I love sales! It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillful you execute the duty. It has a feel of independence, ownership, and entrepreneurship and it can be extremely rewarding. Professional selling is regarded as one of the top-earning careers on the face of the planet. Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value!
The term commission is familiar to ranks of sales professionals. However, I want you to think about your income a little differently. Rather than earning a commission when a sale is made, think about your pay as an hourly wage. What makes your hourly pay different than the familiar, traditional hourly jobs is that your hourly rate will change based on the activity you happen to be doing at the moment. For example, in my previous career, for every ten presentations I made, I would close and get paid commission on three orders. On the three projects I won, my hourly rate was very good, but on the projects I lost, my hourly rate was $0/hour. I thought this is just how it is in sales so I did little to change or improve my sales performance until I was taught to think of my compensation as hourly. 60 hours per week spent on sending proposals to my customers, missing out on my kids’ activities and time with family, so I could get paid for only 30% of my time! That made me angry. This is madness yet a vast majority of salespeople would give you a similar story.
I think there is a better way to sell that will pay more per hour which means one can earn their desired wage in less time. I just need to figure out how to get rid of the seven prospects that don’t buy quickly and only spend time on the three that will buy. If I can figure this out, then I will still close the three orders so my pay is the same as before but I don’t spend much time on the seven that don’t buy. Can you see how my hourly wage more than doubles?
Since your time is just as valuable as your prospects time, only the prospects that plan to buy from you get any of it. In order to do this, you must sort all prospects that talk to you as buyers or “window shoppers.” The first step in doing this is to recognize that there are four possible outcomes of a sales call: YES, NO, MAYBE, & CLEAR FUTURE. Let’s examine each one.
YES – Congratulations! You got an order and you get paid!
NO – Shoot! Shake it off. There are plenty of other customers out there that will buy. Did you know that “NO’s” are good and they actually make you money?! If you get a “NO,” that opportunity no longer consumes time which means you can divert time to those who buy and your hourly rate actually increases!
MAYBE – Stay away from the dreaded “I need to think it over.” These outcomes represent the “window shoppers” and will cost you money. These prospects waste your time and consume your resources. Therefore, when a prospect stalls, push them to “NO.” At least a “NO” will make you money.
CLEAR FUTURE – Sometimes your product or service cannot be sold in one call. You need multiple meetings to formulate the solution and make the sale. This positive outcome is for those prospects that see value in your solution, are willing to move the process forward and want the sales conversation to continue on a specific day at a specific time.
So, the rule is “No More Maybe’s!” If you can make this rule part of your selling system, you will increase your hourly rate and significantly grow your sales. You effectively sort the buyers from the “window shoppers” and spend more time on those who buy. Now, I close three out of four presentations I make, my income has increased triple-digit and I spend less time getting it all done.
So, what is your hourly wage?