Entreleadership: Ask Dave Ramsey

*Published with permission in November, 2014 newsletter*

The Ask Dave series is brought to you by the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership team. In this series, Dave Ramsey will answer questions that come into his radio show or at his live EntreLeadership events across the country. Dave will address a couple of questions each month with the same methodology that he uses everyday in running his business.

Re-ignite The Fire

Dear Dave,
How do you reignite a sales team member’s fire once they have reached a financial goal they set for themselves? – David

Dear David,
I love team members who have the energy and drive to go out and make the sales. But when it comes to this type of work, you’ve always got to be on the lookout for someone who is there simply to collect big checks.

I call a person who is on some type of commission, and brings in more than they cost you per unit, a tiger. These are the types you want in commission-based roles, because they enjoy the chase and the thrill of the hunt. But it’s a little difficult to change things with people who are already in place and have been with you a long time. You can talk to them about the situation and their goals, or you can change the environment around them or their compensation structure and give them every opportunity to catch fire again.

But I think the best thing is to spend lots of time and effort in the beginning making sure you pick the right people for the right jobs. At my company we stress the importance of having a crusade mentality. You have to be on fire for what you’re doing. You have to love your job, love the reason you’re here and love doing work that matters. We’re a Super Bowl team, David. We’re not setting a goal of getting to the playoffs. We’re playing for the ring every time.

You have to understand that what I’m talking about isn’t something you can suddenly start cramming down people’s throats. It’s a gradual, gentle process. But the first and most important thing is to surround yourself with winners and give them what they need in terms of motivation to win on a consistent basis. It’s not acceptable for someone to reach a particular goal and then slack off or start doing things in a half-butt kind of way. I’m not okay with that at all!    — Dave

Expensive Lesson Learned

Dear Dave,
I work for a civil engineering firm that makes about $1 million annually. Two years ago one of our new clients didn’t pay a $40,000 invoice, even though a promissory note was signed. Our company sued him and won, but his assets can’t settle the bill. Do you think we should continue to pursue this?  – Sarah

Dear Sarah,
You can hit a rock with a hammer, and it will never bleed. In other words, there’s no money to get because he doesn’t have it. Unless you think you’re dealing with a snake, and he’s going to great lengths to try and hide something, I’m just going to use this lesson learned and change my sales procedures and requirements to reflect the experience.

You might want to spend a little effort looking into things a bit deeper. You could even spend something on a private detective to try and search out bank accounts and other assets. Try to find out where the snake laid its eggs. Who knows? You might be able to squeeze a few thousand out of the situation.

Still, I wouldn’t spend a lot more time, effort or money chasing this guy. You let him get too far into you for a new client. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably just go make more money, see how I could learn from the lesson and make the changes necessary so I never had to go back there again!   —Dave

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