I get calls from time to time from a carpet cleaning company. They’ve cleaned my carpets in the past and periodically they call to ask if I want them done again. Normally I don’t like these calls but it’s a good reminder to do my carpets and they are a good company so I’m okay with it.
So recently I received a call from the company asking if I wanted my carpets cleaned, and telling me about an “amazing” 3-room deal for some fixed price. The telemarketer gave me a few more details and I agreed, and then said: “I have 6 rooms I want cleaned. How much is that?”
To her credit, she was very professional but she said something that alarmed me a bit. She said: “One moment and I’ll pass you over to my manager.”
Her manager!?! I wasn’t asking for anything crazy. Heck, if she just doubled the deal, I would have been fine with that.
Anyway, the manager came on the phone right after and confirmed my question then punched his calculator and came up with a number that, to my benefit, turned out to be less than double the deal (huzzah!). So I ordered and they showed up the other day and cleaned my carpets and did a good job.
But heck, why doesn’t the company just empower its staff to do their own deals?
Presumably these are minimum wage staff who are perhaps paid a bonus or commission for every deal they close. So empowering them to do their own deals will most certainly give them more money.
On the other hand, I get that there’s a risk that the company will give away the farm. When I first started in sales, I asked my manager to put together the deals for me and finally he got sick of it and empowered me to do the deals myself. I was freaked out but at first I ran the deals by him to make sure I wasn’t giving something away for too little. Then I gained some confidence. And when I became sales manager, I did the same thing to my staff.
Empowering your staff to do deals is easy and it will free up your time to do other things. Here are some tips to help:
- Give them parameters. In some cases, you can give them a maximum and a minimum to work in. In some businesses, it might be as simple as just giving them a metric to use. In the case of the carpet cleaning company, the manager should have said something like: “The deal is $100 for 3 rooms. Sell that. But if they want more rooms, we’ll do $25/room” (or something like that; I have no idea what metric they charged me and maybe THAT is why they don’t tell their staff).
- Educate your staff. Help them to know the value of doing more deals and offering to do additional rooms. Even if they don’t get a direct financial benefit from each additional sale they make (although I think they should!) help them to see that more sales increases the likelihood of job security and it makes the business stronger, which adds even more job security.
- Role play. Give them a few scenarios to practice. In very short order, they will be able to do some of the most common deals without breaking out the calculator and putting the client on hold.
- Reward them. Sales is hard work. People should be rewarded for the effort. Even if you don’t pay on commission, a bonus structure (heck, even some earned time off) is a good way to motivate people to do more deals.