- Jacqui Van Der Riet
- Designation: Managing Director and Co-Owner
- Company: UDM International (Pty) Limited. UDM is an outbound sales call centre specialising in the direct selling of products. UDM sells insurance policies and cosmetics throughout South Africa.
- Career summary: Started as a PA at UDM International in 1994 at a time when there was only one sales agent.
- Sales Force size: 400+ employees at any given time including trainees.
What do you attribute success in your sales organisation to?
Annual targets are set and monthly planning is done where each staff member is set an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly target. The objectives of the business are communicated to all staff individually and in groups on a continual basis. The necessary tools, communication and support are offered and training is done to ensure we achieve and exceed our goals.
Individuals are recognised, successes are celebrated and challenges are picked up quickly and rectified. Passionate micro-managing is the key ingredient to our success.
What is your sales leadership style?
I have a variety of styles to suit different situations. We pride ourselves on being a company that is inclusive of the values and opinions of all our staff. We have an open-door policy and we encourage out-the-box thinking and quick implementation of new ideas. There are times when tough decisions need to be made, however, and we do not shy away from enforcing our values of honesty, integrity, discipline and hard work. The key is to be firm but fair.
What advice do you have on attaining growth goals in sales?
Set yourself and your staff high sales targets. People love rising to the occasion. I always relate it back to training with a personal trainer. If he says you need to do 20 sit-ups, you will be dying at number 19. If he had said do 30 sit-ups, you would only be dying at number 29. It’s a mind-set of where you want to be.
Use any tools available to you to produce stats. Make sure they are accurate and lead your team with this knowledge. Nothing is more valuable than the ability to have an honest and informative discussion with each individual in your sales organisation on what is really happening in their working day. Numbers don’t lie and your staff will respect the fact that you know so much about them.
Build relationships with the people that you’re in business with. We’ve had a weekly four-hour session with our clients for the past sixteen years. This has been invaluable in the growth and success of both businesses. I also have weekly off-site internal strategy meetings with my teams where we work through a specific agenda.
Love what you do and lead with passion. It is contagious.
What has been your greatest learning in sales gained from advice?
I have taken advice from so many business books and the following comes to mind: Attitude is almost everything. Keep developing a great attitude. This works at UDM International. Lead with knowledge. Understand every aspect of your business. Be authentic in your dealings with every staff member and client. And finally, there is no replacement for hard work.
What has been your most valuable mistake in sales?
It’s only in the last year and a half that we have paired our most difficult sales with our most talented sales staff. Our best agents were focused on re-sales so that they could achieve large volumes of sales, but we realised we needed them more on the acquisition of new business.
We changed our model and payment structures and it’s been a phenomenal success in growing and sustaining our sales quantities. The mistake was not doing this sooner. Sometimes we’re blinded by quick turnover instead of sustainable business.
What is your personal mantra?
Fake it until you make it. I use this all the time, because sales is such a mental game. If we can tell ourselves that we’re confident, happy, successful, and at the top of our game, our clients will believe it and we will become it.
I would much prefer a company where everyone is strutting their stuff, as opposed to one where you can hear a pin drop and have to search for a smile. We seriously encourage strutting.