by Alli Kauffman Rogers | Last Updated on 07.23.2021
From roofing and home improvement to nearly every service on the market, a business without sales is a business going downhill fast. In our latest podcast episode, sales expert and entrepreneur Sam Taggart uncovers a goldmine of tips and tricks to help organizations and leaders turn direct sales into ultimate success.
In our interview, Taggart shares his secrets to success through his experience selling golf balls as a kid to earning the #1 sales rep spot in a company of 3,000, becoming the vice president of sales at Solcius, and starting multiple businesses that help companies boost their sales, recruitment, and leadership.
When it comes to training sales reps, there are too many owners and leaders doing it wrong. These leaders are too focused on sales to stop selling and train new sales reps. When the goal is sales, who wants to stop selling to invest time and energy in the new hire?
But Taggart believes this mindset is one of the main barriers preventing organizations, especially home improvement companies, from getting to the next level and successfully duplicating sales reps.
“Manage the system, not the people,” Taggart says. “You need to be able to say, ‘If a top rep leaves me, I’m okay with him graduating into a new chapter in life because I’m not afraid of how good my system is to develop a new one of him.’”
As a sales culture coach, Taggart helps businesses leaders gain this confidence by improving their tools and systems for their direct sales team. He suggests every company needs to develop the following five systems in order to successfully recruit, lead, and manage direct salespeople.
Remember that the job you’re offering is essentially a bid for a person’s livelihood. It’s how they will pay their bills.
If the person accepts the job, you need a consistent roadmap to welcome them and provide training materials, explain job requirements, suggest resources for continued growth, guide the handoff from training to independent work, and more.
An orientation training experience is not enough. What is an employee at your company learning six months or two years from their start date?
Developing future leaders in your company creates space for existing leaders to delegate their responsibilities elsewhere and focus on company growth. Business owners know how to lead.
Come up with a strategy that will motivate your sales reps when the going gets tough.
If you have any sales experience, you know that there are no identical days in sales. It’s a constant cycle of ups and downs. But Taggart suggests two essential strategies that lead to consistency.
First, Taggart believes sales reps need to be task-motivated in order to produce consistency in sales. Rather than finding motivation by comparing their performance to industry standards, a colleague, or a company competitor, sales reps need to find motivation through their task at hand.
“As long as I’m doing the task in front of me… I’m winning,” Taggart says. “I go out from 2:00 to 9:00 whether I sold five, or I sold zero, or I sold twenty… Inconsistency simply comes from letting the emotion dictate that activity.”
Second, “there’s no substitute for hard work,” Taggart says. “I think a lot of people in today’s society are like, ‘I want to do everything possible to get off the doors.’ But I would say, “I want to do everything possible to free up my time to get on the doors because I know when I’m out doing an activity that means talking to potential prospects, that means money… And that’s just straight-up hard work.”
Within sales, Taggart says there are two primary indicators of success: work ethic and mental toughness. A good sales rep will strip back their personal bias to honestly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses within their own work ethic. If work ethic is more of a weakness, sales probably isn’t the best long-term career choice. But Taggart says mental weakness isn’t always a weakness after all.
“If you’re sitting there going, ‘Okay… I can’t really take some hard feedback, and I can’t be emotionally resilient, and I am a lot softer… Can I use that empathy to empathize with customers in a different way?’” Taggart asks. “‘And can I use that to my advantage? And I can I overcome the hardship of the job and be a grinder and go make it happen?’”
There’s no perfect picture of what an ideal salesperson looks like, sounds like, and acts like. Taggart said he’s seen the most unconventional salesperson thrive and the most picture-perfect salesperson crash before they left the ground. Sales success has no bias.
“So how do you know if you’ll do well [in sales]?” Taggart asks. “You don’t. You don’t know until you commit to it for at least six months. The reality is it’ll be the best learning investment in six months whether you succeed or fail.”
Sam Taggart is a coach, consultant, speaker, author, and serial entrepreneur specializing in sales, leadership, and recruiting. His innovation centers around his primary mission to bring honor and integrity to door-to-door sales. Find out more about Taggart and his work at TheSamTaggart.com or on Instagram and YouTube.