How many actual sales people do you have that you can call up with a new product idea and ask them “how many stores can you get this into”?

To really grow your business, what you need is sales. To really get sales is to go find the people that are out in the marketplace every day hustling up sales through their relationship networks.

There, I said it. Relationship networks. That’s the deal. Here’s why?

To fully leverage market penetration, you need enough relationships to expand your business. If your internal capacity with all else that you do is to properly manage 20 relationships would you rather that was 20 stores that buy for themselves or 20 sales people with 50 relationships (or 1000 stores)? There you go. I choose sales people.

The simple fact is, to introduce every new product, you need to KNOW where it will sell-in. If you have 20 sales people, you can communicate with them quickly, get them into the market with your new item and get it placed at some percentage of their stores. If you introduce products without any awareness of whether the channel you are in will buy it, you are taking a huge risk with inventory dollars every time, that you don’t have to take!

Want more sales – get more sales people or replace the underperformers you have tolerated all this time. The best decisions I ever made were to let underperforming sales people go. They almost always said “thank you”. They just couldn’t bring themselves to leave because it had gotten comfortable.

Focus on Sales or you will have no business at all in very short order. Attracting sales people is about them making money with your products. Complicated? Not at all. Just like stores, they want to make as much income as possible with your products from the time they first present it (independent reps will be making presentations of your products on their time). Stores want to make more money with your product than whatever is in the store space that your product will replace.

As was so well said by Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money”. As wonderful as your products are, the consumer is the only one buying it because they personally like it. The stores, the sales people, the distributors, they are all buying it because it is making money.

If you don’t know how to do that, that’s a serious obstacle to your growth.