You've hired new salespeople and have just about finished their formal training. Now what? Remodelers Jeff Talmadge of Talmadge Construction, Aptos, Calif., and Andrew Shore of Sea Pointe Construction, Irvine, Calif., offer the following tips:
* Give it time. The trainees must become immersed in your process and systems. Be sure you answer all questions. Double-check everything the salespeople send out, but do so in an encouraging way. Couch it as a teamwork exercise, meant to insure accuracy.
* Encourage effort. Find out if your trainees have special interests. Allow them to expand on those areas. For instance, Talmadge's new sales rep is interested in environmental issues. As a result, the company incorporated green options into its offerings.
* Provide the tools. Make sure your trainees have all they need to be successful. This could mean software or hardware or a full understanding of what it takes to assemble scopes of work.
* Build confidence. Don't give them leads you know are tough. Throw them some prospects you've qualified as a good fit for your company.
* Boost product knowledge. Weekly meetings to increase product knowledge build confidence. "It's important to keep them excited about new products," Shore says.
* Share costs. Update them with job costs, so they understand that what they're putting in proposals is produced in the field. "It helps them to know, as they're selling more jobs, that the bidding system is accurate," Shore says.
* Open your door. Always make yourself, as owner, available as a resource, particularly when it comes to debriefing sales calls.
* Challenge them. Nothing motivates more than friendly competition and camaraderie. Revisit defined sales goals often.