Recently, I made a few hires for the upcoming season for my lawn care business. They’re all good, motivated people, but one really stands out from the rest. I could see him moving out of the field and into a sales position before the end of the year. How should I begin laying the groundwork for this idea?
This is great to hear. Believe me, I know the feeling when you look at roomful of people and realize you’ve built a really good team. I’m excited for you!
One of the first things I’d do is talk to some other owners of landscaping companies outside your area that are about your company’s size and pick their brains as to how they’re structured. Let them know you’re thinking about hiring your first salesman, and find out how they pay their team and if it’s working well for everyone.
What we’re talking about here is called best practices in business. Find something that works for someone else in your industry and apply it to your specific situation. Think about it this way: If you wanted to lose weight, you’d begin by doing what people who have shed some pounds are doing, right? You want to emulate behavior that’s been proven to generate positive results.
I’d also advise you to make sure the person you’re talking about is on board with the idea and that he understands that any compensation agreement you initiate in the beginning will be implemented on a trial basis for a specified length of time. You’re venturing into uncharted territory here, Dan, so come up with a temporary compensation plan that’s satisfying to you both at the onset. Then, have an agreement to revisit the plan in 90 days, six months or even a year down the road. There may be a little bit of give and take involved, and it’ll take some time, but at the end of the day, you’ve both got to be okay with the upside and downside of the scale and the results.
You’ll both be really happy if he’s busting it and making himself and the company successful. But as a business owner, you’ll want him to feel a little pressure if he’s not producing—for himself and for you!
* Leadership and small-business expert Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored eight national bestselling books, including EntreLeadership, and is a host of The Ramsey Show and The EntreLeadership Podcast.