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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Keeping Your Top Performers: Reducing High Sales Force Turnover


High salesperson turnover can cripple sales productivity. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems that turnover is on the rise.

Turnover results anytime a salesperson leaves a position, either through termination of employment (both voluntary and involuntary) or transfer (when the salesperson is promoted or moved to another position in the same firm).

Some turnover is positive. A healthy company will promote qualified achievers into higher slots. But most terminations are due to poor performance. Obviously, sales executives are struggling to find and keep good salespeople.

What is Behind High Termination Rates?

A number of factors appear to influence the termination rate. In general,

Higher termination rates are found in companies that use a "one size fits all' method of setting sales targets; lower rates are found in companies that assign individual sales targets.

Termination rates are higher when targets are set artificially high to cover more than 100% of corporate goals. If targets are unattainable, the sales force won't stay motivated past the initial burst of activity. Salesperson failure becomes more likely. Production drops and turnover increases as salespeople give up and quit or are fired. All of this can be avoided when sales targets more closely match corporate goals.

The 70% Solution

Target levels should be set where salespeople can hit them. Driving off salespeople by setting too high targets makes it difficult to consistently hit any numbers—perhaps impossible.

Studies show that when targets are set so that 70% or more of the sales force can achieve them, the termination rate is only 18%. But if less than 70% of the sales force can reach target, one-third of the sales force may be lost through termination. Not coincidentally, 70% sales force attainment is the number IBM uses to set its targets. High termination rates can make it even tougher for firms to hit next year's numbers. When less than 70% of a firm's salespeople make target, and substantial numbers quit or are terminated, the remaining sales veterans may feel demoralized. And a greater portion of the sales burden falls on new, less productive sales people.

The High Cost of Turnover

The amount of revenues lost when just one established salesperson is lost through termination or transfer is staggering.

1.       New sales are lost because the territory is open until a new salesperson can be hired and trained.

2.       The new salesperson who fills the territory goes through a ramp-up period (often lasting two years) during which he or she is less than 100% effective.

3.       For each sale lost while a territory is open or the replacement salesperson is less than fully productive, future add-on sales and maintenance revenues are lost.

4.       The cost to hire and train a replacement is an additional expense—especially for companies selling expensive products or services. For example, one vendor of high-end industrial products reports that it loses more than $1 million when an experienced salesperson leaves!

Calculate the cost of hiring the Wrong Sales Person

These lost sales directly affect the bottom line. Yet sales executives often claim they don't lose sales while a position is open. They argue that sales managers or other salespeople pick up the responsibility for any active prospects until the void is filled. Well, if no sales are lost, why bother to fill the position?

Even if someone covers the terminated or transferred salesperson's territory, future sales will suffer because fewer new prospects are developed during that period. In addition, the people who are "filling in' neglect some of their own duties to cover the vacant territory. Either way, current and future revenues and profits are lost.

The typical open territory remains vacant for 60 days. That's two full months of lost productivity that can never be recovered. Add the cost to hire and train the replacement salesperson, plus the ramp-up time before the new salesperson begins to make a substantial contribution, and the "we don't lose sales' argument begins to look a bit thin. Furthermore, lost sales don't just disappear—they find their way into the coffers of competitors, strengthening their market shares and their bottom lines.

How to Reduce Turnover

Sales executives cannot—and should not—attempt to prevent all turnover. Companies will always need to promote some salespeople and dismiss others. But there are three avenues to pursue in trying to keep your turnover rate down:

1.       Better hiring and training. Although the average cost to hire and train a new salesperson is high, it is considerably less than the cost of losing an established salesperson.

Money spent to more effectively screen and recruit new salespeople can yield higher caliber employees who more closely fit the company's corporate culture and sales success profile. Better training is a solid investment in getting new salespeople up to full productivity sooner, thus reducing turnover.

Of course, it's a good idea to hire the right person in the first place. Refer back to Section Two for advice on making sure the person you hire will perform on the job.

2.       Competitive company plans. Review your sales compensation plan. Does it provide earnings that are competitive with other companies and the industry at large?

3.       Achievable targets. Sales targets should be set at attainable levels. Salespeople like to win. When targets make winning impossible, success-oriented salespeople will go somewhere else. Sales targets should also be individualized. Firms that take each salesperson's forecast into account generally have the lowest levels of turnover.

Remember, unrealistic targets always increase turnover. And higher turnover drives down productivity.

A Final Lever

Even if sales executives do everything right, sooner or later they'll find themselves across the table from a good producer who is planning to leave. You might want to use the opportunity to double-check your system. Ask yourself,

  • Are targets reasonable and achievable?
  • Is my company plan motivating?
  • Has this person been       given every chance to perform, and been rewarded for performance?

