Keeping Sales at Full Strength
Successful companies look for full-time, year round staff
- By Robert Ogle
- Mar 01, 2015
There’s no question about the importance of skilled salespeople to
any successful security dealer. Without a rep that can get in the
door or establish a rapport with a potential customer over the
phone, there are no sales. No sale, of course, means no revenue.
That’s why it’s important to recruit, identify and retain quality sales reps.
“Recruiting must be ongoing and consistent,” said Chris Soda, manager of
dealer development for Monitronics. “Whatever your goals are, they’re typically
based on a certain number of sales reps selling a certain number of accounts.
So it’s not only necessary to bring on more reps to grow, but also to
bring on new reps just to maintain what you have.”
Soda said that successful companies look at recruiting as a full-time, yearround
endeavor; provided that their staffing levels and company size allow.
For example, Monitronics encourages the dealers in its network to recruit aggressively,
scheduling large groups of candidates whenever possible. The process
of weeding out unsuitable candidates should begin immediately.
“Typically when you recruit for door-to-door, if you bring in a group of 20
people, you’ll likely get anywhere from two to five good candidates and one
to three productive reps,” he said. “Our most successful dealers are constantly
recruiting new sales reps. They understand that staff levels can change quickly,
so it’s important to keep new people coming in.”
As soon as a company falls short of sales reps,
things can quickly turn sour.
“If you lose a couple of guys who are doing
three or four sales a week, you’ve just lost six to
eight deals a week,” said Bruce Mungiguerra, vice
president operations for Monitronics. “It adds up
pretty quickly, and you’ll lose 30 sales a month
because you weren’t actively recruiting to replace
Energy and Desire
It’s not just about quantity, Mungiguerra said.
It’s also important to look for the right type of
candidate. Energy and desire can often outweigh
“I see a lot of the more successful companies
recruiting every week for new talent, but they don’t
recruit anybody who has sold alarms in the past,”
he said. “They look for younger, talented individuals
in their early to late 20’s who don’t mind hustling.
They can train them relatively quickly, send
them out the door, and by the end of the week,
they’ll know who’s going to stick.”
It takes commitment and a lot of effort, he added,
“but you’re getting fresh people and training
them the way you want them to be trained. It takes
more work, but the benefit is greater.”
Of course, some companies find it easier to recruit
established reps from competitors, using the
lure of higher commissions. “That has been a trend
over the years,” Mungiguerra said, “but it isn’t always
a successful strategy.”
“Some dealers will bring in successful reps from
other companies, pay them a little more, and think
they have a ready-trained sales guy,” he said. “But
they’re usually going to be less productive. Since
they’re making more money per sale, they might
not sell as much. They also come over with bad
habits and may not be doing things the right way.”
There are a number of things dealers can do to facilitate
the recruiting process:
- Start with the tried and true methods of advertising,
such as Craigslist and Career Builder.
Support from a good dealer network can help;
for example, Monitronics has negotiated a discount
with Career Builder for its dealers.
- Make sure the ads look professional. Use attractive
keywords that emphasize training, stability, incentives,
income and the chance for a long-term career.
Make sure grammar and spelling are correct
as well; the ad is a reflection of your company.
- Don’t forget about networking. Encourage
your employees to keep an eye out for potential
talent, and think about offering incentives.
Their friends and relatives can also be an untapped
source of new reps.
- Career fairs and internships through local colleges
are also a valuable avenue. Being a sales
rep is a great first job, teaching valuable skills as
well as offering an attractive paycheck.
“I think dealers underutilize college students,”
Mungiguerra said. “A lot of kids have to work because
they have to support themselves. Even if you
can get a college student to work a couple of days
a week for a few hours, and they make one or two
sales a week, it’s more than they’re going to make at
any job that pays $10 or $12 an hour.”
Importance of Retention
Aggressive recruiting is also important because of
constant turnover. Naturally, not all reps are worth
keeping, whether it’s because they’re not dependable
or just simply not good at sales. Some will leave for
a different kind of sales position, Soda said, while
others simply burn out on sales altogether.
While turnover is the nature of the industry,
many dealers attempt to keep their best people for
as long as possible. Helping young, hungry reps
achieve early success is a big factor, Soda said,
since they’ll be more likely to stay than reps you
recruit from other companies.
“Retaining reps starts with how you recruit,” he
said. “If you hire inexperienced reps but train them
properly and show them success, they will be a lot
more likely to stay than recruiting experienced
reps from other companies. An experienced rep
that left their last company to work for you may
leave you to work for another company later.”
Apart from that, he added, the best way to
retain is to pay fairly, accurately and on time.
“Nothing is more discouraging to a rep than getting
a small paycheck,” Soda said. “If the reason
it’s small is because they didn’t sell enough or
gave too much away, you can encourage them to
go out and turn it around the following week. If
it’s small due to a payroll error or they feel they
are being shorted, it will be tough to keep them
Other effective methods including praise,
awards, competition or incentives such as Monitronics
offers to its network of dealers. Most
recently, Monitronics had a sales competition in
which top prize was a pair of tickets to the college
football championship game.
It’s important to keep negativity out of the equation.
“Successful reps will usually stay,” Soda said,
“but if reps are successful but the environment is
not fun or positive, they may not enjoy it for long.
Selling is hard work, and there is adrenaline and
excitement in it. A positive environment goes a
long way toward keeping your reps motivated.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Security Today.