Hiring a commission slaes person

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by David Gretzmier, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I'm from over on the landscape lighting and christmas light side and was wondering if anyone over here has a straight commission salesperson and what percentage they pay. I have had several that did not work out, and I was paying 10% of sales, so maybe I should go higher. our average Christmas job is 3000 bucks, and this person can potentially sell several jobs a week if they work a 40 hour week and hustle. but I can never seem to find anyone that is self motivated to work more than 10 hours per week. This would be business sales position, and cold calling by visiting business's and asking them who does thier lighting. anyone have any suggestions?
  2. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Are you trying to hire people who have a background in landscaping, or a background in sales? If you're hiring on straight commission, I would think you'd do better hiring someone who's worked that way before. They can handle the valleys, and they know how good the peaks can be.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Are you supplying the leads for the salesman or is he on his own to do the marketing as well?
  4. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 6,463

    im also intereted in this. ive tried several commision sales people and know one lasts over 2 weeks. I dont provide leads, but i do provide areas that are qualified for our service.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I have found a person that has sold for a couple of chemical lawn companies going door to door, and also worked for a company that provides Christmas light service. This would be a door to door business position, selling business Christmas light installation. He seems a natural salesman, comfortable talking to folks. I would provide hime with selling literature, training, but no leads other than business's that call in.
  6. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,444

    No offense but I think you're peeing up a rope with this idea. First it's seasonal (christmas lighting) 2nd you're providing the person with nothing other than some literature and perhaps an understanding of your business/products.

    Sales people who work on straight commission (good ones anyway) usually are selling big ticket items that are not seasonal in nature and have a damned good marketing effort behind them. Otherwise only a fool would take such a position and your experience bears this out.

    I'd "hire" a dozen "commission only" salespeople if I could find enough idiots to agree to it.... I'd at least get a few sales out of it and it' wouldn't cost me a nickle unless they made a sale..... man that sounds great.... except everytime one of them makes a sales call and gives bad information or gets asked a simple question that they can't answer not only is the sale gone but a little bit of my reputation is gone with it.

    Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you'd take that job under those conditons..... door to door is a piss poor marketing plan and harkens back to the fuller brush man and vacuum cleaner salesmen.... maybe one out of a thousand of those folks ever made a decent living.

    That's a far cry from handing a commisioned sales rep 20 or so qualified leads (people who've already expressed a interest) a week and sending them out there to close deals.

    That is a job a good salesperson would take and actually work it.
  7. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    Watch what your doing when hiring a sales person make sure you have an up to date no compete clause signed, I have seen alot of sales guys take businesses to the cleaners!
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    It is easier, in many cases, to be set up to provide services than it is to get hired to perform those services. A specific niche like holiday lighting is definitely one of those.

    The difficulty is not closing a sale, it is having the opportunity to pitch the sale to a viable prospect. This is much more about marketing than salesmanship. Anyone successfully marketing this type of service is in the driver's seat rather than the contractor (unless they are one in the same). You need to generate leads in a market that would be very hard to target, I would think.

    It would seem that you'd need very visible marketing that is seen by many people so that those few real prospects become aware of you. That is costly. Unless you are already well established and capable of doing a lot of this in a short time, I don't know that the return would cover the marketing expense. You need a big net to catch a small amount of fish.
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    David I tried this and this is what i learned. There is no way a commissioned sales person wont go high pressure. This is not what I am about.

    There is no way someone with some literature can accuratly price a job. If they got excited about closing a deal and shot thier mouth off on pricing it could hurt you.

    Remember. 1st impressions are everything and if you want some salesman representing you thats your business but personally I would rather train someone to do my installs and concentrate on the sales myself. Once i built my business up more I would hire in a salaried rep and offer bonuses based on sales once they are familiar with design. There is no way I could teach someone what I have learned over the years in a short time and turn them loose to represent my company on something so specific as design. Our business relys too heavily on design and variables to find some fast talker on the street to do it well.

    While you might get more sales most sales reps I have met are rather fly by night often looking to make a quick buck.

    Many also despise door to door sales. For Holiday lighting it may be diff but

    Have you ever considered a billboard for holiday lighting ?
  10. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 601

    Having owned my own business and then moved to a new locale, then working for another few companies in I have some insight which may prove helpful to you guys. You are very unlikely to have a successful sales person of any kind, be it commision, draw or salary/commision unless you market for them. Not that door to door is a wasted effort but lets face it there are certain markets that it just doesn't fit.

    How many of you guys have knocked on doors and been run around looking for just 5 minutes of face time with the owner/facilities manager ?

    How many times have you had the wife love your sales pitch and pricing for anything from chemical/mowing/hardscaping or even seasonal decor to have the husband shoot it down ?, part of the problem being he didn't see your pitch because he was out at work making the money she was trying to spend.

    Not to say at all that you aren't going to have success door to door, but to play the percentages and not waste your sales force's time you have to be able to generate and qualify leads for them. In my expierience, the best set up is above. You will see your closing percentages rise if you support your sales force. A website with a photo gallery is huge, people are very visual when it comes to their interest in what you can do for their property. Look at big business, many large retail/service corps spend huge dollars on marketing and in this business especially you need something to set you apart from the others just to get a chance to bid, then you have to maintain a quality image and provide the services you promised as promised or there are 50 other guys around the corner who'd cut your throat to get the work you have. You aren't a wal mart selling everyday needs. Nobody needs holiday decor, most people can go out buy a lawnmower, chemicals and a spreader, some will DIY a paver install. They will have to spend their time and likely wont have the same results we provide, but they will keep their wallets closed more often. Shoppers in this economy whether commercial or residential are shopping price more than ever, if they're shopping at all.

    An idea for you guys thats worked well for me. Hope nobody local tries it. I run a landscape division for a large cleaning company now. I do QC, routing, CS issues, bidding and all, I have no time to generate leads for new business. This season I got college kids out flyering, and for those interested setting appointments for those who answered a very brief qualification survey, they didn't even know they were being qualified!!!! A few simple questions brought enough work to run 1.5 residential crews this year, using the other .5 for enhancement and pruning work. This company was never in the residential market before. Come up with a really catchy but not loud flyer or door hanger, get a couple kids with a good appearance and who can speak well to adults, set them loose and see what happens. Kids were working for 11-12 hr and set me evening appointments, gave then nextels to call the office and check for available slots before making an appointment and had more than I could really handle and had to have another manager help me out doing the mowing ones, I based it on simple sqft and gave him things to look for to "bump" the price. Anything else was an add-on for those, which I got to as I could. Flyers are cheap, so is a couple kids out for a few days to test the waters compared to a mass mailing which returns 2-3 percent leads if your lucky and maybe 10-15 percent of those turn into sales. I doubt I'd get the same return trying this commercially. Best bet there is to improve you position through networking, local chamber of commerce, or business networking groups can be great, I've been to several. You can get a good feel for how receptive people are at a meeting, here a chamber will accept any legit business, but most of the networking groups, BNI for example limits members with the same core business to 1 per chapter.

    Hope someone finds this useful!!!!

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