Everyone in the company is a salesperson.
The service department was doing great – sales were up, and profits were healthy. The department was now up to thirty technicians, and in four months, monthly sales were up over 50%. When Darren closed the monthly financial statements and showed me the results of Chris’ service department. I had my assistant purchase a gift card for dinner at a famous steakhouse for him, his wife, and family. It was a small reward, but I wanted him to know that I knew and appreciated his successful efforts.
Chris was kicking butt in his department, but I needed to keep him challenged. He raised the bar for his team, but I knew that he could raise it higher. Our company thirty had service people out in the field in seventy-five of our customers daily. They were all doing service repairs and installs, but not selling anything. The reason they were not selling was that we did not ask them.
I called a meeting with my sales manager (Tom) and Chris. I wanted to talk about training our service technicians to start generating sales leads when they were at clients offices. Tom resisted the idea because I believe he was being greedy – he did not want to take any sales away from his sales team. Unfortunately, Tom did not get it that this plan was going to add sales for his sales team, not take them away. Chris loved the idea because he knew that his team would earn commissions on the sales. Chris was a “Team” player. He took care of his staff which always made me feel good about him. His employees loved him which meant he had minimal turnover in his department.
Everyone in the company, from the receptionist to the management team should be a salesperson for the company.
The three of us worked out a commission plan where the sales people would not get their commission cut if a service technician brought in the sales lead. Tom and Chris wrote up the commission plan for the salespeople and service technicians, then gave it to me to review. They created a “Sales Lead” form for the service technicians to complete with all the applicable information about the customer. The technicians then gave the form to Chris who logged the sales lead on a lead recap report, then passed the information onto Tom. Chris also gave a copy of the form to accounting who recorded the lead on the sales system to ensure that the service technician earned a commission if the lead turned into a sale. The service technician received a commission on the initial sale if the lead came from an existing customer. If the sales lead was for a new client, the service technician was paid a commission on every sale for the first year for that customer.
Chris developed a series of training classes held every other Saturday morning to teach the service guys how to get leads without creating any “bad will” with the company’s customers. Everyone in the service department attending the training classes were paid for their time.
I developed a policy – any employee who delivers a sales lead that results in a sale earns a commission.
The plan worked out fantastic. Our company just tripled our sales staff – fifteen sales people and thirty service technicians. One of the terms of the technicians commission plan was they must have all 4’s and 5’s on the customer’s survey. If they didn’t, the sales lead for that technician would not earn a commission on the sale. Maintaining quality of the service calls was a must!
When we announced the new commission program for the two departments (Sales and Service), there were several questions from the staff. There were several issues that we had not considered when drawing up the company policy. After the two meetings, Tom, Chris, and I met again and made the appropriate revisions to the plan addressing the issues. We also noted on the policy that “management reserved the right to change the plan at any time without notice.” I have learned over the years that some employees learn how to “cheat” so they can earn a commission and the company loses money on the sale. When that happens, we pull out the policy immediately, make the appropriate revisions to fix the problem and redistribute the new policy to everyone affected.
The plan turned to be successful for everyone, the sales team, the service department and the company.
The sales team started getting leads for sales that they would have never received without the service department. The service department was earning sales commissions that they had never received before. We had people in the service department that doubled their prior year’s salary because of the new commission policy. The average monthly sales doubled in the first 60 days of the new plan for the whole company.
Robert “Bob” Curry has turned around more than 70 businesses, both large corporations, and small businesses. He comes to your place of business or the site of your choice. The first consultation, of course, is at no charge. Bob Curry has a stellar track record of professional success and excellent formal education, including Masters Degrees in Taxation.
Bob published his first book “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround – The Matter of ABC Shutters” that is on sale at Amazon.com.
Please read all my blogs at Fortlauderdaleceo.com.
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Bob resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Esther.