A Strange Sales Goal
You hire a new sales rep. You train her on the basics of print. You hand her a set of business cards and set her off into the wild.
Before she crosses the threshold, she turns and asks, “What is my goal for the day?” Your response causes her to look at you strangely (and rightly so):
“Go get me 10 no’s.”
What kind of a boss sets such a negative goal for a new sales rep’s first day?
The kind who knows what he is doing!
Do you remember your first day in sales? Maybe not. How about your first days of sales? Weeks? None of us came rocketing out of the gates. But all of us had high expectations to live up to.
When would we get our first sale? How about our first appointment? Every time I coach or train a new salesperson, those terrifying feelings of being fresh out of college and working the Worcester, Massachusetts, sales territory come screaming back to me (If I posted a picture of a 21-year-old Bill Farquharson in a suit borrowed from his brother, you would never let me live it down).
How I wish someone had told me to go and get 10 no’s.
Imagine that new rep on the phone. Our expectations as managers are that she is likely to get rejected. She will probably get voicemail. If she gets through to someone, lucky as that is, it would come as no surprise if she were hung up on.
All we really want at this stage is for her to start to feel comfortable in the position. Our expectations are not that she is going to come away with an order but rather the attitude of, “Hey, I can do this job!”
Why, then, do we set the standard of “Did you sell anything today?” We already know the answer.
Tell your next new salesperson to go and get 10 no’s. To be clear, I am suggesting that he or she literally hears the word, “no,” 10 times, when asking for appointments. Also, voicemails are not technically a “no,” so tell your rep that it takes three voicemail messages to equal one “no.” I think that is a fair exchange rate.
At the end of the first day, congratulate your sales rep and celebrate her victory. She accomplished the goal! Have some fun with it. Give her a trophy. She will go home with a smile on her face and will return the next day with a positive attitude.
What a great way to start!
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