Add 100s of Salespeople for Free

freesalespeopleEverybody sells. Even your hourly paid janitor or security guard. Whenever they’re seen or approached by a prospect or customer, they’re selling your company.

Think about those 1,000s of interactions every day. And each one has the potential to gain you new business -or- send customers fleeing to your competitors.

Here’s a story that got me thinking about a practical way for you to add 10s, 100s, or 1,000s of salespeople, for free. Read on.

Story of a Lost Sale & Brand Erosion

The following story is true.

A prospect visited a 5-star hotel/resort in Arizona. Her friend had told her about a very romantic casitas (special suite) that she must stay in if she had the opportunity.

The prospect was given a tour of the hotel and saw the particular casitas her friend mentioned. It was true, it was romantic, it was special. She wanted it for her birthday holiday 6 months later in the year.

A week later she called to reserve the casitas. The desk clerk told her the hotel’s policy did not allow reserving a specific room. The hotel assigned rooms, not the guests.

The prospective guest was surprised, this being a 5-star hotel. She asked what was the purpose of the policy.The clerk didn’t know.

The prospect then offered to pay the entire 5-day stay in advance, $2,450 upfront, right at that moment. Still the clerk referred to the policy saying that wasn’t possible.

The prospect told the clerk she’d checked out the hotel to stay in a specific casitas recommended by a friend. And that she wouldn’t be happy staying in just any room. Her heart was set on that casitas. The clerk politely reiterated the policy.

As you can guess, the prospect hung up frustrated and angry, and without a reservation. The hotel lost a $2,450 sale, and much more.

That prospective guest, now an unhappy non-customer of the hotel wasn’t silent. That’s normal. She definitely decided never go there in the future. And she began telling her friends not to go to there. The number of potentially lost sales grew.

Back at the hotel, the desk clerk correctly followed the hotel policy, he did everything right. He was polite, attentive, used all the proper phone etiquette, except he…

…didn’t understand why the policy existed, therefore couldn’t share that with the prospective guest

…wasn’t empowered by the hotel to improvise in a unique situation

…didn’t realize his brief phone interaction lost the hotel a lot of money and reputation, and if the hotel’s business worsened, eventually it would not have a job for him

…acted like an hourly employee, rather than someone who helps keep his own job

Lessons from the Story

This got me thinking about sales and facility service contractors.

All those hourly employees of contractors have many interactions with prospective customers (think about the visitors to your customers’ sites and word of mouth)

Hourly employees, whether they’re planned to deal with prospects or not, do sell your company.

Why not train them to help your company’s sales and health? Rather than hurt it like the desk clerk in the 5-star hotel.

Here are some brief ideas on how to do that.

How to Add 100s of Salespeople for Free

1) Create a Sales Referral Program

This can be relatively simple or complex. The key is for transparency, integrity, reliability and speed.

Your program should only pay out after a referred prospect is a customer and their first check is received. You only pay your referrer if you’ve been paid, a cash neutral proposition.

It must be clear to everyone involved how things work, what needs to happen for money to be paid. This means a well documented plan that’s presented to all employees (hey, it’s a big deal).

It must be fair for all, and rigidly managed to published procedures (no signs of favoritism or prejudice).

It must be reliable and fast. It works against you if the program takes 2 months to pass on a lead and sometimes gets dropped (you’re generating leads here, and motivating for more).

2) Add Brief Training  on the Sales Referral Program

Add a 10-15 minute training for all new hires during their initial orientation.

You’ll also need to roll out the program to existing staff. This can be done in a combination of ways that may include:

  • Payroll stuffers
  • Supervisors presenting during break/lunch
  • Managers presenting at all hands meetings on site
  • On internal web site
  • In employee newsletters

You may want to publish refresher notices every 6 months to keep the program on employees minds.

3)  Training Content

The following is a first, quick take on possible content. There’s obviously a lot more needed. You’ll create your own to fit the specifics of what you want accomplished.

“When someone (prospect) asks you about your company, do the following:”

Look the prospect in the eyes and SMILE

Tell the prospect you’d be happy to have someone from SALES contact them if they’d like

Ask for the prospect’s business card (if they give you one, write their name on the back, make a copy if you like, and pass the card to your supervisor)

The supervisor will send it to your company’s SALES contact (NOTE: all this must happen reliably & quickly, no later than 36 hours from prospect to COMPANY to SALES calling prospect)

Give the prospect your company’s phone #

Give the prospect the name of your company’s SALES contact (you?)

Thank them for considering your company

You may want to include training that lets employees know that almost everyone is a prospect, or can influence a prospect.

Reality Check – Don’t Expect High Volumes

These prospects have just happened to make contact with your hourly staff on site, before going to your web site.

So it’s unlikely you’ll be getting 100s of new leads this way. But even one pays for itself.

Any and All Interactions with Prospects Matter

Remember, that first contact with your company is crucial. It doesn’t matter whether it’s with your janitor or guard -or- with you at your tradeshow booth. You’re setting the tone for all future customer expectations. And prospects are already assessing if they want to do business with your company.

What have you got to lose?

Your hourly staff are already on your payroll. You’re already paying for 10s, 100s or 1,000s of salespeople. Take advantage of that, for free.

Chris Arlen

Image by Charlie Ambler
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