Sales people

Paul Shteyn

Moderator
Staff member
#1
Hi Guys,
wanting your input, where do you hire a good sales person? sources?

how do you organize there base pay plus commission structure?

performance? how long do you give them to product results?

what is a realist lead conversion can you except or how many leads solid leads should they be bringing in?
 

Jim L

Active Member
#2
Paul,
Every situation is different and thus different structures and results are required. I don't think you can take a sales person, give them expectations, and success will follow. Yes, structure and expectations help identify and quantify the end result and let everyone know where you stand but there is too much that can change over time. It requires regular meetings and basically teaming up with them to identify leads, turn them into prospects and clinch them.

I find that the salesperson does a better job in selling my customers freight to me then they do selling my services to the customer. It takes a long time to find the right person and then if you compensate them based on results you may lose them to a dollar figure the next guy promises. Salespersons are like drivers; they will move in a heartbeat for that extra percent or extra $1000 in base pay and not look back.
 

theman

Well-Known Member
#3
Paul, it's a loaded question for sure.

It really depends on what kind of strategy you have as far as sales go. The more collaborative and long term you want the relationship to be, the longer you can expect the sales cycle to be. If you just want to do spot freight where the point of entry is low-level people, it's quicker but the sales by customer is generally lower.

If you pay people salary plus commission, the big advantage is that you can sell 'on message', meaning realistically you can have targets on who, what, where you want to sell. If you're hiring agents strictly on commission, they eat what they hunt and will just grab anything and anything.

I know from personal experience that the first year that I am anywhere is always a struggle because even though I may know people, those people don't know who I represent and will make me pay my dues before getting anything substantial from them. How fast things turn on exactly is partly luck. A lot of companies expect to see results in 90 days but it's actually not realistic. You need 12 months to get a good picture but obviously if you can see someone is not prospecting and doesn't have much on the schedule it's a bad sign.
 

Jim L

Active Member
#4
You need 12 months to get a good picture but obviously if you can see someone is not prospecting and doesn't have much on the schedule it's a bad sign.
It definitely requires a lot of management. Before you know it, you're hiring a sales manager to ensure the salesperson(s) are converting.
 

theman

Well-Known Member
#5
I disagree with Jim L only in that salespeople don't leave in a heartbeat. They'll leave for one of a couple of reasons, the first being that they aren't supported properly in the organization or there has been some sort of change in business or compensation plan that makes the environment unviable. The cost to a salesperson in terms of time and effort is too much to blow away like that. I've never taken making a move unlikely, whether in the sales end or previously the operations end of the spectrum.

The rest of it is pretty much on point though.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#6
If at all possible do your own sales as the owner of the business. Sales people are very expensive, and once they reach their comfort zone they cease to be productive. Even a busy business owner can make 30 cold calls a day.. that works out to over seven THOUSAND calls a year. Do that year in and year out and you will have more business than you can possibly handle. It's the first thing I do every day.. I make my 30 calls. At best I've got a lead or two to follow up by midmorning. and at worst I've been humbled by 30 people who have no use for my services but have reminded me to appreciate my current accounts.
 
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Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#8
Good point Shawn. We made the Profit 500 a couple of times and its really just me working out of a basement office..The problem with most sales teams is that they don't make the prospecting calls on a regular basis. They'll go gunghoe for a while and then nothing. 30 calls a day done religiously by one person will outperform most sales teams over time. Now if you've got a bunch of salespeople who make those 30 calls a day each then you've really got something.. But generally that doesn't happen. They get to where they're comfortable and then they coast on repeat business. Not all of them of course... but a lot them.
 

ShawnR

Site Supporter
#9
not sure if that first part was a joke or not, but yeah we have 6 sales people & 2 sales interns, all hitting the phones & doing customer service, we have to spend a lot of time managing, answering questions, & overseeing people in general, so as a manager it's hard to actually make calls

@Paul Shteyn I'll say it again, hire someone green, put them on dispatch for a week or two to learn the lingo, and then train them to be who you want them to be. buying a sales person has very seldom worked out for us, they just seem to have bad habits. same as a truck dispatcher going to work for a broker in dispatch, from one office to another it's hard to get them to change, plus their salary demands don't make sense when you have to start all over with them.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#10
Not having staff can also be very liberating.. no staff to oversee.. no staff meetings.. no energy invested in getting staff to do what you want them to do etc.. The power of one person working alone by leveraging technology to the max is very much under rated. I guess one day I'll hire someone.. but people are so expensive.
 

