Kale Flagg often cites NuSkin International’s Mark Yarnell’s statement that approximately “60% of all salespeople quit during their first year.” This is the most important part of the learning curve, believes Flagg. Yarnell’s corollary observation, according to Kale Flagg, is that of the 40% who don’t quit during that first year, 90% will achieve wealth beyond their wildest imaginations.
To help prevent sales personnel from quitting during that initial year, Yarnell advises warning them of those first year pitfalls before they lose their excitement. Kale Flagg adds that this new driving enthusiasm is crucial to their success and once it is gone, the chance of getting it back are virtually nil. The first year or two is an education period, Kale Flagg describes, and nothing can be more disheartening than being mocked by customers, competitors and even friends and family. Ridicule, or even soft questioning, can lead to someone becoming discouraged and giving up. By letting a new employee know what to expect, Kale Flagg believes a team leader can help make sales fun and painless, even in the early stages. Preparation and anticipation are critical, he says.
Kale Flagg is amazed how many managers bring new sales people into a business, create unbelievable enthusiasm, and then waste all of it by sending prospects into the field unprepared. Nothing kills enthusiasm like early failure. Sending new sales people out to start making sales calls after a single training session is like showing an infant basic swimming techniques, then walking away, saying, “Go to it, Junior!” If you want to teach a baby how to swim, you have to do it one step at a time, according to Kale Flagg. Just as you should start to teach an infant to swim by gradually bringing him or her around water, you should teach a new recruit about your business by first enabling them to have a thorough understanding of the product, the competition—all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses that they might hear about in the field from competitors or customers. Where seeing water would motivate an infant to swim, Kale Flagg believes that seeing first hand how sales will be profitable, fun, entertaining and rewarding can be just as motivational for a new sales person.
But it shouldn’t stop there. Kale Flagg says that the introduction to your enterprise is only the beginning of the learning process for your new sales people. In the early days, a team leader should spend great amounts of time increasing a sales person’s understanding of the products, services, your industry and the competition. Those days should be spent doing sales presentations and solicitation calls with your new sales person listening in on the conversations, Kale Flagg advises.
As the sales person’s experience and abilities increase, Kale Flagg says that he or she will be ready to start working independently. During this time, though, it is important to continue working with them and monitoring and insuring their improvements. It is through this first year–not only not quitting but also by growing–– that Kale Flagg believes new personnel will learn how to duplicate and operate independently. In other words, new sales people should be able to work in a different city or even on a different continent without supervision after they’ve been properly trained to experience success.
However, Kale Flagg stresses that a team leader shouldn’t be doing all the work in the new recruit’s first six months either. The goal is a balance. Flagg says, “you should never do anything for your new employee that they could do for him or herself.” Achieve the middle ground between abandoning your new baby and nursing a seven-year-old, Kale Flagg counsels, for optimum success.
Kale Flagg is a former Wall Street businessman who now makes his home in Nevada. Currently, he serves as Chief Operations Officer for Array Asset Management and the General Partner for the American Redevelopment Fund.