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By: Serene Chin

First and foremost you must have a lot of patience and be very persistent.
Isn’t it amazing these are the same qualities you need to be a successful
sales professional? The reason you need these qualities is that there are
three ways to find good people. You can steal them from another company,
which means they can be stolen from you! Secondly, you can buy them, which
ultimately means someone can buy them from you, or you can develop them
yourself! When you use this method you receive intense loyalty which cannot
be bought! I prefer to hire and develop my own.

Now that we have decided the method we have to pull it off. Here’s where the
patience and persistence pays off. I initially hire a group of people, more than necessary for the task at hand,
then I…that’s right…I show them how to sell the product! Remember what I
have said before, never ask someone to do something you can’t do, won’t do,
or haven’t done! Once I have shown them how to do the job I then work with
all of them and give them assignments to take home and work on themselves.

This separates the ones that have commitment from the ones that just want a
paycheck. As a few days go on I begin watching the cream rise to the top and
and I begin weeding the garden. I always end up with at least one person out
of the group that has a burning desire to succeed. That is where the first
building block of a sales team is cautiously put into place. With a
tremendous amount of positive reinforcement and enthusiasm you can actually
see the contagiousness of the excitement spread through to others.

Now before you get all excited and think you have built a sales team there
are many hurdles to overcome and many minefields to avoid that will wipe out
all of your efforts before you ever get off the ground. The nice thing about
building a sales crew is it is like priming a pump. At the beginning you keep
pumping and pumping until the water starts coming out of the well. Everyone
knows that if you stop pumping too soon the water stops and you must start
all over again. On the other hand, once you have the water flowing all you
have to do is once in a while go over and prime the pump. In other words just
monitor and tweak your sales team. That is the ultimate goal and by part
three you to will know how to do this.

So, you have one or two persons that have just started selling and you are in
the weeding out process. Don’t get excited yet because you haven’t built
anything yet!

Part two is critical because you now potentially have a nucleus to build
around. What you do next is going to determine whether you have to start all
over again. One of the most important things you have to be aware of is that
this is not the time to let up! Quite the contrary, this is the time to put
forth more effort in training your people that are selling and quickly trying
to get them to be self efficient as soon as possible. It is also imperative
that you begin showing them the big picture. Once a person has accomplished,
I don’t mean “become accomplished”, in making a couple of sales you must show
them the bigger picture of where their success is going to take them.
Remember, in my earlier articles I talked about reading your people and
finding out what motivates them. Well, this is one of the times that your
read really counts. For example, I might focus with one person on the
opportunity for management while another person is strictly motivated by
money. While all this is going on I am continuing to sell and show the older
and newer people how it is done. All the while I am constantly selling the
job and the company and their opportunity. The secret of success to all of
this is that you must deliver!

You not only have to teach, you have to have enough knowledge to have
something to teach! It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but you can
really eliminate a lot of duplication by doing it right the first time. I
also involve the people who can sell in teaching their newer counterparts.
Not only does it save me some time but it also gives me insight into which
person has leadership skills or unique teaching skills. These characteristics
will play a very important role as we continue to create A sales team.

Now the hardest part is to successfully layer your organization and polish
everyone. The tendencies of most managers is that as soon as someone can sell
they think their work is done and they can take time off or focus on other
tasks. Wrong! This is a critical time to show your producers how much you
care and how much farther they have to go.

Of course, while doing this you have to be doing the same beginning process
with the newer people until they are producing. The objective is to have the
early producers become your pace setters and then from their enthusiasm the
newer people begin to shine. The real surprise is that you never know with
any certainty who is really going to become your top performers out of the
group. There are a lot of disappointments along the way. One of the original
producers may falter or lose interest for a variety of reasons and all of a
sudden one of the newer producers takes the lead and refuses to give it up.
Sometimes I have gone through 3 or 4 groups of people before I find the first
consistent producer. That is why I mentioned at the beginning that it takes
extreme patience and persistence. It is very easy to get discouraged when one
or two groups don’t work out.

Remember the “Stone Cutter” story. The people that passed by when a single
blow broke the stone missed the 100 strokes before it. Pretty prophetic. Once
you think you have a viable crew you can finally take a deep breath and
slowly, and I mean slowly, fade into the woodwork. What I mean by this is
maybe you can appoint a tentative crew leader and let them know that you have
an errand to do and you will be back shortly. This is the beginning of your
true evaluation of your work. If you come back and everything is working
smoothly, you can step out for a little longer period of time. “Special Tip” -
never tell the staff when you are expected to return. Sometimes I never
really leave. I watch the operation from a distance and do my evaluation.
Someone once said, “It is not what you do when I am around that counts, but
what you do when I am not around that is most important!”

Once you have your successful crew built and it can function in your absence,
it is imperative that you are still around at various times so they
understand that you are still very much involved in the operation. It is also
important that you make those times when you are around count! Do not miss
the opportunity to show advanced techniques to your peak performers in both
sales and management, while still selling everyone on the big picture of
advancement and opportunity. In other words continue priming the pump.

This article brought to you by the leading wholesale products magazine, Retailers Forum.