If an honest examination reveals that your system isn't to blame, the problem may lie in the restless nature of the salesperson. Sales attracts "movers and shakers' who are typically looking for a better way to prospect, a better way to close, a better company to work for—and bigger earnings. Rearranging the company to placate one "superstar' is not the answer. It might be helpful to remind the fidgety salesperson about the ramp-up period that every salesperson experiences in a new position. Because the commissioned salesperson loses out on a substantial portion of income during this period, changing jobs may cost the salesperson a lot of money. Pointing to these start-up statistics may reveal to the potential defector a drought in what he or she perceived to be green pastures.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sales for SME: From Frustration to Flourishing

You took a plunge into what you believed is a great choice. You started this business with a very clear aim to make it the best business you could have. You are a master of your craft. You have stuck to it for many months which have turned into years. Your business has survived. It has met your needs-sometimes barely doing so. Despite many times you have felt weak you have stuck to it. Many times you are frustrated. Your biggest frustration is that the business is not generating enough money.

Why does it not generate enough money? Simple. You don’t sell enough.

You don’t have enough customers. You rely on referrals for business but they are not enough. You try selling but since this is not your area you don’t excel in it. Other times you decide to sell but shortly you find yourself caught up in the ongoing inside the business.

To mitigate this you have resulted to hiring sales people. Every time you hire you are excited but shortly after you are back where you were. The early promise doesn’t actualize and you either fire the sales person or they also give up on you and move on. You move from despair to being cynical of the sales people.

You wonder what you really need to do take to your business where it needs to be. Are there great sales people out there to help you bring the sales you badly want? Is there one or two tricks you don’t know about that could make sales come through? Is there something wrong with you that make your business not to sell? Are you doing anything wrong?  You wonder.

Maybe you should stop wondering and consider the following:
  • Are you approaching sales in a strategic way? Ways that ensure you have a continuous flow of opportunities rather than day to day pursuit of the opportunity that arises.
  • Is your business marketing oriented? Is everything you do marketing?
  • Is your business designed for effective sales and marketing?
  • Do you engage in soft sales efforts?
  • How well are you doing as the chief sales officer of your business?
  • How well are you enabling your customers to give you great referrals?
  • Do you know the real value of your customers and how well are you harvesting this value?
  • How well equipped are you to manage sales people in your business?
  • How well are you leveraging all the assets in your business to acquire and convert leads?
  • How good is your business in getting customers are make repeat purchases?
  • How have you proofed your business from the seasonality experienced in your industry?
These are just a few of the questions you need to answer to have a clarity on what you need to do to turn around your sales fortunes. In Growth Partners we have over 233 of such questions. By answering them you are half way through addressing your sales challenges.

After answering these questions you need to craft solutions to deficiencies uncovered as you answered the questions. Some of the solutions are easy and straight forward. However, there are areas that requires sales expertise to design the solutions.

We have put together a 2 Day Workshop specifically tailored for business owners designed to help you overcome your sales struggles and put your sales on autopilot (or something like that). It is for people who run any form of business ranging from restaurants to software companies, retail business to medical clinics, clothing shops to cake bakeries, legal firms to manufacturing ventures, real estate merchants to wholesalers, management consulting to furniture shops, bars to food processors. Simply it is a workshop for everyone who is either frustrated by the sales revenues they get from their business or would love to take their business to hire levels.

From the workshop we want to show you how to generate continuous flow of business, give you sales performance strategies that require minimal resources to execute, answer your hard questions in relation to sales, give you easy to use tools to manage your sales and sales employees, challenge you to optimize various aspects of your business so that you can get highest returns from your sales and marketing efforts and investments, show you hidden opportunities in your business that you have never thought your business had.

The workshop is scheduled for December 1st and 2nd 2016. This will help you as you leave for the holidays to have a lot of food for thought. Ideas that you will put in place in the New Year. Tactics that you will refine as you rest ready to take up the New Year with a band.

We are offering the workshop for Kshs 18,750.00 as you will be sharing the cost with other participants. But you can have the workshop facilitated in-house for Kshs 76,750.00 plus you cater for venue costs.

This could be the best holiday gift you can give yourself because it will make you money. One client who went through this workshop in-house has generated business worth 3 times of the investment from implementing 2 of the ideas generated from the course. This is in spite of her being a highly sales averse entrepreneur. If she could do so I believe you can do the same or even more.

The workshop will be facilitated by Sam Kariuki. Sam is the author of the highly acclaimed business novel ‘The Guy Who Fired His Boss’. In the last 7 Years Sam has helped tens of businesses become well in sales and sales management. He has trained thousands of sales people across East Africa. If it is a sales challenge, Sam has dealt with it.

