Published On: Tue, Sep 18th, 2018

Make Your Salespeople Hunters!

Make Your Salespeople Hunters!

The very first turnaround that I did as the President/CEO was a distributor that sold computer hardware, software, and service. There were 17 salespeople and a sales manager when I joined the company. The #1 person on the sales staff was responsible for generating 55% of the company’s sales. The other 16 salespeople did the 45% of the sales. I planned to make the balance of the sales staff more productive, and Make Your Salespeople Hunters!

That would increase the cash flow and profitability of the business. The company was very close to closing its doors and filing for bankruptcy protection.

I reviewed the current month’s sales journal, and the average customer order was under $10,000. To get this company profitable again, I needed all the salespeople to be productive. I set a goal to increase the average size of the customer purchases.

I assigned each salesperson 10 target companies to call on to become HUNTERS.

From the Philadelphia Business Journal, I found a list of the top 200 companies in the Philadelphia area. I reviewed the list and eliminated the businesses that were already on our current customer list.

There was a whiteboard in the sales conference room. I wrote on the top of the board 1 to 17 and on the left side 1 to 10. Then, I assigned 10 target companies to each of the 17 salespeople and listed them on the board.

I then created a new sales commission program. Each rep was responsible for maintaining their current list of customers. The also must make appointments to visit each of their 10 targeted companies. The incentive plan paid the salesperson a $500 bonus for the first $5,000 gross profit purchase from any targeted company. The bonus increased to $2,500 if the first order had $25,000 gross profit.

We monitored the sales staff on a weekly basis to make them accountable to call on the target companies.

The bonus payments were extra and did not affect their regular monthly commission check. The bonuses are new customer bonuses. They were paid in cash with $100 bills at the Friday sales meeting in front of the sales team. I believe rewarding the staff in front of the group; it is very motivating for those not receiving the bonus payments.

Incentive plans for new customer sales work well to generate new customers.

At the first sales meeting and everyone after, each salesperson report their successes to the sales group. At the first meeting, some salespeople were embarrassed when they explained due to no progress with their targeted list. That did not happen after the first meeting because it was crystal clear that this company was a turnaround. They either followed my directions or find a new job.
The results of this turnaround – the company went from $50,000,000 and a loss of $2,000,000 from the prior year to $110,000,000 sales and a profit of $700,000 in nine months. We sold the company after nine months. If that deal did not happen, the company was on a run rate to do $150,000,000 with a projected profit of $1,100,000.

Send the sales people to where you want them to go and incent them to be successful.

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

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If you would like to comment on this article, my email address is

Bob resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Esther.


About the Author

- Robert S. Curry is an author, seasoned business coach, and successful turnaround specialist. Earlier in his career, he served as President and CEO of three different companies, the largest with annual sales of more than $1 billion dollars - all which experienced successful turnarounds under his management. In the late 1990s, he started his turnaround consulting firm, and for the past twenty years, he has turned around more than seventy distressed companies in many different industries helping each to establish a strong management team and become profitable. He published his first book: From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround – The Matter of ABC Shutters. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Esther.

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