Question: As the summer velocity increases, my sales team gets more leads than normal. I can't hire another salesperson just for the summer, so how do I ensure they still work each lead like it's the only lead they have?
Weldon Long; New York Times Bestselling Author:
Great question! It’s something we all have to deal with, it’s a summer time challenge for sure. The problem is that when the volume increases, our people are running more leads and it’s very common for the average ticket to go down. Average ticket is a reflection of building a relationship with the home owner, conducting a thorough investigation, and recommending high-performance solutions. Some of that stuff goes by the wayside when we’re really busy. We don’t have as much time to build relationships and we look for the easy solutions, we close the deal and we move on. It’s very common for the average ticket to go down and as the questioner says, we want our people to treat every lead as if it was their only one. There are a couple of things we can do. Number one, you can do precisely the thing you said you didn’t want to do and hire a new salesperson. Don’t look at is as hiring only for the summer, look at it as a springboard to grow your business. Say you have two comfort consultants and you don’t want them running three or four leads per day, so you bring on a third person. Now your team is running the two leads per day that they’re used to. If you have three people running two leads each, the margins are going to be higher on those tickets than if you had two people running three leads each. Overall revenue is going to be better if we do it that way. We can take some of that extra revenue and stock it away, now we have some really good marketing money for the fall to grow the business. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 – if you never spend the money to hire the additional salesperson during the summer, you wouldn’t have the additional revenue to grow the business. If business is booming and you can bring on an additional salesperson, take the extra revenue and use it in the next step of growing your business. I can tell you what we did in our company, two things that will help you in this situation. You can more stringently qualify your leads when they come in when you’re really busy. You can ask the question, “Mr. and Mrs. home owner, on a scale of 1-10, what’s the likelihood you’ll be replacing your system in the next week?” If they say, “Well, we’re just getting information for next spring,” you can say, “Right now is our busiest time of the season. Our demands are high so our prices are high. You’d probably be better off waiting to see us in the fall for a better deal.” You should prioritize leads who are saying they are looking to make a decision in the next week. Those are red-hot prospects. Filter out less qualified leads, the home owners with less urgency. Another thing I did in my company was that I had my service manager and my general manager trained and qualified to run a sales lead. So, in the summer time when we were really busy, they could go out in a pinch and run a lead or two. That was part of the gig. They could run a sales presentation. They probably weren’t as skilled as our top comfort consultant but it was better than overwhelming our salespeople and have them out the dropping bids. So those would be the three things I would consider. To recap, it might be a great opportunity to begin building your business by bringing that extra salesperson on and setting aside some of that extra revenue for marketing in the fall. If you don’t want to do that, you can better qualify your leads so that your salespeople can fully capitalize on the remaining leads. And make sure you have other people at your company qualified to run a sales lead by completing some pre-season sales training. A combination of these three things should help pick up some of the slack.