Quality, Standards, and…Sales Management

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Roadmap - Northwestern VermontI’ve had the privilege of working quite a bit with John Tooley over the past couple of years. If you’ve attended one of John’s training sessions, there is a good chance you’ve heard him talk about quality, and standards as a key foundational element of quality.

Now, I suspect that most people in our industry think of this in terms of installation quality. Were the ducts installed properly? Was the air-sealing around the flue done according to standards?

John doesn’t limit quality to these situations, though. Nor should you. Quality spans everything you do in your business. It’s one of the reasons I love an annual operating plan: it helps define and communicate some of the standards your business needs to thrive.

That includes sales. And a quality sales process means you need sales standards.

There are many parts of the sales process where we could talk about standards. Just a few include:

  • How many leads per week does an Advisor run?
  • Is there an expectation of how many self-generated leads an Advisor will bring in every month?
  • Are there sales targets including overall volume, close rates, average ticket sizes?
  • Is there standardized pricing and the margin assumptions baked into that pricing?
  • How long does it take to get back to customers? How?

These standards need to be built from the ground up. When you have them, your sales team has a better shot at understanding the expectations. And you know what to manage. You get to work the variance to the standard, what some call “managing the gap”. You also get to work on training and correction in a positive way rather than get trapped in what seems more like subjective personal confrontation.

With these standards you can help build the discipline (discipline not  as “punishment” but rather as “training that correct, molds, or perfects performance”) to succeed. You can inject accountability to standards in a way that seems collaborative rather than combative. And you’re further on your way to sales success for the whole team.

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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