ShawnR

Site Supporter
#11
I'm never sure if you're kidding, but growth is a lot of fun, slow/steady growth. slowly going from a team of 14-15 to 20-22 with success and good performance.
this is basically how we've grown in the last 5 years or so, and this again, is by hiring & training our people from scratch. all bad habit people don't last, the bad habits always get in the way of their success inside our organization, not everyone can change to fit our model.
 

Rob

Site Supporter
#12
not sure if that first part was a joke or not, but yeah we have 6 sales people & 2 sales interns, all hitting the phones & doing customer service, we have to spend a lot of time managing, answering questions, & overseeing people in general, so as a manager it's hard to actually make calls

@Paul Shteyn I'll say it again, hire someone green, put them on dispatch for a week or two to learn the lingo, and then train them to be who you want them to be. buying a sales person has very seldom worked out for us, they just seem to have bad habits. same as a truck dispatcher going to work for a broker in dispatch, from one office to another it's hard to get them to change, plus their salary demands don't make sense when you have to start all over with them.

I'm curios what is the difference in dispatching. I buy and sell freight all day everyday.What difference would there be in a brokers office. When selling a broker wants to make a margin. The shitty one's want it all about them and to hell with the trucker tell him just enough that he takes the load and let him learn the hard way that the broker was full of shit.

The good ones tell you all of the story and pay a fair rate have no problem paying justified waiting time and don't take 150 calls on one load looking for the guy that will drops his pants just to move the load.

FB,

I like the 30 cold calls a day deal. We have used that way of doing it and we as a small carrier can boast to over 65% of the freight we haul is ours direct. Another 10% or so is broker customer freight we do every week and the rest is general freight from our small list of brokers we deal with regularly with the occasional one off load thrown in. If a broker has a bad reputation or is a known double broker they make the DNU and we will not deal with them.

Too many scoundrels, finks and Mahoneys in this business. Direct freight is where it is at, getting it is hard, servicing the hell out of it keeps it so you don't have top live and die buy the link because I have did that also and it sucks.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#14
I'm not kidding, and congrats to you and your family and what you've achieved over the years. I'm not down on hiring people.. just saying hire as a very last resort. Over the years I've always told myself next year I'm really going to have to hire some help with this. And then a technological advance comes along.. I'm more efficient and the hire is pushed off. At some point though I'm going to have to stop growing or hire someone.. At that point I will have to get a "real" office and safety procedures, a policy on sexual harassment etc.. wow looking forward to all that. Coming out of the basement and into the light of professionalism ain't easy!
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#15
Freight Broker don't do it managing employees is the hardest part of the job and the bigger you get the more disappointed you get and they are expensive.
I know.. I used to manage employees for a carrier.. a lot of fun to work there according to the corporate website.. but in reality a toxic environment full of misfits, assholes, posers, incompetents, and oh yeah, the occasional solid worker.. OMG I'm starting to sound like Donald Trump.
 

ShawnR

Site Supporter
#16
@Rob nothing to do with money or how they book trucks, has to do with overall person, they seem to want to talk to drivers or just have habits that don't work in a brokerage atmosphere. I'm not knocking on anyone just saying that hiring people with experience in dispatch or in sales is not always the way to go. training them from scratch and getting them to go along with your model is usually easier since they don't know any other way.
 

theman

Well-Known Member
#17
Doing it all yourself is fine as long as that is what your scale is and it's sustainable. But if you want to do anything substantial, you can't do it alone whether it's sales or operations.

The trick to hiring staff is the same as finding a job. Everybody has to be like minded and have a strategy. This is why so many companies are fans of hiring the people straight out of school and grooming them. They're cheaper at first, but once they perform they have to be paid too or they'll move on to greener pastures. Hiring experienced people whether it's salespeople or dispatchers just brings in the people a few steps ahead ... salespeople have good established buying contacts, dispatchers have good carrier relationships. If your environment is a fit for the person, it works. If the two parties are operating in different worlds, it is not so good.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#18
Hey wait a minute.. did you say substantial? I know people who do less in sales than I do yet have a staff of 10 people and a real office located in the best strip mall in town. A lot of my customers are the same way.. very few staff but well organized and productive. Big staff and lots of assets often mean a lot of cost with no attendant sales and profit to offset. Lots of people milling about a rented strip mall office does not equate to a substantial undertaking in my mind.
 

theman

Well-Known Member
#19
Substantial would be considered anything $10M and above. Personally, once I'm settled somewhere I usually have somewhere in the area of $5 million sales per year recurring. Working for anyone long term unless you are a full commissioned rep that is pretty much what is expected from reps once they are established.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#20
I'm afraid a lot of sales reps, after reading that, are going home deflated this afternoon. I personally don't know of any that make 5 million a year in sales. Hell, most brokers I know don't even do that with a staff of telemarketers. Now I'm feeling really down. Really down..
 

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