Superstar Salesperson – “Nancy”
In my second book, “The Turnaround,” I told a true story about a wholesale computer distributor that I turned around from a company that was doing $48 million in sales and losing almost $1 million to sales of $130 million and made a profit of more than 4 million dollars.
When I first joined the company, the sales team consisted of 17 women. One of the women on the sales team did 55% of the total sales, and the other 16 salespeople did the other 45%. It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if I was able to get all the salespeople performing like the superstar doing 55% of the sales, this turnaround was going to be fairly simple and quick to be successful.
Initially, I spent a lot of time observing the superstar trying to figure out why she was so effective as a salesperson. Her name was Nancy. It took me less than a week to thoroughly understand the “tools” that Nancy used to generate her success.
- Nancy was self-motivated – she did not need a sales manager supervising her time or actions.
- Nancy dressed professional and thought out her each of our outfits based upon the person that she was visiting that day to sell computers or service. When she was visiting a female customer, she dressed conservatively. When she had a sales call with a man, she dressed with a little more sex appeal.
- Nancy was never one minute late for a sales appointment and never over-stayed the sales call.
- She was always well-prepared for each sales call. She researched everything about the customer’s company that she could find. She also did a complete background check about the person that she was going to meet on the sales call. When she finally got to sales meeting with the person who was the decision-maker, she was extremely prepared to close the deal.
- Nancy only targeted companies with at least one-thousand employees. When she won a sales order from one of our customers, it was almost always for at least $100,000 or more. Nancy did not waste her valuable time on the smaller businesses because she valued her time and used it extremely efficient.
- After each sales call, Nancy sent a “thank you note” to the customer who she just visited thanking them for their time and confirming their next meeting time and date.
- Nancy was always “friends” with her customers and paid attention to the small things that made a difference. She cared about each of her customers and they knew it. No one could ever fake Nancy’s drive or passion.
- Nancy never lost customer orders due to a competitor dropping their prices to attempt to win the customer’s sales orders. Nancy’s customers knew that other vendors do not deliver the customers service like Nancy. Once Nancy won a customer, she never lost the customer or their orders.
- She also was friends with the people back at the office who were handling her customer’s orders. The people in the office loved and respected Nancy.
- Nancy kept extensive notes about each of her customers, so she never forgot an important fact about any customer that she sold computers and computer service.
- Nancy took several of the sales support employees to lunch once every two weeks as a “thank you” to those “team members.”
- Nancy had the birthdays, anniversary dates for all her customers and never missed sending out a card during an important day for one of her customers.
- Nancy religiously scheduled her time to spend 30 – 35 hours per week on taking care of her existing customers and 10 – 15 hours on searching for new business.
- When Nancy had a “big” month’s commission check, she rewarded her team with either gifts or a bonus check. Nancy was very good to her people.
- Nancy’s customer orders were never delivered late to her customers because she would follow-up on each of her sales orders to ensure that the computers or service was always delivered on the promise date.
- Our sales commission program was a “tier program.” The more gross profit the salesperson had each month, the higher the commission percentage that was paid to the salesperson. Nancy was paid the highest sales commission percentage every month without exception. Nancy always calculated exactly what her gross commission check was would be each month, so the payroll department did not make a mistake with her commission compensation.
- When Nancy was at work, she was always working. With her, there was not “play” time for either Nancy or her staff.
Nancy’s success was huge. She made over 700,000 dollars during the first year when I joined the company. I made a comprehensive list of Nancy’s sales habits. I used the list to do sales training with the balance of the sales team. Our sales meetings were every Friday from 3 to 5 PM. When I first joined the company, many of the sales team scheduled fake sales meeting on Friday afternoon, so I scheduled the sales meetings, only the meetings were not fake!
Growing the sales from 48 to 130 million dollars only took us nine months. If we would have not sold the company that September, the sales would have been close to 180 million dollars. Needless to say, Nancy’s sales skills made this business a highly successful turnaround.
My name is Robert Curry, and I am an Author, CEO Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Turnaround Specialist. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with more than 70 companies taking their businesses from Loses to Profits.
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I have recently published two books about turnarounds: “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround” and “The Turnaround.” Both books are true stories about turnarounds of real companies that I have turned around during my career. In both books, I have shared all my Profit Improvement Recommendations (“PIR’s”). PIR’s helped to grow sales, reduce expenses, improve cash flow, and most importantly, strengthen the management teams.
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