By: Gil Zapata
First, I would like to point out that these are 4 ways to build a sales team with minimal capital.
1. Offer a percentage of sales
Most talented sales people know that they can generate great income if you offer them a good percentage over sales. In the beginning, I offered an aggressive compensation plan that gave my sales people 40% to 60% for each sale that resulted in a credit transaction. Today, I have reduced the high percentage to an incentive plan based on results. The percentage is still high, but it’s based on the volume. In the end, this motivates your sales people to do more and to have a vision. Moreover, if you maintain a straight line compensation percentage it will not work. To summarize, sales people will force themselves to work harder and smarter if they know that they can make more.
2. Seek interns
In order to keep your costs low, seek interns. To illustrate, I utilized internships.com and reached out to local colleges. Interns can be a great asset to any company for numerous reasons. First, they need work experience. Second, they have new ideas and you can mold them much easier as oppose to someone who is accustomed to doing things their way.
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In comparison, to veterans and experienced labor; interns can fit into your corporate culture much easier. Furthermore, they will keep your costs down. Most of the time, I offer the first 2 to 6 months without pay or some sort of bonus plan and than I hire them. In the end, this gives both you and the intern the opportunity to learn fast from each other and boost sales fast. Also, instead of investing money in these interns, you will be investing your time and energy into making the work interesting and helping them to grow.
3. Hire contractors or outsource
With this in mind, contractors are great because you can decide how long the working relationship will last, and you can structure this according to your budget. With time they can address your needs and your satisfaction with their work results. Comparatively, outsourcing is good for certain tasks. One of my best outsourcing candidates I have found on fiverr.com and freelancer.com.
Today, you need to think globally. Most of my outsourcing staff is in India, Pakistan, and outside of the United States. Depending on the nature of your business, there are types of duties that can be outsourced to these candidates. For instance, you can outsource database management, web design, bookkeeping, data mining, and lead generation. Beyond the administrative duties, for sales I utilized some of these outsourcing services to gather data, generate leads, and other services that are part of our sales strategy. Not to mention, that you will save thousands of dollars.
4. Defer compensation
Another strategy, which I have utilized is deferring compensation with your sales people. For example, your sales person makes a huge commission and rather than paying it out all at once, you pay portions of it. Think of it like making out annuity payments with high commission payouts. This allows you to retain sales people. Where did I get this idea from? My first true job was at John Hancock Financial Services in 1996 and I had a similar compensation plan. Why did they do this? Because, they wanted to retain their sales people. When I left John Hancock, I left a portion of those commissions that I had earned. More important, this allows you to buy time and improve cash flow.
If you don’t have money, then at the very least, you must think outside the box. Your aim is make more with less. In fact, today that is one of our core values that we use at our company. These strategies helped me build a lendinero.com to a team of staff of over 40 people within the last 4 years. Furthermore, we grew sales 100% year over year.