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Common Questions and Answers
First thing first. Where are you going to find successful sales reps? Sometimes I feel successful people don’t know they are going to be successful until a leader shows them the way. Those that do know they are going to be successful most likely are on their set path already. What I am trying to get at is that you want to hire new sales reps that are young and impressionable. Someone that you can mold into becoming a great sales professional. Generally speaking, you are not looking for someone with sales skills but you want someone with positive professional attributes. As an example, if you had to choose from someone who has sales experience and displays excellent closing techniques or someone who is punctual and had a 100% attendance record at school, who would you choose? Well, I would choose the person who was punctual since it is a lot more difficult to teach someone to be punctual and as long as the person displayed a willingness to be teachable you can teach them sales skills and closing techniques.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. When it comes to recruiting sales professional this is true. When you are recruiting you will find that the more sales experience someone has the less likely they will be willing to learn anything new. This is not a good thing if they have bad habits. One thing that can derail an up and coming team is bad habits.
The same can go vice-versa the less experience someone has the more likely they will be teachable.
Your ideal recruits will have the following attributes
The Pareto Principle was named after economist Vilfredo Pareto who observed the 80/20 rule to apply in many aspects in life. He first noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto Principle which is also known as the 80/20 rule basically says that 80% of the consequences are derived from 20% of the causes. Pareto observed that this just didn’t apply to Italy but in other countries around the world and other things in life. In the United States, 20% of earners pay roughly 80% of the taxes.
In sales roughly speaking 80% of your sales production will come from 20% of your sales reps. Also, 20% of the products that you sell will account for 80% of your revenue produced. So if 20% of your sales reps make 80% of your production and when you want to make the most impact in your production.
If you don’t create a winning culture your team will be destined to fail. Creating a winning culture starts with a vision of the future. Something that the team buys into that they working together to achieve. It could be something like if you are a new team and you share a vision that everyone has the opportunity to grow branch out, become sales leaders and possible run their own offices.
Once you have a vision next you should make sure everyone is accountable for their activities. They take ownership for what they do. If they have low production teach your team how to take responsibility for their results and you should never accept excuses.
Another part of creating a winning culture is when you have teamwork. They say teamwork makes the dream work. They also say TEAM is an acronym for Together. Everyone. Accomplishes. More. Having everyone with a mindset of helping teammates is important in developing a new team. People that are self-centered and only care about their success is detrimental to any team. It might seem good in the short term because an individual is winning but if the person that is winning is not contributing to help the team can seem like you are showing favoritism and letting them be separate from the team. This can hurt the team and cause low morale. When you have everyone working for the teams’ success then you will have more individuals on the team that are successful. You will have people do more than they think they can because they have a team supporting them plus no one will want to fail because they do not want to disappoint the team.
The bottom line is that everyone is working for a paycheck. It is critical that you implement a compensation plan that has a balance where your team is getting paid well but still incentivizes them to keep working to acquire more sales.
Here are a few common compensation structures
Base Pay Plus Commission- This plan is where the sales rep gets a base salary that could be weekly bi-weekly or perhaps monthly. They also get a commission based on whatever metric you decide. It could be based on revenue, sales, new customers or whatever you prefer.
Base Plus Bonus Commission- Very similar to base plus commission but your commission is considered a bonus for hitting certain benchmarks. This plan is designed to keep your sales reps pushing if they are always hitting their quota.
100% Commission- This is a simple plan that removes a lot of liability from the organization. It is basically getting a commission on either the products or services you sell or it can be for each new customer you acquire.
Many sales reps prefer to work with a base plus commission plan but many companies would prefer a 100% commission. Most of my sales career I have worked for 100% commission opportunities and they work great for some people but most people would work for a base and commission. 100% commission can put a lot of stress on the sales rep but on the other hand base plus commission puts stress on the company and management in particular.
A schedule can be a touchy subject with sales reps. I even asked this question in a forum to get a clear understanding of what people really think about schedules It is important that you establish buy-in from your sales reps. It is also important that your team knows when you are doing interviews. When you are doing sales training. They should know and attend your sales meetings. They should know when the ideal time to be working on getting sales.
The schedule should be consistent. If you are not consistent then that just makes your schedule null and void. I would hold post-shift meetings every day to keep my sales reps accountable to work a full schedule.
Along with your schedule, you should have scheduled new hire training and training for experienced sales reps. I would even recommend taking sales training from reputable sales training programs created by people like Brian Tracy or Grant Cardone. They also provide a lot of free content in case you do not have a budget for paid training.
In sales they say to you should always practice your ABC’s or in other words, Always Be Closing but I think in sales you should Always Be Learning. I think training is one of the most important steps you need when building a successful sales team.
I think it is important to eliminate any obstacles to make the entire sales process as smooth as possible. Once the sales rep has closed a customer the process of getting the product or service to the customer without any hassle is the key for everyone to be happy. Imagine if you kept acquiring new customers but for some reason or another the customers kept falling off and the sale didn’t officially close. There are also many tools that can help streamline the business. A common tool that almost every sales organization uses it a CRM. There are field reps tracking and mapping tools that work great to keep track of customers. Whatever it is to make the process as smooth as possible everyone will be happy. Sales reps end up closing more sales which leads to bigger checks. You superiors will be happy that your team is closing more sales in decent time frames.
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