To enroll for the workshop contact Kendi at

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Stellar Selling for Real Estate Sales Professionals Workshop

at The Nairobi Safari Club
on October 27th-28th 2016
 Book 3 Get 1 Free

For a great majority of people real estate purchases are the biggest purchases they will ever make and hence most important. They therefore need to be handled by the finest sales professional so as to get the deal to the line as well as feel satisfied and happy of the buying process and the purchase decision.

That is why sales people who are weak in essential selling qualities and competencies consistently lose out on deals which they were surefire when they started leading to very low closing rates of inquiries.

The Stellar Selling for Real Estate course is designed to equip the sales people with skills that will help them to sell more of the properties, to as many qualified customers as often as they are awake and selling. It converts the sales person from a ‘shower’ of a house, apartment, office or land to a persuasive and trusted expert seller of real estate products who gets the customer enthused to make the purchase.

This course is not for those who are just holding a sales job waiting for the next good opportunity but for people who want to be the highest performers in the industry.

This is the only sales course designed specifically to those in the real estate industry. It addresses unique aspects of the market and real estate products.

Course Objectives

After attending this course the sales person  will:

  1. Experience increase in the number and value of their sales;
  2. Be more persuasive even to the most difficult customers;
  3. Understand the various types of customers, their buying behavior and how to manage each of the type;
  4. Delight customers by managing their psychological expectations;
  5. See deals move faster to positive closure;
  6. Overcome customer objections and fears that make them hesitate to commit;
  7. Have tools and processes for structured follow-up and relationship building;
  8. Easily understand customer buying criteria including the unspoken needs and requirements;
  9. Communicate property values in a way that match the buyers needs;
  10. Have methods for qualifying leads and managing them through the various stages of purchase decision.

After the course the sales people will be highly motivated, equipped with key skills for selling real estate properties and have methodologies and approaches to effectively engage many clients to achieve desired sales targets.

Course Content

The course covers the following subjects

Module 1: The Real Estate Market

  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • The Ideal Customer
  •  Traditional Selling Approach
  •  Emerging Trends

Module 2: The Property Buyer

  • Customer Profiling
  • What they buy
  • How they buy
  • Buying Decision Criteria

Module 3: The Property Sales Star

  • Stellar Sales Image
  • Connection Faction
  • Body Language of Selling

Module 4: How to Get Clients

  • Richest Sources of Customers
  • Targeting Best Buyers
  • Generating High Potential Leads
  • Getting Customers to Call You
  • Leveraging on the internet
  • Prospect Qualification

Module 5: Art of Property Selling

  • Property Talking Points
  • Persuading like a Pro
  • Persuading with Stories
  • Creating Value

Module 6:  Essential Property Selling Skills

  • Rapport Building
  • Relational Intelligence
  • Understanding Customer Buying Criteria
  • Closing
  • Negotiation Skills

Module 6: Opportunity Management

  • Critical Selling Activities
  • Understanding the Business Pipeline
  • Mastering the Sales Milestones
  • Speeding Up the Sales Cycle
  • Improving Prospect Conversion
  • Increasing Deal Size

Active Learning Delivery Methodology

This is not an academic course. This is a hands on course that uses over 15 learning methodologies which you ensure you learn by hearing, seeing,  teaching, asking  and doing. Lectures don’t last more than 10 minutes. Throughout the course you are 100% engaged in a learning activity.

 The Trainer: 
Sam Kariuki -Author, Sales Expert, Business Strategist

Sam Kariuki is a sales expert who has been delivering sales training programmes for over 10years first through Marketing Society of Kenya and in the last 7years through Growth Partners. Sam will be among the top 3 finest sales trainers in the market today. Those who have gone through his courses have experienced improvement in the sales performance. Sam has trained sales people and their managers  across tens of industries and types of businesses. He is often sought out to train in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. 
Sam has had his works on sales, marketing and business strategy published in Selling Power, Business Daily, Marketing Africa among other publications. He often appears on TV speaking about business growth. He is the author of the book, The Guy Who Fired His Boss.

 Dates & Venue

The Course will be held at the Nairobi Safari Club on the October 27th-28th 2016.


The investment for this course is Kshs 29,990 per participant.
Book in 3 participants get the 4th one for free.

