Tag Archives: careers

Sales Insider

April 5, 2017 by

I love sales. It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillfully you execute the duty. It has a feel of independence, ownership, and entrepreneurship, and it can be extremely rewarding. Professional selling is regarded as one of the top-earning careers on the the planet. Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value.

The term “commission” is familiar to ranks of sales professionals. However, I want you to think about your income a little differently. Rather than earning commission when a sale is made, think about your pay as an hourly wage. What makes your hourly pay different from the familiar, traditional hourly jobs is that your hourly rate will change based on the activity you happen to be doing at the moment. For example, in my previous career, for every 10 presentations I made, I would close on, and get paid commission for, three orders. On the three projects I won, my hourly rate was great, but on the projects I lost, my hourly rate was $0/hour. I thought “this is just how it is in sales,” so I did little to change or improve my sales performance until I was taught to think of my compensation as hourly. Spending 60 hours per week on sending proposals to my customers meant missing out on my kids’ activities and time with family, all so I could get paid for 30 percent of my time. That made me angry. This is madness, yet a vast majority of salespeople would give you a similar story.

I think there is a better way to sell that will pay more per hour, which means one can earn their desired wage in less time. I just need to figure out how to get rid of the seven prospects who don’t buy quickly and only spend time on the three who will buy. If I can figure this out, then I will close the three orders, so my pay is the same as before, but I do not spend much time on the seven who do not buy. Can you see how my hourly wage more than doubles?

Since your time is just as valuable as your prospects’ time, only the prospects who plan to buy from you get any of it. In order to do this, you must sort all prospects who talk to you as either buyers or window shoppers. The first step in doing this is to recognize that there are four possible outcomes of a sales call: yes, no, maybe, and clear future. Let’s examine each one.

Yes: Congratulations! You achieved an order and you will earn money.

No: Shoot! Shake it off. There are plenty of other customers out there who will buy. Did you know that “no” outcomes are good, and they can actually make you money? If you get a “no,” that opportunity no longer consumes your time, which means you can divert time to those who buy, and your hourly rate actually increases.

Maybe: Stay away from the dreaded “I need to think it over.” These outcomes represent the “window shoppers” and will cost you money. These prospects waste your time and consume your resources. Therefore, when a prospect stalls, push them to “no.”  At least a “no” will make you money.

Clear future: Sometimes your product or service cannot be sold in one call. You might need multiple meetings to formulate the solution and make the sale. This positive outcome is for those prospects who see value in your solution, are willing to move the process forward, and want the sales conversation to continue on a specific day at a specific time.

Thus, the rule is “No more maybes.” If you can make this rule part of your selling system, you will increase your hourly rate and significantly grow your sales. You effectively sort the buyers from the window shoppers and spend more time on those who buy. Now, I close three out of four presentations I make, my income has increased by triple digits, and I spend less time doing it all.

So, what is you hourly wage?

Karl Schaphorst is a 27-year veteran of sales who now specializes in training other sales professionals. He is the president of Sandler Training.












This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

Big Brain Productions

February 22, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Joe “Smitty” Smith runs a seemingly typical tattoo parlor Downtown, complete with 13 staff members and regular clients. But it’s what Big Brain Productions, located in the Old Market, also provides for employees (401(k) benefits, paid vacations, and a holiday trip to Costa Rica) that makes it stand out.

“I just try to do what’s right for people who take their careers as seriously as the people I have working for me. I try to live up to the standards that they set in their careers as a shop owner,” Smitty says.

As the company has grown over its last 14 years, so have its employee benefits. For example, Big Brain has been offering health insurance for eight years.

Smitty says he had many ideas about what he wanted his tattoo business to be when he was “young and hungry” but struggles to find new ideas moving forward. This drive has led to the parlor’s most recent changes.

“I don’t think you can stand still ever in business,” Smitty says. “I felt like I was at that point where I was kind of standing still, so I said we need to shake it up a little bit, and that’s why we’re doing that big remodel out there.”

Renovations include taking out a space-monopolizing desk and moving iPads that previously hung on a wall to a new area, where they showcase each of the artists’ portfolios.

One such artist, David Brown, has been piercing at Big Brain for five years. He says he joined the parlor because it was a “good fit.” Brown had worked in restaurant management and found the transition to be natural, thanks to a shared business mindset with Smitty.

“We’re both very customer oriented. The customer experience goes above our personal needs,” Brown says. “It’s taking care of the client, making sure that their experience here is the best one they can possibly have.”

Brown credits the large success of Big Brain to the little things that the company emphasizes.

“You don’t get Best of Omaha™ 10 years in a row without doing all the little things right,” he says. “It’s sanitation, it’s stock, it’s ordering; it’s the staff we surround ourselves with. Smitty has done an amazing job of finding nine like-minded tattoo artists who excel at nine different things.”

Despite a good business plan and staff, Big Brain has suffered its share of hardships in years past. In 2007, the company was selected for a tax audit after the IRS looked into how Big Brain’s accountant was amortizing a construction project. Thanks to incorrectly following an amortization schedule, Big Brain received a large audit bill, which triggered years of extra auditing and working closely with lawyers. “My lawyers said I was doing it right, their lawyers said I was doing it wrong, and, you know, you end up somewhere in the middle.”

But with that experience in the past, “I sleep well at night knowing I don’t have skeletons in my closet,” Smitty says. “To have them in your business, and deep in your business, what’s left? Now it’s like, come in any time. I push two buttons and make a phone call, and they have all my financial records. Nothing to hide.”

As a self-taught businessman, Smitty learned a lot from this experience and has put that knowledge toward running Big Brain. He handles payroll as well as tax deposits, and over the last few years, the company has grossed over $1 million per year. Despite running the business as well as piercing at the parlor, Smitty says he gets the most job satisfaction out of seeing his employees succeed.

“There comes a point where you’re more happy when your subordinates do something well than you ever were when you were,” he says. “When my kids do something good, it makes me feel way better than when I did it, and it’s the same thing with your employees. When you have somebody else accomplish what used to be your goal, you really take pride in that.”