As a salesman and the vice president of sales for a large home improvement company, Rodney Webb closed 91% of appointments. Today he operates his own home improvement company and is prominent in the industry as a speaker and sales trainer.

Webb's next sales boot camp will be held September 10–12 in Atlanta. See for more information.

REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR: Is the level of professionalism in the salespeople you work with higher than in the past?

RODNEY WEBB: I see more professionalism and a higher-quality salesperson. But I also see declining professionalism in the training done by companies themselves. A number I've worked with may have just one sales meeting per month. So we're getting a higher-quality salesperson, but they have no practice.

RC: What are the consequences of that?

RW: Their closing percentages are in the teens and twenties.

RC: You use something called the Rodney Ratio. Describe it, please.

RW: It combines closing percentage with demo rate.

At my company, 130 is the standard. So you could be closing at 60% and demo'ing at 70%. The advantage of measuring this way is that, for instance, if somebody is demo'ing at 90% and closing at 40%, I know what I need to work on with him: closing. If he's closing at 80% and demo'ing at 50%, I need to work on his work ethic.

RC: How many times a week do you hold a sales meeting and why?

RW: Three. When I ran track, we practiced our events three days a week. If you went three or four days without practicing, it was like you hadn't practiced in a month. It's the same thing in sales. It starts to go away after a few days.

RC: What goes on in those sales meetings?

RW: I teach the 10-step sales presentation. Today, for instance, we practiced step two, the walk-around. Every two weeks we do a complete presentation. I start with one salesperson, then at some point I stop him and point to someone else, who picks right up where the previous salesperson left off. We call it “Hot Potato.” We also practice all kinds of objections. And we practice laying the price out and asking for the order. And we put people in the “hot seat.” They do their entire presentation and everyone else grades them.

RC: What do you mean by “selling to the senses”?

RW: What I teach is how to go into a home and stimulate as many senses as possible. For instance, if you're using a heat lamp, don't use a gauge to measure the heat loss, let the customer feel it with his hand. Let prospects see it, feel it, hear it. And stand up and walk around when you're presenting. Keep them involved. Make them a part of the story.