent floor covering retailers.

Mullican Flooring in Two 'Flipping Boston' Episodes   Full Article
Johnson City, TN, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Mullican Flooring has provided hardwood flooring for two additional episodes of “Flipping Boston,” a television series on the A&E channel.

Latricrete Acquires Resinous Flooring Firm Spartacote   Full Article
Bethany, CT, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Laticrete International said it has acquired HP Spartacote.

J+J Symposium Focuses on Senior Design Trends   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Aug. 4, 2014 -- J+J Flooring Group recently hosted the first in a series of senior living design symposiums in which experts discussed the driving trends.

Florida Tile Opens Showroom in Boise   Full Article
Boise, ID, Aug. 4, 2014 -- Florida Tile has opened its second tile and stone showroom in four months, this one in Boise on July 15.

GBCI, Bureau Veritas Form Partnership   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 4, 2014 -- The Green Building Certification Institute and Bureau Veritas SA have announced a strategic business partnership.

Berkshire Hathaway Reports Decline in Shaw's Earnings   Full Article
Omaha, NE, Aug. 4, 2014 -- Shaw Industries recorded a pre-tax earnings decline for the second quarter due to lower margins, according to parent company Berkshire Hathaway's quarterly report.

Manufacturing Expands at Faster Pace   Full Article
Tempe, AZ, Aug. 1, 2014 -- U.S. manufacturing expanded at its fastest rate since April 2011, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Personal Spending, Income Rise in June   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 1, 2014 -- Consumer spending increased modestly in June, according to Commerce Department statistics.

Construction Spending Falls on Commercial Weakness   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 1, 2014 -- Construction spending fell by 1.8% in June, mostly due to lower spending on commercial projects, according to the Commerce Department.

Consumer Sentiment Ticks Down in July   Full Article
Ann Arbor, MI, Aug. 1, 2014 -- The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final reading of consumer sentiment for July edged down to 81.8 from 82.5 in June.

Economy Adds 209K Jobs, Unemployment Edges Up   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 1, 2014 -- The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department said.

Mohawk Reports Higher Earnings, Sales in Q2   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, July 31, 2014 -- Mohawk Industries reported second quarter net earnings of $153 million and earnings per share of $2.08 on net sales of $2.05 billion.

Planned Job Cuts Grow Due To Tech Layoffs   Full Article
Chicago, IL, July 31, 2014 -- Announced job cuts by U.S. employers in July totaled 46,887, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Chicago Area Manufacturing Expands at Slower Rate   Full Article
Chicago, IL, July 31, 2014 -- The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index fell sharply in July to its lowest level in more than a year.

Unemployment Claims Rise Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, July 31, 2014 -- Initial jobless claims jumped last week after falling to a 14-year low the week before.