Hiring someone to sell YOU can be one of the most unpredictable investments that you will make as a professional speaker. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve seen far more failures than successes.
This is why in the Wealthy Speaker 2.0, we talk about learning how to sell yourself and why we created the 30 Day Sales Challenge, which we introduced in last week’s broadcast. (We’ve gotten some great feedback on the challenge and may expand it… so stay tuned!!) This is such a crucial part of a speakers success, it’s important that you get it right!
If you are thinking of hiring an agent or salesperson for your speaking business, I want to help you tip the scales in your favor to get great results. Here are 5 keys that will help you through the process.
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1. SET EXPECTATIONS. The sales process takes time, especially in this industry. Ideally, you already have some momentum in your business when you hire, rather than starting from scratch. But even still, you and your new hire both need to be committed to, and anticipate, that it can be a long haul. Think of it like a farmers field. You’ll be planting seeds for the first six months and, if you are lucky, you’ll see some harvest come. But be prepared – that doesn’t always happen. So be realistic in your expectations and understand that just because you’ve hired someone, they aren’t a “magic bean” that will grow your business instantly.
2. TRAINING TIME. The reason you are hiring someone is to get this monkey off your back and onto theirs. It’s imperative that your new salesperson really knows, and understands, so they can sell YOU. Have them come to see you speak so they hear your message and tone and let them listen in on your phone calls so they have a better understanding of how you respond to questions from prospects and clients. Even the most talented salesperson needs training on the front end, so make sure you give them all tools they need to understand who you are and what you have to offer.
3. DOCUMENT THE PROCESS. As you start with your new person, it’s important to have them report back to you each week with sales activity. This will allow you to know whether or not they are planting enough seeds. If you leave it up to them to hold themselves accountable, this may leave you feeling dissatisfied. Work as a team, especially in the early months, and keep each other informed of what’s happening. This way you can share in the excitement when hot prospects are bubbling up, or jump in to help close deals when needed by providing them with more ammunition (testimonials from similar clients, ideas for how you might deliver something epic, etc.).
4. FOLLOW THE LEADS. There is nothing more frustrating than handing over what you think is a hot lead and then not hear a peep back about it. There could, of course, be a number of factors that lead to the silence. Maybe the prospect decided to go in another direction. Or maybe your salesperson doesn’t know how to close a deal or maybe they aren’t following up. If you feel like you are continually putting a hot potato in your salesperson’s lap and they blow it, that is a yellow (caution!!) flag, so keep watch.
5. KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ‘EM. If you’ve set proper expectations, provided great training, documented the sales processes and been a partner with your salesperson, but you just aren’t seeing the results you expected, you are going need to evaluate whether or not to invest more time and money into your salesperson. As Kenny Rogers says, “you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em”. If your salesperson hasn’t paid for themselves by around the eight month mark, you really need to take a hard look and evaluate. As many hugely successful companies, including Zappos, advise, “hire slow and fire fast”. You’ll be better off cutting your losses as soon as you know the hire isn’t going to perform for you.
Of course, none of these tips will work if your marketing and positioning are off. Your marketing materials and message are the greatest tools you can give a new salesperson to help sell YOU, so make sure you’ve got it fine-tuned and on mark! If you need help getting it straight, check out our Focus 40 session.
See you soon, Wealthy Speakers!