To make your booking contact Kendi on 0208012627, 0711671843 or

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ways to fall in-love with the customer

  • Learn from the Customers: Be a good listener.
  • Make yourself accessible: Always be there.
  • Be proactive: Avoid break up.
  • value your customers: Treat them they are your first
  • Strive for moments of Awesome: Become unforgettable.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Champions Made in Kenya

Lessons for Sales People from World Conquering Athletes

Are Kenyan runners born or made? This is a question that intrigues those who follow Kenya’s dominance in long distance running. Kenya has produced more world champions and Olympic medalists in mid to long distance running than any other nation on face of earth. Most of these athletes come from the Rift Valley Province of the country. There has been a raging debate where the people of Rift Valley are genetically designed to be world beaters or it is the environment that has made them world beaters or maybe something to do with their diet.

But regardless of where you come from in Rift Valley to beat the world at the biggest stage you need to practice at a place called Iten. It is a place that athletes spend weeks and months preparing to compete with Kenyans. Why are they coming here? Altitude? Diet ? What is the secret  magic  of Iten ?

One of the most important aspects of Iten is its concentration of world beaters. It is a place where even the Kenya greats who don’t come from Rift Valley Camp in their pursuit of a dream to beat the world. Some of the non Kenyan World Stars who have trained here are Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe from United Kingdom, Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich among others.

Iten is the Silicon Valley for mid to long distance runners. 

Why would I write about this region in a sales article? Because there is a lot we can learn about sales from long distance running. The main reason is that to become a super star in whichever field you need to spend time with super stars. If you want to fly high then you need to spend time with eagles not chicken.

1.          The first step of winning  is spending time with those seeking to be winners
The reason many foreign athletes come to Iten is to practice with the Kenyan super stars. They want to do what they see Kenyans do. But most importantly they want to be consumed by that passion for winning that burns in the Kenyan runners. When this passion consumes you, you will want to pursue the goals that champions want to pursue. You will want to do whatever they do to win.

When you spend time with people aiming to exceed their quotas, break records and win trophies you are likely to start desiring the same.

 If you want to become a sales super star you need to have the passion and drive of those who consistently win.  You need to care about things they care about; you need to start feeling how enjoyable winning is. For ordinary runners they won’t be bothered to reduce their time by a second. For champions a fraction of a second becomes an obsession. They know records are set and broken not by minutes by fractions of a second.

2.       Practicing with Champions Stretches you out of the Comfort Zone
If you ran with those who have consistently beaten the world, even if you don’t become a world beater, you are likely to perform beyond what you thought your physical abilities and skills could allow. You will be pushed to endure more than what ordinary people would care about.

You will be forced to run longer distances. Your muscles will be stretched to points they are sore. You will wake up earlier. You will not be allowed to enjoy pizzas and fries. This ultimately sets you at a higher level than you were before you started practicing with the champions.

As a sales person you need the same. You need to spend time with those who put you in a position where you can stretch yourself beyond what is comfortable.

3.       Spending time with world beaters shapes our beliefs
Those who have grown seeing champions practicing and bringing troves of medals year in year out have had beliefs about what is possible. Those who go to Iten believe that if you can beat Iten you can beat the world.

In Iten you meet many people who believe they can set new records, beat the world finest and achieve greatness in the world athletics. You meet young men and women practicing without shoes with a belief that they will shine at the world’s biggest stage and pull themselves out of poverty. They have seen hundreds of others do that and therefore it is not hard for them to believe the same.

Ordinary people have ordinary beliefs, champions have beliefs of champions. Sales Super stars have beliefs of super stars while ordinary sales people have beliefs of ordinary mortals. When you spend time with super stars your ordinary beliefs are altered sometimes forever.

Being there seeing champions practicing, feeling pain, being human demystify the champion as a super being. When you discover that the champions are beings like you then you start believing you can become like them. If you keep pace with them in the practice then you believe you can do the same in the real race. That is how many pace setters from Kenya upstage the stars they were supposed to set pace for.

4.       Spending time with champions allows you to model their behaviors
Sometimes you don’t need to read books on what the successful people do and the philosophy behind their success, you just need to watch them go about their journey of success. Watch what they do and do it exactly as they do it and you are likely to achieve the same results they achieve.

As a sales person you need to watch and model the behaviors of the super stars and you are more likely to get the same results they get. Wake up the same time they wake up, prepare for a call the same way they do, plan your route the same way, build rapport as they do, show care for customer as they do, follow the same steps in making the presentation, eat the same meal etc and you will get the same results.

Iten is a great place for long distance runners to spend time and prepare to become champions, but not necessarily a place where sales super stars are made but form its story we can learn a lot on how to become sale superstars.  But you don’t need to travel to Iten to be at Iten. Iten can be a place in your organization or city where you can meet the sales champions. It can be a biography that you read, or a grouping of super achievers you spend time with.