Tag Archives: management

Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team

Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team
By Talmar Anderson

On the rise with ecommerce and online products are the opportunities to grow your sales team. Or on the flip side, a way to increase your income through recommending people, brands and products for compensation. Do either of these options really sound like a bad idea for your business? This incentive creates questions and worry for both the entrepreneur considering this “cut” into their profits and the referral source. I do believe that this can work for a variety of industries so let’s talk a little bit about affiliations!

As a potential commissioned referral source, a common argument stems from the concern that you do not want to be perceived as solely incentivized by being paid to recommend something or someone.  That it could appear as self-serving as opposed to prioritizing the needs of your contact. I get it. I too walked the line for many years and turned down offers of compensation from great providers and vendors that I 100% believed in and to whom I continually referred. I wanted to be able to point to my referrals and say that I was only recommending them as a great solution for prospects.

After several years and establishing a reputation for referring the best possible referrals for each individual need, I realized that I was literally leaving money on the table.  Yep. I was going to refer those people anyway. Yes, I could genuinely and honestly look prospects in the eye to assure them that my expertise, education and experience led to any recommendation. Not the check book! I do have a few affiliates (from tools like Lead Pages or ConvertKit to trusted business owners that can offer a benefit to my clients and audience like The Lucky Bitch) that I recommend when it fits.

Now what if you are thinking of paying affiliates or commissions to other referral sources? I know, they SHOULD be referring to you because you are amazing and no one can solve your clients issues as well. However, sometimes the marketing campaign to be in front of your referral sources can get lost in your company’s outreach to new lead generation or current prospects.  It is true…there are only so many hours in a day.

By monetizing those referrals, you allow the source to be incentivized and rewarded for sales.  The first time that income comes back to them, your company WILL be top of mind.

What about doing the numbers to decide?  In our example, we are offering a 25% affiliate fee on a $100 product. Imagine you could average 10 sales a month of your $100 product through your own company. Boom! $1,000

Now imagine if one of your best strategic partners could get you in front of another 10 people but maybe only 3 bought through them.  $300 – $75 = $225 income for YOUR company.  This came off someone else’s marketing and sales efforts (AND expense!). Your referral source was already planning on being in front of this market.  They qualified the need for your solution and completed the sale for you! This effort exposed your company and services to a wider market and grew your revenue by 22% thus expanding your credibility AND cash flow!

Plus, it is TOTALLY FUN to cut a check to those referral sources with a big, fat THANK YOU written on it.  The referral source is excited because they just made another $75 off conversations they were going to be having anyway.

Could you operate profitably and scale your business by having a stronger pool of pre-qualified prospects? While this example is based off a client’s experience, consider that we developed a specific and strategic operational plan to support the intake, payment tracking and communications with these referral sources. For success, this is will require creating another operational layer. However, with the right affiliates you gain access to new markets and qualified sales.  This can be especially beneficial during new launches or product offerings.

It may not be right for every company but in the on-demand market of small businesses, sales forces are much smaller than the larger corporations had access to in the past.  Is it worth it to your company’s bottom line to find a way to reward those strategic partners that are already working on creating income themselves?  It is something to consider when looking for new ways to grow your revenues.

Now GO! Grow!

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Telecommutting Productively or Eating Bonbons?

Telecommuting Productively or Eating Bonbons?
How Do You Know?

By Talmar Anderson

When working with clients to define their organizational structure and hire strategically, my clients all want to know how to manage telecommuters efficiently! While we all make sure to hire the right candidate with strong skills and train them on our companies policies and procedures, we must eventually turn them loose to do the job. But then the business owner’s devil on the shoulder wonders, “Am I really getting what I am pay for?  What if they are really eating Bonbons and Doritos while watching a documentary on hoarders?  What if they have kids under their feet when they are billing my company and clients? How do I know that they are doing what they say they are doing?’  Control issues much…? I COMPLETELY understand!

The desire to attract employees and build a company that includes freedom does have to come with a vigorous hiring process and a healthy dose of faith on YOUR part.

  • Faith that your employees want to be productive.
  • Faith that they will always do their professional best.
  • Faith that they will prioritize your business needs equally with their personal needs.

Even the best reference checks and a consistent weekly management meeting schedule can sometimes lose out to that inner voice of doubt that all entrepreneurs’ share. You have two options if this is constantly running around in your head. And yes, this is about managing YOU but will require a strategic decision for your business model.

You can stop offering telecommuting and start creating an office space.  There ARE great benefits to having a collaborative working environment that houses all the employees under the same roof.  Often times, company and staff communications can be stronger. There is also a higher probability of achieving a successful culture that “feels like family”. However, this is counter to the “ideal” some business owners feel driven to offer when flexibility is a part of their core values.

If managing telecommuting employees is a business model you are drawn to, there are a few steps you can take to create consistency, customer service and keep YOUR sanity.

So here are my 3 tips for successfully building and managing your telecommuting staff:

  • Clear roles and expectations –
    • When they will work, how they will communicate, accountability buy in and specifically assigned responsibilities help here.
  • Reward performance instead of hours logged –
    • Consider salaries based on the value of the end results as opposed to how long or how quickly a project takes (This does NOT relieve you from managing and understanding the workload required for delivery of your products and services!)
  • Care less about face time! –
    • Instead of worrying that you did not SEE how the sausage was made exactly, get comfortable with the sausage being delicious, delivered on time AND one less thing that YOU have to do. Consider the value to your business that it is finished well and on time?

The decision to use telecommuting roles in your business model requires you to look into how you not only want to see your company’s daily operations work but also how to build a company that can meet your clients’ needs while reassuring yourself that your employees are on the same mission as you.  Freedom still needs to include satisfying the business owner that everyone is operating at peak performance. Know yourself well enough to know if you will be satisfied paying for the employees to meet your deadlines EVEN if they were eating bonbons. If you have the right team…YOU need to be able to let go.

Now GO! Grow!

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