Vanishing Profits?

What's The Problem?

The first step is deciding whether you need a sales consultant. While there's no specific criteria, there are a few signs to look for--the most obvious being results. If sales are down, a good consultant can provide you with solutions. Maybe salespeople aren't using their time well or aren't receiving effective training. Maybe they aren't up to speed on changes in the industry.

Sales don't have to be in a free fall before you make a call. In fact, if they are, you've probably waited too long. Consider a specialist when sales are 5 or 10 percent below the projections, not when they've hit 50 percent--at that point, you might be in the market for a miracle-worker rather than a consultant.

A consultant can also help if the sales department is flat. The numbers may be fine, but the team has hit a wall of sorts--an inevitable part of being in sales. As anyone in sales knows, a whole department can go through a slump, and sometimes it takes an outsider to come in and shake things up.

In addition, consultants can help when your company is evolving. If you're expanding into new markets, opening additional offices or hiring reps, a specialist can assist you in making a smooth transition. So once you decide you need a consultant, how do you choose one?

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Vanishing Profits?.

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