Win-Win-Win Deals

There are three parties to our deal, the reps, you, and me. In that order. Let’s look at all three.

1. The Rep
Let’s start by looking at it from the rep’s point of view. If the rep does not like what is offered, then it’s a moot point what we think.

A fraction of the U.S. work force is in sales. A fraction of those will consider a commission-only position with a further fraction finding a work-from-home arrangement with no expense reimbursement acceptable. Of this population, a small fraction is available and looking for positions. A small fraction again are worthy of being called a closers. This is our target audience. There is a lot of competition to reach these reps.

I know how to reach them and how to close them. It starts with my being extremely selective on what projects I take on. They will be selective too. After all, they are betting their ass (livelihoods, family, house etc.) on the gig. It’s a matter of credibility. Closers only respect closers. I’m a closer.

Beyond this is the set-up. What can we offer in terms of pay, leads, training, support, career advancement, and so on.

I offer unsurpassed sales training. This comes after I create a psychologically engineered sales process. What’s the point of having a bunch of reps say the wrong things over-and-over with a “positive attitude?” Once we dial in the process we can mass-produce closers.

I typically schedule sales training sessions and optional role-play sessions via conference calls once a week. I create an intranet site that has training manuals, sales policy guides, and so on (password required). I also coordinate any required technical and product training that you provide.

I create an environment that maximizes personal freedom while demanding accountability. I treat reps like adults and demand they act that way. I offer advancement not just with a project but also across projects. Reps need to qualify each week to stay on the team. I have high standards.

Reps that can meet these standards are in demand and can be choosey. They want to see a significant upside for their risk and efforts. First, the product must be salable, and in sufficient quantity, price, and commission rate to see $5K to $10K at the low end and $10K to $20K and more at the high end.

That’s all it takes. Simple, eh?

2. Your Company
I know you want sales. You may be in a hurry. But first you need to protect your company’s reputation (brand). I know this and always make it a priority. I will not mass hire just to show head count on a team. I recruit fast (second) but carefully (first). I want the same quality that you would look for to fill a W2 salary position working in your office. I primarily recruit college graduates with successful sales experience. They will be expected to be professional and have superior communications skills. I demand work history documentation, references, and ID copies.

Now consider not just sales volume, but the window of opportunity you have to capture the market. If it looks like you are successful then the interlopers will show up, copy you, try to undercut your prices, steal “your” customers and take the market for themselves. Technology can be copied easier than a winning sales force can be created. Your best barrier to entry is to own the relationships that are the market. Get there fast, first, and set the bar high so that those looking at your market decide (wisely) to make a living doing something else.

Lastly but very important is to ensure your liability is zero for the sales team. I typically set it up so the reps sign IC Agreements with me and we have a separate agreement. Both agreements indemnify you completely as far as the sales team goes. No wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuits, having states or federal tax authorities going after you saying your IC’s were W2s and demanding back taxes and penalties.

Oh yeah, sales… you want lots of sales. OK. That’s what I do.

3. Sales Team 1
My services are in high demand. There are hundreds of thousands of prospective clients. I get many inquiries every week. I can only build and run so many teams. Obviously I have to screen proposals stringently and can only consider those that look the most promising.

The company has to be viable and a player. Products must be in demand and salable. They must enjoy unique advantages making it easy to differentiate from any competitive products. They must have high margins so the game has an upside worth pursuing. The company must be able to deliver on its promises to its customers, the reps, and to me.

For outbound teams I need sufficient gross margin (percent of sales revenue) to pay the reps enough for them to come on board and stay on board. I have to compete against all other sales positions they may be offered. I can do this if I have enough margin to pay a high commission and performance bonus. The exact rate depends on the probable sales volume considering product, competition, pricing, training, and other factors. Not some fantasy spreadsheet projection.

Trying to scrimp on my margin is counterproductive. First, I won’t be able to entice and retain reps (closers). Second, ask yourself if you’d rather have X% of a small number or a little less than X% on a huge number. If sales are high enough and prices go up because the team is good enough to properly communicate value, then your margin with me will be more than without me. Life is too short. Higher margins mean faster ramps which mean huge money that you would not see if you grew slowly (if at all). You can exit earlier with more money and start another company in the time it takes to diddle around counting beans. Third, I won’t take the deal.

I pay the reps, sales director overrides, recruiting costs, and administrative overhead out of the margin. What’s left is my profit. If that number does not make me excited I will pass.

I always operate as the sole sales team. I do not get involved in messy situations with multiple teams. I will act as your VP Sales… you wouldn’t have two VPs would you?

I operate nationally and internationally, never regionally, unless it’s the first step to national.