Credit: Illustration: Pieprzyk

A few years ago Renewal by Andersen of Las Vegas had two guys apply for a sales position. "They said, 'The only way we'll take this is if you hire us both,'" managing partner Shane Schuckman recalls. The duo said they would run leads together and were certain they would close twice as many.

Six months later, one rep was terminated; the other left with him. "They were good," Schuckman acknowledges ? though not twice as good.

And while RBA of Las Vegas has no formal policy of sending two salespeople out on the same appointment, it doesn't prohibit the practice either, and reps occasionally form such tag teams on their own. Schuckman says that, having sometimes run on two-man calls, he can see their value.

Occasions Permitting

Tri-State of Branford, a Connecticut home improvement company, only sends two people on a call if one of the reps is being trained or re-trained. If leads are in short supply, owner Brad Pompilli says, the rep with the best slugging average gets the lead.

Veteran industry sales trainer Rick Grosso suggests that, in addition to training and management ride-alongs, sending two reps may be warranted if leads are in short supply or if the appointment is about discussing a multi-part project ? say windows and roofing ? where the rep isn't trained to sell both products.

Grosso also believes that when leads are in short supply, every rep should get a lead to run at night, and those who have no daytime leads should ride along, to stoke their enthusiasm for later. Whatever the circumstances, he points out, homeowners should always be told, to avoid them feeling they're being "ganged up on."

Team Approach

Brian Brock, sales and marketing manager at Hullco Exteriors, in Chattanooga, Tenn., says that he is considering implementing a "team approach" to sales when leads are fewer in the winter months. His idea: Pair up people on Hullco's five-man salesforce who can learn from, or find inspiration in, each other's skills or selling style. Reps would split commissions, with the sales amount toward monthly goals credited to one rep or the other.

Schuckman says that when two people go on a call, which happens about once a month at RBA of Las Vegas, and it works, it works because one rep feels shored up by the other's presence. "When a rep goes alone, there's more anxiety," Schuckman says. "With two, they draw confidence from each other."