Before you know it, finals week will be here and then you’ll be off to knock doors for the summer. Question is…for which company?
Nowadays there is an overabundance of companies hiring summer sales reps…which makes your decision on choosing which one to work for all the more difficult.
Having been in the door-to-door sales industry for the last 17 years, I’ve identified 6 red flags that you should be aware of when making this choice.
Red-Flag #1 How many sales reps are being hired per office?
Last year I met with 2 prospective salesmen who were going to sign with a company that was hiring 30 sales reps to knock in one market. In my opinion, that particular market would be maxed out with 15 sales reps. Thus, having a team of 30 would create 2 huge problems. First, if all 30 reps worked the entire summer, they would be knocking on the same doors 3 or 4 times…and that’s miserable! Second, which is the more likely scenario, companies overstaffing a market have built in attrition into their business model. Meaning, they plan on a certain percentage of sales reps quitting. Kind of like the Hunger Games of door-to-door sales reps. If this is the case, you might not be as important to them as they are making you believe you are.
Red-Flag #2 More sales reps = inferior training.
Companies that recruit mass quantities don’t have the infrastructure to guarantee quality training to each of its sales reps. Because I do it myself, I’m a big fan of company owners taking responsibility to train their sales reps. If the owner of a company is invested in training, then this is proof that the owner is invested in your success. The company you choose should provide you with excellent trainers and training. Don’t settle for a watered-down version of training, your success as a sales rep should matter to your company as much as it matters to you.
Red-Flag #3 Who’s recruiting you?
Be leery of companies that use recruiters who have no ties to you once the summer begins. If the person hiring you isn’t your manager or the owner, they may only be interested in getting your signature and not your overall experience or success. Recruiters are notorious for painting the perfect picture of what your summer will consist of…fun, sun and money. However, their omission of explaining the challenges and struggles of the job will not be appreciated once you realize these difficulties on your own. Recruiters get paid to recruit, managers and owners get paid when you perform.
Red-Flag #4 Was the hiring process too easy?
If a summer sales company hires you without a formal interview then they are probably just looking for warm bodies to fill positions. This mindset is common for companies that hire large sales teams and plan on a certain percentage of sales reps quitting. Companies that are truly invested in your success will carefully and thoroughly interview you before offering you a job.
Red-Flag #5 Is the compensation plan transparent?
Before making your final decision on who you will work for, you must have a complete understanding how the commission structure works and specifically how chargebacks work. Chargebacks are commissions charged backed to sales reps if their customers cancel their agreement or are delinquent in paying for their service. Some companies’ chargeback a sales rep’s entire commissions, others only chargeback a portion of commissions and some don’t chargeback any commissions.
Companies use their own discretion to determine if a customer is unlikely to pay for services depending on how many days late they are on their payment. One company may chargeback accounts that are 30 days delinquent, while another company may chargeback accounts that are 90 days or more delinquent. These numbers are subjective for each company so it is vital that you know exactly how chargebacks are determined.
You should also pay close attention to the average contract value listed on the compensation plan. This number is often inflated and shows unlikely earnings based on selling certain number of accounts. Be sure to know a realistic average contract value.
Red-Flag #6 The sexy pick.
Some companies use advertising and swag to reel in potential recruits. You should realize that the dollars spent on these types of things is taking away from the commissions you will be earning. In fact, it’s the sexy pick that often has the highest chargeback rates because they are trying to cost save from overspending their marketing budget.
Bottom line, your choice of who to work for this summer is an important one…so don’t make it without doing your homework. Talk with former sales reps, find out how long the company has been in business and look for online reviews. Trust me, the offer they tell you will only be good for a few days, will still be there once you’re ready to commit.
Remember the scene near the end of the movie Karate Kid when Daniel Larusso wins his first match at the All Valley Karate Championship? His girlfriend yells, “Daniel, you’re the best!” and then Joe Esposito’s, “You’re The Best” anthem begins as a montage is shown of Daniel-son defeating several competitors from the Cobra Kai dojo.
You can watch the scene here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBktYJsJq-E
Oftentimes we view our competitors as the villainous Cobra Kai, willing to do whatever it takes to defeat us and run our company into the ground. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, competition can actually be healthy and improve the overall quality of our goods and services.
