Unleash the hidden army of salespeople in your organisation

It has always been my view that every single person working within an organisation is involved in the sales process in some way or another and should be taught to recognise that fact and be helped to improve their performance in that function. That rarely happens.

In most businesses, employees fall into one of three categories:
– They have no effect on sales
– They can help drive sales in
– They can drive sales away.

Here is a tale of two ‘sales drivers’ to illustrate my point; both true stories…

Sales Driver 1 was in fact a van driver. His name was Peter. Peter was a driver for a building materials supply company. The owner, my client, had built up a very successful business over the previous sixteen years and had been seeking a sale for some time. He believed he had finally found the right buyer. They had been negotiating the deal for several months and he was confident it was going to result in a sale and he was looking forward to and indeed planning his retirement.

One afternoon, Peter the van driver, was out on his delivery rounds. He pulled out of a side turning without due care and attention and cut in front of a lady driver who had to brake hard, skidded and just glanced the back of his van causing some damage to her car and none to the van. He stopped, jumped out of his van, marched to the drivers window, hurled a string of expletives at the rather shocked lady driver, scrawled his details almost illegibly, on a dirty scrap of paper, jumped back in his van and drove off leaving the lady driver shaken and considerably stirred. That lady driver was the wife of the person who was about to acquire my client’s company. The sale did not go through and some three years later, the business has still not been sold. Peter was a Driver who drove a sale away – in this case a very large sale indeed.

Sales Driver 2, is also a van driver. His name is Robert. Robert works for a client of mine who has a large design and print company. One day Robert was out on his delivery rounds and just half a mile from his next drop, he glanced out of his offside window and noticed a new industrial park on the other side of the dual carriageway. He looked at his watch, calculated he was at least half an hour ahead of schedule and so he went down to the next roundabout, drove back up the dual carriageway, into the industrial park and parked up in a convenient spot.

He washed his hands with his wet wipes, put a comb through his hair and smoothed down his rather smart drivers uniform. He took his business cards and some brochures, locked his van and went walkabout – prospecting for new business.

I had taught Robert a very simple sales presentation. He was to go into reception and ask if he could speak with the managing director and if they were not available, his PA, and as a last resort, the person who dealt with ordering print. Experience had shown that it was in fact a lot easier for Robert to get in to see the MD without an appointment than the local rep for the area. Let’s face it, if you got a call from reception to say the van driver from the XYZ print company wanted to have a very brief word with you, your curiosity might be aroused too. You may even think he’d scratched your car and you’d be very eager to see him.

When he did get to speak with someone, his introduction went like this. Thank you so much for seeing me; I will only keep you one minute. My name is Robert Edwards from the XYZ print company. Here is my card. We provide high quality design and print services and with an extraordinary level of customer service. I don’t recall ever making a delivery here and so I assume you’re not a customer of ours. So I just wanted to drop our brochure in to you and ask if I might have our sales representative contact you direct for an appointment. Would that be OK please? After that, whatever question Robert might be asked, he would always respond with – I’m not really qualified to answer that. My responsibility is to make sure you get your deliveries on time. Our sales rep will be able to answer those questions for you. May I get him to call you please?

On that one drop in to that business park, Robert generated interest from two companies who became customers and who generated £46,000 in additional turnover for the company over the following twelve months. In fact Robert’s introductions generated the company over £200,000 in the first year this system was introduced. And Robert earned a satisfactory bonus from that extra business; certainly more than sufficient to encourage him to look out for new business whenever he had some spare time on his rounds. Robert is a Sales Driver who drives in sales.

Last week I had to call to arrange an appointment with the MD of a company who wants to bring me in to evaluate the opportunities within her organisation for getting everyone involved in the sales process and creating a sales culture. The receptionist who answered my call was extremely off hand. No, I’ll be blunt – she was rude! If I had been a potential customer I would definitely have taken my business elsewhere. I’m going to have quite a lot of work to do there! I’m sure you can think of many occasions when something similar has happened to you.

So here are just a few simple things you can do to start to unleash the hidden army of salespeople within your organisation.

You can teach your people why they are all such an important part of the sales or revenue generation process. Show them by real life examples the impact they have on the sales process.

You can teach your people how to network for business amongst their friends and their friend’s friends. Many of them will be working for companies that you would like to do business with or may even have partners who run their own businesses.

You can teach your people how to create opportunities to generate sales enquiries and referrals when speaking with customers and potential customers and even when they are out and about in their free time.

They in turn may teach you that you have a lot more talent in your organisations for generating additional revenue than maybe you thought you had.


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