by Debra Thompson
The Inside Story on
ome of the most frequent questions we get at TG The outside salesperson is ultimately responsible for
& Associates deal with the outside salesperson. Do retaining and, ideally, increasing sales revenues from his or
I need one? If I do, how do I find a good one? How her existing customers. They are also charged with finding,
do I manage one if I get one? The outside salesper- qualifying or disqualifying, and eventually securing new
son can be the critical component for building company business from alternative revenue sources.
growth. Unfortunately, they can be a major disappoint-
ment. And even if they pull in the sales, they can also be How Do I Find a Good One?
the instigator of all kinds of stress in the store. The role The search for a top performer in any position is difficult
and responsibilities of the outside salesperson must be for a variety of reasons. However, today, it is perhaps the
clearly defined and understood in order to eliminate this most difficult to find a top performing outside salesperson.
source of stress. When we help owners recruit salespeople, we get a very
limited set of responses. Generally, most of them do not
Do I Need One? have the graphics experience that the owners want to see.
When a business first starts, most of the sales activity is What I recommend is to search for sales ability first and
handled by the owner or by customer service personnel. treat graphics knowledge as a plus. A clear job description is
That type of approach works for awhile, but eventually the essential, and a clear definition of the relationships within
company reaches the stage where there is not enough time the store is also essential.
for the owners and the CSRs to search out and add new Of course, it is important that the resume contains the
clients. The company reaches a plateau in sales and can’t right mix of education and experience, but that alone is
seem to move any higher. not sufficient to define a top performer. The use of assess-
The usual solution to move the company to higher sales ments for intelligence and personality are critical. There are
levels is to bring on an outside salesperson. Where the a variety of other tools available to determine sales ability.
owner is the primary salesperson, it may be necessary to Beware of using an interview as the single basis, because the
hire a general manager to free the owner to do the sales candidate will be selling himself to you.
and relieve him or her of the burdens of management. In Top performing salespeople need to be smart enough to
either case, movement to higher levels requires dedication understand not only the technology of the graphics indus-
to the sales process by individuals suited to the responsi- try, but also to understand the nature of the customer’s busi-