Operations

How To Build Your Sales "A" Team

Lexi Tucker
Posted on January 11, 2018

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — While seminars at trade shows help and inform attendees, there’s nothing quite like discussing topics with fellow operators. Roundtable sessions have become more popular since they first debuted at LCT-NLA Show East in 2016, and this year’s event saw as much, if not more, interest.

One of these innovative sessions, titled “Building A Solid Sales Program,” was moderated by Michael Campbell of Grace Limousine in Manchester, N.H., and Joe Ironi of Global Alliance Worldwide in Toronto, Ontario. It gave the operators who attended an opportunity to talk about how to create a winning sales team.

Alysha Moore, client relations manager for Hermes Worldwide in Denver, Colo.
Alysha Moore, client relations manager for Hermes Worldwide in Denver, Colo.
Seek And You Will Find

So what should you look for when starting your search for a crack team of salespeople? Alysha Moore, client relations manager for Hermes Worldwide in Denver, Colo. says a servant heart should be number one on your list. These are people who want to serve clients in a special way, and who aren’t afraid to go outside of the box to serve them in any way possible.

“That philosophy permeates everyone here from sales to detailers to chauffeurs to office staff,” she says. Salespeople are often self-motivated and self-disciplined, so Moore believes if they are good at what they do, micromanagement should not be needed. “Most sales people have that personality, so they shouldn’t have to worry about a manager always looking over their shoulder.”

Robert Gaskill, owner of Motev in Los Angeles, says he looks for a few stand-out traits when he recruits from sites such as Craigslist and local colleges such as USC and UCLA.

“Intelligence, personality, drive, respectfulness, reliability, product and company knowledge, and confidence are what we seek during interviews,” he explains.

Ariadna Noches, affiliate manager for American Transportation in Miami
Ariadna Noches, affiliate manager for American Transportation in Miami
Ariadna Noches, affiliate manager for American Transportation in Miami, says while it’s important to look for someone with prior experience, it’s not the end all-be all if they are new to the game. “During the interview we look for a person who is self-motivated, has a positive attitude, and is always seeking knowledge and looking for challenges. It has to be apparent they believe in themselves,” she says.

Being comfortable with rejection is something Carey Fieldhouse, president and owner of R&R Limousine in Louisville, Ky., says is an absolute must for someone looking to get into sales. “They also have to be methodical because they’ll have to make sure they do follow up calls and presentations when needed.”

Robert Gaskill, owner of Motev in Los Angeles
Robert Gaskill, owner of Motev in Los Angeles
Don’t Blow It With Micromanagement

Once you’ve hired your salesperson or people, you must know how to make sure they provide results without being overbearing. At Fieldhouse’s company, her director of marketing manages matters on their own, but meets with the vice president of the company weekly to go over progress and struggles. “We set the high level goals, but she develops her plans and figures out how to achieve them on her own.”

At Hermes, Moore says they set weekly meetings as well. Sales professionals keep a running list of what accounts they are working on, and the rest of the team helps with tasks such as setting up client visits where they bring donuts and coffee. “We discuss opportunities they might need help with and get updates on where things are at. Open communication is the only really successful way to manage a sales person and team,” she explains.

Noches believes if your sales team likes what they do and is passionate about what the company is selling (in this case, luxury transportation), the results should motivate them to do what they need to and make them feel proud when they accomplish their goals.

Carey Fieldhouse, president and owner of R&R Limousine in Louisville, Ky.
Carey Fieldhouse, president and owner of R&R Limousine in Louisville, Ky.
“We believe our salespeople think like owners and that’s what helps them deliver results. If you’re just looking for a nine to five job and are not willing to go the extra mile, that’s not the right kind of person to have on your team. We want employees who want to see the company grow and grow with it.”

Setting realistic goals will help you help your salespeople succeed, Gaskill says. “Providing incentives like profit sharing and commissions, as well as involving your sales staff in continued training will encourage them to work hard and develop new strategies on their own.”

On The Hunt

Once you have a person or team you know you can trust, what is the next step? Pursuing business in ways that will earn loyalty from longtime customers and win you new clients.

In Miami, American Transportation goes after both corporate and retail work, Noches says. Since the area has a heavy population of Latin Americans, quinceañeras and weddings are a big area of revenue for them. “We focus on different markets depending on the season. Summer is big on tourism, and a lot of corporate meetings and events take place in the winter months.”

They are always looking to deliver the best possible service by focusing on details. The best way to win over clients is to make sure they perceive you care about their needs and the experience they receive. “We understand they aren’t paying the lowest price for transportation, and want to live up to their expectations. This all starts from the beginning of the reservation process. Being nice and demonstrating you truly care is the best strategy,” she says.

Fieldhouse created an acronym for how she looks for new business: D.I.M.E.— develop, implement, measure, and evaluate. She wants staff to present new ideas no matter how crazy they may sound. “We’ve been very successful with encouraging people to take risks to develop something new. It’s never frowned upon. If it’s a win, great; if not, you live and learn,” she says.

R&R has diversified the types of business they go after because of what they experienced during the 2008 recession. “It caused a lot of execs to make meetings as cost effective as possible, and it hit us hard because we were heavily into corporate. Over the years we’ve deliberately tried to differentiate, so if another happens we’ll have enough revenue streams to keep us safe.”

Denver is growing, so Moore says that means many opportunities for new business. “We stay active in our local market with the convention bureau and meeting planners. It’s important to be visible, listen to their needs, and execute it to the best of our ability,” she says.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t also be focusing on how you’ll keep current clients happy. Gaskill finds this a must for companies merging with another, as he is. “We make sure we are massaging and incentivizing the clients we have. We want to keep them loyal during the transition,” he says. He also notes you should check with corporate clients to see if they’ll need transportation wherever they are traveling to in addition to the initial airport run. 

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Related Topics: casinos, Harrah's, hiring, How To, LCT-NLA Show East, limo tradeshows, marketing/sales, Sales & Marketing, salesperson

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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