Contributed by Adam Robinson, the Chief Hireologist at Hireology.
When it comes to work, sales can be tricky— it’s a stressful part of the business equation that can make or break companies. Believe it or not, most companies tend to drive their top-producing salespeople out of the organization and into the welcoming arms of the competition. After all the time and effort they expend to locate, hire and train top producers, why do most of them do things that make their top salespeople quit?
In my years of experience working in sales, this question can be summed up in one statement: Most companies don’t pay attention to the basic drivers/motivators for top producers. As a formerly top-producing software sales executive and now CEO of a firm that recruits top producers for its clients, I can tell you with certainty that, if your company has a hard time holding on to salespeople, it’s probably for one of the following reasons:
You’ve changed their compensation structure, and not for the better. The number one cause of a disgruntled top producer is negative modifications to their compensation structure. With salespeople, the compensation plan is a sacred covenant— everyone agrees that these are the rules. Top producers inevitably knock the ball out of the park, and management says, “Oh no! These guys are making too much money,” so they change the compensation plan. The usual suspects are caps on commissions, reducing overall commission pay-outs (which kills trust faster than anything) and taking away clients to give to other salespeople. A lot of times this scenario happens because the business owner is undercharging for their product or service and they realize—after the sale—that paying out high sales commissions causes them to lose money.
Poker’s universal appeal stems from the fact that it is easy to learn, extremely social, provides the opportunity for profit and takes a lifetime of commitment to master. The parallels between success in poker and in business are numerous, and they are worth examining during these trying economic times. Winning at poker and at business both rely on identifying where you have a positive edge, measuring your odds, trusting your instincts, escaping the “sunk cost trap” and committing to constant learning and improvement.
Contributed by Rick Valentine, the president of Latitude Destination Properties.
As an entrepreneur, I manage a real estate development company. In 2006, I entered a joint venture partnership on a Costa Rican real estate project called “Tranquilo.” Because the project location was the most beautiful piece of land I had ever seen, I quickly became emotionally and financially attracted to the project and its success.
Throughout the partnership, I took on all the responsibilities of sales and marketing. Unfortunately, my development partner could not fulfill his obligations and was unsuccessful in obtaining the required building permits on schedule. As a result, we had to return all deposits received and cancel all contracts. I had spent more than $700,000, and lost all of it!
Seth’s Blog: Finding inspiration instead of it finding you: Ever been unable to think of an idea? Seth Godin’s solution is to train your interesting and creative ideas to show up when you need them. Through simple activities, like writing a blog post every day, you can train your ideas to work on your time.
Turning Whisky Into Biofuel – Forbes.com: Whisky is the next potential biofuel. Whisky (Scottish-English), when it has gone bad, produces two things: pot ale and draff. Pot ale and draff can then be combined chemically to create a biofuel. “The biofuel, called butanol,” explains Robin Shreeves, “gives 30 percent more power output than ethanol.”
Credit Unions to the Rescue?: If your credit card company or bank is changing their policies to inhibit you, your next step may be credit unions. Credit unions usually have lower rates because they “exist for the benefit of their members.” This can be attributed to their tight lending standards.
: Major banks are being told to ease their guidelines for giving loans to small businesses, and many are. However, small businesses are not going after these loans, even if they qualify for them, because the economy is constantly fluctuating.
Due diligence: It’s what you do before investing in a company to ensure the deal is right, and that there are no hidden problems that will emerge once you’ve committed. But two lawyers, a mortgage broker, two investment advisors and a handful of CPAs aside, more than a year after closing our deal we were battling a perfect storm of broken promises, unfulfilled commitments and unhappy customers— and absorbing the associated costs amounting to more than our original investment.