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Hiring a salesman

Big Will
Big Will Member Posts: 394
I have never worked somewhere that had a salesman. However with construction on the decline and my time always short what with service calls and running the jobs I am thinking of hiring a salesman. The wineries, dairies , and comercial buildings in the area are prime targets for someone with the time to find the right person to talk to. I just wanted to see what others feel about having a salesman to find new work who is not necessarily in the field.

Comments

  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,085
    edited January 2011
    Good Move

    Its a great idea. In today's climate service is what its all about and you may find that you will have a service that all your competition doesn't have. Plus it frees up a service tech or yourself to visit a homeowner on your bids. There's a trick to it, you have to find someone that is technically sound and has a true understanding of figuring out solutions to problems and how the product or service he is selling benifits the consumer.



    It's a big investement in the fact that it may take months for the results to show so don't be discouraged if you don't see them quickly.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Al Letellier_21
    Al Letellier_21 Member Posts: 402
    edited January 2011
    hiriing a salesman

    You left some important information out of your questions.....how big is your company and how much time do you devote to sales yourself?. It's always a tough call and the timing is never right, As mentioned in the other post, hiring the right guy is so critical. But if you have to train him to think like you do and he doesn't have the knowledge to get out there on his own, maybe it makes more sense to let go of some of the things you do and do the selling while others get the work done, either in the field on in the office. No one will ever look at the job like you do and selling something differently than you would do it only leads to headaches and decreased profits. Take a good hard, long look at your role before you leap. Obviously if you have employees, adding a good lead tech or supervisor would free you up. If you are a small shop, find an experienced tech or installer that knows the business as well as you do, because from the sound of it, you won't have much time to train him or her.....that's right......her !! I have met a lot of great women sales reps out there. Don't be afraid to consider that.

    Good luck.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Maybe you should try a few sales calls yourself first?

    No one knows you like you do. Will do you advertise here?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Big Will
    Big Will Member Posts: 394
    I dont advertise here

    although I have considered it many times. Its not that expensive either compared to internet advertising and the phone book. This has been on my mind for a while and the point made really reflect my thoughts. I really feel that the way I approach the customer and the job is what makes our company stand out. So finding someone that thinks like me seems really challenging. I would like to promote from within so that someone that has worked for me for a while can take on some sales or more service so I can focus more on sales would be the best route. Unfortunately the guy who I had in mind for this just gave notice. I think at this point that I will try and shed some of the service calls on to one of the guys and take on some sales responsibility my self. I just don't know how to get in front of the people that really make the decision at the facilities and buildings in the area. That was the real thing I wanted a sales man for. 
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Take up golf

    join a club like the rotary. Will get an ad up here. You check out this site what makes you think your customers won't too.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    It sounds like you do the problem solving

    And feel you have an approach that adds value. You're probably right.



    The question may be whether you feel like changing your focus from the

    technical hardware to the social wetware that dedicated sales work

    involves.



    Here are some misc. thoughts from when I went through a year of small business training and from my own experiences.



    Regardless whether you do it yourself or hire a salesman, the very first thing needed to promote and sell is a short clear description of _what_ in particular you are offering (eg. reduced service cost, higher reliability, timely access to latest technology... you name it); it has to be something the customers  value. Then you need to connect that to your company persuasively (eg. list of great references, techs have the latest tooling and education, can call in better experts... convincing things you can legitimately lay claim to). IOW you package and present your offering in a way that appeals and that you can get behind. Then you need to ask for the business.



    If what you are selling is a strong and successful technical intuition, methods and habits that differentiate you from other companies, that will likely be difficult to define and then transfer to somebody else except over an extended period because it's highly personal and unique to you. Else the salesman won't be able to sell what you feel makes you better because they won't actually understand it/you - it's not simply a matter of knowing a little heating theory and memorizing the this-is-better blurbs from the equipment literature. A good salesman needs to understand in depth what he has to offer and to recognize where/when it can be applied effectively. What I hear is you're a top notch problem solver - and you need a rep that can recognize _which_ problems are in your territory.



    A couple of ideas for a slightly different approach: You might look around and see if anybody is presently doing business in related areas with those customers you feel are good prospects; see if there is opportunity for references or even subcontracts through these people rather soliciting the customer directly.



    An easier approach is to maximize your existing customer base by actively encouraging them to recommend you to people they know that could benefit from your service. This is not a one time thing. You set up a system where you provide your cards, possibly some small token if you receive a successful referral,  semi-annual or quarterly mailings to maintain contact with customers, offering industry new snippets, personalized service reminders etc. Work to keep your relationship with your customers current and healthy and to grow some more business from this source.



    A friend of mine long ago said that you can get almost anything if you ask for it politely. I've found this to be true over and over again. You want business - be sure to always ask for what you want or at least for something that leads directly there. Get your request (not a question, a request) out there and then listen carefully to the responses because they'll tell you how to proceed.



    Best luck. Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
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