Gregg Wallick kicked off this year’s Best of Success conference with a presentation titled “How to Build a World-Class Sales Organization.” He drew heavily on his experience as a 35-year veteran of the roofing industry to drive his points home. “What I’m going to talk about is tested. None of this is theory,” he said. “I did it the wrong way. Now I do it the right way.”
Wallick is the president and CEO of Best Roofing, a commercial contractor headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He attended the University of Miami on a football scholarship, where he earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees. In his senior year his teammates elected him the defensive team captain, and he also served as an assistant coach for the Hurricanes for two years, so it’s no surprise his presentation was peppered with sports metaphors. Wallick’s overarching message was this: “Success happens when you consistently practice basic fundamentals.”
Wallick detailed the key elements of a successful sales organization, including defining the sales process, hiring the right people, providing leadership and holding the team accountable. He shared the methods he used to increase his company’s closing ratio from 43 percent to 58 percent in three years. “Think about this: When our sales guys go out, six in 10 people they touch do business with them,” he said. “If you can increase your closing ratio, it’s a win-win.
Wallick recommends that attendees prepare a written job description for every position in the company. “If you can get your process defined and practice it, you’ll make fewer mistakes,” he said.
He detailed the two basic types of salespeople: hunters — competitive types who thrive on bringing in new business — and farmers — who cultivate relationships and help customers grow. “I’m not saying one method is better than the other, but they are different,” Wallick said. “Some clients hate one type of salesperson. You have to know your clients and use the salespeople who best match your customers.”
A great game plan is important, but having the right people in place is even more crucial. “Hiring the right people is the most important ingredient in your success,” Wallick said. “It’s easier to train someone with no skills that to retrain someone who has bad habits.” He finds his best recruiters are his existing staff members, and he rewards them with a $500 bonus if someone they recruit works for the company for 90 days.
Hiring the wrong person can waste time and resources, and Wallick believes a personality assessment test can be the best method to prevent that from happening. “Different jobs require different responsibilities,” he said. “A personality assessment is one of the best tools you can use to find out who you are talking to.”
Wallick recommended that business owners provide timely, consistent feedback as part of the coaching process. This includes setting goals and measuring results, including the closing ratio by both dollar amount and number of touches for the entire company and each salesperson. “What gets measured gets done,” Wallick said. “Don’t manage results — manage behaviors.”
He encouraged everyone to read Good to Great by Jim Collins, calling it “the bible of business.” He also urged attendees to look into sales coaching to boost performance. “Athletes practice 10 times as much as they play,” he said. “I’m a big believer in coaches.”
Wallick also believes in persistence. He cited statistics that show that only 10 percent of salespeople make more than three contacts with prospective customers, but 80 percent of sales are made on the fourth to twelfth contacts. Wallick recommends asking customers when the most appropriate time to follow up would be and the best method for reaching them — email, text or phone call. “Ask permission,” he said. “If we can be the last man standing, we’ll get more work. I embed this in our salespeople: Be the last man standing.”