Last week at the D2D Millionaire Conference we discussed why establishing positive relationships with competitors would likely yield a better outcome than the contrary. One of our attendees couldn’t quite wrap his brain around this idea. His philosophy was to do whatever it took to crush his competitors yet we were preaching the benefits of taking them out to lunch.
Competitor tactics vary. Some take the low road and drop their prices to differentiate themselves from their competition. This is a simple measure, lacking in creativity and also diminishing profit margins for the industry. Wise business owners choosing to reduce price will oftentimes decrease the quality of their good and/or services to maintain the integrity of the profit margin, thus giving consumers the ultimate choice of price versus quality. Either way, keeping the integrity of the profit margin helps all competing companies.
Even in the smallest of markets, there is room for healthy competition. At the end of the day, competition should motivate us to make improvements, and in the long run, these improvements benefit our industries and most importantly our customers. Although the occasional low blow to our competitor may bring short-term pleasures, the lasting results of this action could undermine the very industries we’ve worked so hard to prove valuable.
A constructive relationship with our competitors has the potential to enrich our industries. Daniel Larusso became the All Valley Karate Champion because of the Cobra Kai and if we view our competitors as a means to assist us in improving, they can ultimately help us to become, ‘The Best Around.’
Lying, sleazy, pushy and intimidating were adjectives used to describe home security door-to-door salesmen in a six-month ABC News investigation that aired last month and can be seen here:
A few weeks ago I interviewed and hired a potential sales rep who had been exploring several options for a summer sales job. As we discussed his options, he told me about a recruiting meeting he attended from a well-known home security company. The meeting was led by an incredibly tan and muscular fellow that sounded like, “Bane from Batman” according to my interviewee. The recruiter came across extremely “arrogant” and “cocky.” My interviewee also said most of the corporate representation from the company was cut out of the same cloth #ProvoAllStar. My newly hired sales rep couldn’t imagine working for a company that portrayed such elitism.
Quite frankly, over the past 3 years, I’ve been hiring an increasing number of sales reps that are migrating from the home security industry based on this sense of narcissism and because of shady sales techniques being taught, implemented and accepted as necessary components of selling alarms.
In fact, one of my top sales reps who sold home security two years ago told me how much better he felt selling for my company. He said, “I slept better at night knowing that I didn’t have to stretch the truth or scare people into buying a home security system like the rest of my team was doing. You taught me the right way to sell door to door.”
As noted in my book, Door-to-Door Millionaire, I’ve sold home security systems and there are several reasons why my stint was short-lived. Some of these reasons are identified in the ABC News investigation.
My primary reason for writing Door-to-Door Millionaire is to expose effective door-to-door sales tactics that are devoid of fear, intimidation and half-truths. In Chapter 11, I reveal why some sales reps feel as though they need to use unethical sales tactics to be successful. The rest of the book teaches why these practices aren’t necessary.
So all of this begs the question:
Must home security companies teach and consent to unethical sales practices to be successful?
It might be helpful to outline a couple common knocking strategies employed by home security sales teams which could lead to unscrupulous sales practices:
The number of negative reviews aimed at door-to-door sales reps of home security companies leads me to believe that because these sales tactics are working, despite being unethical, the love of the almighty dollar somehow justifies the continued teaching and accepting of these techniques. However, this does not have to be the case. Success and honesty can coexist, but oftentimes success makes it easier to dismiss and ignore unethical behavior.
Although I’ve focused on home security sales reps, (because of the ABC news report) all industries employing door-to-door sales reps could be guilty of teaching and approving unethical sales practices.
Business owners, recruiters, trainers and sales reps…it falls on your shoulders. The sales practices you teach and use when interacting with potential clients is up to you. If you happen to be caught on camera at a sales call, you’d better hope you aren’t choosing the path of deceit.
Need to freshen up your door-to-door sales program? Join me and my team for our 2-day conference guaranteed to jump-start your current d2d strategy.
We’ll chat about the weather, politics…oh, and these things too:
– Do’s and Don’t of Recruiting
– Effective Interviewing Techniques
– Proper Preseason Training
– Creating a Motivating Incentive Plan
– Effectively Training your Team On-the-Doors
And a bunch of other neat-o things!
As a team we’ve had over 40 years of experience hiring, training and managing door-to-door sales teams…you won’t be sorry you attended!
Register before Jan. 1, 2015 and receive a 50% discount. Find out more at www.d2dmillionaire.com