Are we looking at the right numbers?

NUMBERS, NUMBERS, numbers. Here we go again. When we monitor the success of our salespeople and technicians, what numbers are we looking at? Let's look at a couple examples, first tracking salespeople. Look at the Old Method and the New Method of Tracking in answering the following questions. Which salesperson is the top performer? Which salesperson is just looking for the home run? Which salesperson

NUMBERS, NUMBERS, numbers. Here we go again. When we monitor the success of our salespeople and technicians, what numbers are we looking at? Let's look at a couple examples, first tracking salespeople.

Look at the Old Method and the New Method of Tracking in answering the following questions. Which salesperson is the top performer? Which salesperson is just looking for the home run? Which salesperson is burning sales leads? To which of these salespeople would it be better to give a sales lead?

When tracking with the Old Method the above questions may be hard to answer. When looking at the New Method, however, you learn that Salesman No. 1 has a better invoice average than Salesman No. 2, while sales for the period are the same. But look at the gross profit amount for both salespeople and the overall picture. What do these numbers tell you?

It shows that Salesman No. 1 goes after the highest number of sales prospects but closes fewer sales. He does have a higher average invoice per sale, probably because he is going after the home run that I mentioned earlier.

On the other hand, you learn that Salesman No. 2 has achieved the same dollar number in sales through a targeted effort. He probably has a process in place to make sure his prospects are truly prospects before spending time on selling them. That way he can focus his efforts on people who are really interested and close more sales.

Although his average invoice per sale is lower, it probably means he quoted lower prices than Salesman No. 1 in an effort to get the sale but quoted high enough to still provide profit to his company. Overall, his sales philosophy and method are much more efficient and profitable than Salesman No. 1. It makes much more sense to turn that sales lead over to Salesman No. 2. A 9% increase in one salesman's gross profit can go a long way in improving the company's bottom line. And think of the difference if all your salespeople experienced that increase in profitability.

These numbers so clearly tell the story: Tech No. 2 is more efficient and profitable than Tech No. 1. Why? Based on the invoice average comparison, it appears that Tech No. 2 may be turning each call into a sales opportunity. More add-on sales normally mean a more satisfied customer and a better chance for a repeat customer.

How about productive hours and closing percentage? Tech No. 2 "fixes" the customer first by making sure the customer is happy with him and has a positive sales experience. The repair is secondary. Profits for the company will increase, and there is the potential for the tech's income to grow as well.

So often when I do business coaching I will sit down with the dispatchers and ask them to name their best tech. More often than not they will point at the scoreboard and say it is the top sales tech. Most of the time this tech is Tech No. 1 (below left). This tech is the one that takes most of the calls, which means the dispatcher is happy because she can keep on schedule for the day.

Here's a suggestion to make your top sales tech even more profitable: Slow him down and allow him to present the repair options to the customer with issues that are uncovered during the home safety inspection and allow the customer to buy added services, products or both. This way, techs are turned into the Tech No. 2 example very quickly.

Posting scoreboards
How many of you post your scoreboard in a prominent place in your office? You will find in most cases that posting results as shown in the New Method of Tracking will make a major difference in the performance of your team members. Do not always put the same person on the top of the list just because that person has been at the company the longest. I recommend putting the names on the scoreboard in order of performance.

I once saw a scoreboard in a contractor's office that only had 15 lines on the board, even though the company had 18 techs. The main goal there was to be on the list and not one of the three left off. Do you think performance improved at this contractor's office after he posted the scoreboard? I am sure it did.

Yes, it will take a few minutes each day to gather the data needed to post accurate information. Review this information weekly during your sales meeting and tech training meetings. You will be surprised at how many people you will see just standing in front of the scoreboard looking at the results. No one wants to be at the bottom of the list or not even on the list.

So many times we are moaning about the phone not ringing enough, and when it does, we throw away 25% to 35% or more of the calls. Can you see how your business decisions will change when you look at more data and manage the results?

Training is the key
Train, train, train, is the key. You want Salesperson No. 2 and Tech No. 2 everywhere in your operation. You have heard it said before: "I am not going to train my people because all they will do is leave." What if you don't train them and they stay? Remember that, as well as the importance of tracking and posting sales and tech results, and you'll see why numbers, numbers, numbers is what it's all about.

Lawrence Snow became business coach in June for Quality Service Contractors, an enhanced services group of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]