We have our business up and running, we are covering our costs, we may be making a profit and now we want to grow that profit. The initial thought is to get a ‘buddy’ to help out and do some ‘commission only’ sales. I know that because I used to be that buddy… “Ah, Tor will ya do a bit of sales for me?” If I had a euro for every time I heard that, well I’d be rather rich now 😉 This is asked because it’s a ‘no risk’ option to the business. It allows them to get their name out there and hopefully some sales along the way. So as small businesses (and larger ones) how can we own this “Commission Only” model?
Define Your Customers and Then Your Agents
You may have done this already, but you may be a product that has multiple customer types, so what’s the best way to sell to your customers? Customer behavior will answer this. I buy ice-cream at an Ice-Cream Parlour, concert tickets online, clothes in a department store. But my friend may shop differently.
- Understand your customer’s relationship with your product
- Understand your customer’s relationship with how they purchase your product
- They understand your product and how they purchased it and they have become a repeat customer
- They are satisfied, because they have repeat purchased, they are now an advocate.
This can now give you an idea of the type of sales agent you need. How your customers have purchased in the past, is how they will purchase moving forward; telephone sales agent, door to door, stand in a showroom, a shop front and so on. From here you can define the best type of sales agent.
There is absolutely no point in a department store phone calling me to see if I’d like to buy a dress with a pink daisy pattern on it as I want to touch it, see it, try it on before I buy it. But as a business owner, if another business rang me to see would I be interested in an offer in printer ink, I would probably think about, or at least take their details for when I do.
Related: If We’re Not Selling When Making Cold Calls, Why Are We Making Them.
The Details That Can be Neglected
Decide on your strategy, targets and commission structure – This defines what they [sales agent] have to do and how you will remunerate. Make sure what you are offering [product & offers] are concise and understandable to the customer. Make sure your agents understand these. Your commission and bonuses need to be clear and fair [only you can decide these] your agents need to understand this, otherwise they will feel duped and used, not good for morale.
Source your team – I know of a company who email their database and let them know of available work. This works for them because their mailing list is full of advocates. Happy users of their product & service, they always get a good response. Avon promote their business opportunities on their brochures and get their agents to talk of the ‘Avon Opportunity’ to their customer base, ensuring thousands of women [and men] world wide, contact them to become agents on a weekly basis.
When advertising for agents be clear in the details:- duties of the job, expectations, commission and bonus offerings – We must pick our sales team carefully, they are our face to the public, they are our advocates. Avon Cosmetics have used this idea to their advantage, their products go directly to the customers at their homes, and 9 times out of 10 their sales agents are housewives or stay at home mums. Their products are priced well and their agents are fantastic advocates as they used the products and believe in their value.
Avon also train and up-skill their managers and agents at every opportunity. The commission structures allow their agents to make a reasonable wage for the time and effort they put in. And bonuses of holidays and designer jewellery are always a treat.
Related: How To Inject New Life Into Your Sales
Training is an Investment
Your team need support; they need tools to sell, be it introductory packs, demonstration samples, a demonstration of the product service in action. These are all things your prospective clients will want to see from your sales agents. It looks professional for them to be able to show and demonstrate what they are selling. They will be excited to show how your product will make their lives better.
- Train your agents in your product, make them purchase it in the way they are expecting clients to purchase
- When they know the process the client will go through they can best explain it (you would be amazed at the number of agents who don’t have this training). My husband used to work for Nissan, so he drove a Nissan Company Car. I can see it now, turning up to a Corporate Client to sell a Nissan package in a Range Rover!!!!
- Train your agent in Best Practices. At this point you may want to hire a Sales Trainer
- Good rounded Sales Training will help them build the best future for your company. This needs to be initial training when they start and developmental as they progress with you as a company.
- Reward them for giving their time for training, a lunch goes a long way! Make your team feel special
- If you are setting targets, follow up on them. Find out why targets are not being met, work together to fix this.
- If those targets are being surpassed get the agent to share their story, its great to hear how success is being achieved
- Plan a Gala event for them, take them out for dinner. Again we love to feel appreciated. This also ingrains a feeling of longevity, this is a company that we can stay with. A yearly gala gives an impression of commitment from the company and the agents. This can erase the association of high turnover in sales agents positions.
My 8 Point Checklist
- Define and Categorize Customers
- Define the Type of Sales Agent(s)
- Commission & Bonus Structure
- Source Your Team
- Train Your Team
- Reward Your Team
Follow these 8 points and you can have a successful commission only sales team who enjoy working for you and will help you grow that profitable future you are looking for. If you already have agents in place and are looking at this retrospectively, explain to your existing agents that you are implementing changes that will make their lives easier and more fruitful.
If you are an agent or employ agents I would love to hear your stories or advice 😉
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