I sold my way into my first print job with no clue about printing. I sold ad. space for a newspaper to start with and fancied a change. The fact I had ‘blagged’ the experience became apparent after a couple of days but my new boss said he admired my tenacity so trained me up.
Two years later I fancied another change so I left that company on the promise of a new diesel Golf and an extra £5k a year and poked two fingers up at the guy who had taken me under his wing. I feel guilty about it now but that’s the thing; salespeople have a fire in their belly and quite often want to be company owners so beware.
A good sales person is almost like your protégée; you train them often in your own image, giving them the technical knowledge and all of the tips that you have picked up over the years. You do this because you want to earn money from them and you wave a commission carrot in front of them to make them hungry for sales. Of course you get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement but I can tell you from very personal experience it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!
After my initial sales job in print I never stayed anywhere more that 12 months and raced up the executive ladder on the back of my knowledge in the, then, new digital print market. I had a flock of clients that followed me everywhere so I decided to start up on my own.
The last firm I worked for dangled a carrot but kept moving it further and further away so I left to go it alone - a move that contributed towards that company going into administration when it became clear it no longer had any clients. And the non-disclosure agreement? Not worth a bean if you haven’t got company left to enforce it.
So by all means train and motivate your sales force but be careful - if you dangle the carrot too far off, they may take that and your arm off with it when you least expect it.