By Bob Hurt
On Saturday night, 19 August 2000, in the banquet room of Chicago's Sheraton hotel, the applause of a rave audience of 1500 brought the roof down. That audience was comprised of the water treatment equipment industry's most powerful sales people and telemarketers, with their managers and families in rapt attendance. Finally, a true SALES ROCKET had been recognized.
The crowd roared into a standing ovation as Rainsoft's Vice President of Sales Don Miller announced Captain Norman Eugene Hurt, 16-year veteran salesman for Houston, Texas' premier Rainsoft distributor, Quality Water Systems Inc, as the corporation's #1 Salesman in the World. "There wasn't a dry seat in the house", said Rainsoft founder John Grayson after the tumult had subsided, "including my own."
The World's Greatest Salesman announcement was part of the awards ceremonies at Rainsoft's corporate convention which is held every 18 months in Chicago, near the company headquarters in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Top producers from distributors all over the world attend the event to learn the latest sales techniques, enjoy the banquets and seminars, and bask in the joy of association with others in the business.
Also announced were top dealerships in various categories, top telemarketers, and other top salespersons. Norman's Quality Water colleagues were delighted at other awards won in their office: Owner Bill McGraw and General Manager Carl Brenner garnered the award for #9 office; telemarketer Maria Aguilera won #5 inside salesperson, and saleswoman Carol Litchhult was recognized as the #5 salesperson in the world, making her the world's top saleswoman.
In addition to being a salesman, Norman Hurt is also Sales Manager of the office. The Bill-Carl-Luis-Norman owner-office-marketing-sales management team have provided a clean, comfortable, high-energy, fun, family-style working environment that makes employee turnover one of the lowest in the industry. Employee benefits help, too. Employees get disability insurance, retirement, paid medical insurance, and profit sharing, and they love working there. Of the ten salespersons in the office, most have tenures of more than 5 years. The most recently hired salesperson has been there nearly two years. Low turnover means high-efficiency. Thus, management staff can spend more time supporting productive salespersons, and do not suffer the waste of constantly having to train new sales people.
Norman Hurt is so good, and getting new customers comes so naturally to him, that many people look upon him as a "Sales Rocket" from another world. And as shown by the results in his office, those who follow in his footsteps will ultimately trek into the winner's spotlight just as he does.
Being number one in anything is no trivial feat, but being best salesman for the world's top manufacturer of commercial and home water treatment equipment, popularly known as "water softeners", is demanding, according to Don Miller, and you must see yourself as a champion. You must "have the eye of an eagle, the heart of 10,000 Bengal tigers, and NEVER give up, never, never, NEVER!". Miller repeatedly gave salespeople and distributors this rousing encouragement in his convention seminars.
It takes focus, determination, persistence, skill, a gracious personality, bounteous sense of humor, a magnificently positive outlook on life, and a genuine love for one's fellows to be #1.
In fact, to be #1 in sales of Rainsoft systems you have to:
Norman Hurt works a full-time job for Quality Water Systems. Part of his time is taken up with sales management duties, and the other part with running leads. Norman's typical work schedule allows plenty of free time in which to play and spend time with the family.
|"I'm not a lead runner
Or a lead runner's son,
But I'll run leads till the
Lead runner comes."
When he is not running leads or assisting sales people, Norman spends most of his spare time at home or in activities with his daughter Ashley, an active teenager in high school. His fatherly guidance and solid friendship, coupled with her vivacious personality, intelligence, and broad interests, have helped Ashley to be an A student throughout her childhood. She is excited about her position on the school yearbook staff.
What this means is that a #1 salesperson must be balanced in his life by developing impeccable skills, looking for the joy in his work, having a good office environment with proper backup from team players, and maintaining loyalty to God, self, job, family, and friends. A mediocre salesman with a good product and solid, reliable support from his family and his managers and other colleagues back at the office can often out-earn an excellent salesman with always outsell an excellent salesman with a nagging spouse, harping boss, indolent or incompetent office staff, indifferent lead-setters, lazy or inept installers, or a product that just does not work as expected.
Thus, a massive amount of credit goes to the owner (Bill) and general manager (Carl) of the distributorship. Since they care about their employees and customers as much or more than the almighty dollar, and they are devoted to the successes of all, they create the kind of working environment and benefits package that allows people to be productive and take home a fat paycheck commensurate with contributions to the success of the company.
The water treatment systems business is no place for managers who try to wring the last ounce of work out of their employees. Good dealers never impose grueling schedules, zero benefits, or stiff fines on their employees. Instead, every good dealer has his own way of pampering his workers and taking the pressure off them so they can focus on being happy and productive. Good dealers respect the dignity of their breadwinners. As a result, the dealers earn money for themselves, sow seeds of harmony in the community of available sales and marketing talent. In such dealerships, turnover is low, and the operation is efficient because less time is spent recruiting and training
In addition, families of all salespeople will benefit as a result of sane and benign management practices. In a typical well-managed operation, salespersons are sent to run only the best leads, salespersons get home at reasonable hours after running evening appointments, and salespersons are more available to their families.
Since all sales presentations must be made to both the husband and wife (unless the prospect is single and the only decision maker), most presentations are made in the late afternoon or evening. From this it is apparent that a competent salesperson need not even show up at the office except once or twice a week for a rah-rah meeting, and then only at 2PM. And then the salesperson will run leads from 4PM to 8PM. Sales contracts can be faxed to the office from the salesman's home, and he can receive his leads by fax or phone. In general this is the kind of system used at Quality Water Systems. And it the system under which Norman Hurt became the Greatest Salesman in the World for Rainsoft. Other businesses could profit from their examples.
If you would like more specific tips on how to deliver a spell-binding presentation that gets the signature on the bottom line, or on how to build a power-house sales team that stays with you forever, send Norman Hurt email by clicking on the Sales Rocket above.