“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.”
The principles are the same regardless of your title. Not everything is about the Sale.
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.”
I will never forget a conversation I had with a former manager. He was one of my many mentors and an absolute pleasure to work with. He said to me “I always wondered if the predominantly male sector was nurturing enough for you?”
The reason for his comment I presume is due to my career choice of working in male dominated sectors. Construction, Roofing, Lumber, Concrete, etc., I met many wonderful people in the field. It is the highlight of what I consider to be a successful start to my career and now its time to pay it forward.
The most important aspect of Sales is your willingness and commitment to build the relationship. Add value by demonstrating the products and services you are offering. If you know who your competitors are, you will know what the value is. Be all ears and listen to the message your customer is expressing.
Don’t waste their time going on and on. Introduce yourself, the Company you represent and the reason for your visit. Never push products or services on a Customer during the initial meeting.
I won’t lie and say it doesn’t take hard work because it does. Follow-up within 24 hours of the initial sales call by sending an email thanking them for their time and letting them know that if you can help in anyway to reach out. Every few weeks (3), touch base by picking up the phone, leaving a message or sending an email. Always leave it in the Customer’s hands to get back to you but follow-up regardless.
Let me share an experience with you of what happens and what is possible when you don’t quit. I was working in the Refractory Industry (Refractories are a critical part of the operation of most high temperature units).
I was trying to get into this one business and kept leaving messages or sending follow-up emails. Nine months later I receive a call from the Customer to come and do an inspection on one of their vessels. To make a long story short, I wouldn’t be in town so I had arranged for one of my Construction Managers to fly out and do the inspection. We quoted the Customer and were awarded the work. During the initial call the Customer had commented that he was willing to give us a shot because he remembered that I’ve been calling or emailing every few weeks.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
The work was completed to the Customer’s Satisfaction. In fact, we not only took business away from our Competitors but, signed a 5-year maintenance agreement for future repairs.
Many sales professionals may think it isn’t worth investing the time, but like any Company or Entrepreneur knows, you must be willing to invest the time and grow the relationship.
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
It does not matter what industry or product you are selling, what is important is that you consider the following:
Using the above example who are the key people to contact? i.e. Maintenance Engineers, Maintenance Planners, Plant Managers, Purchasing …
Identify who the decision makers are and go talk to them.
Identify who looks after the work i.e. Shutdown Planner or Maintenance Manager
Is the an existing “Contract in Place?” Ask:
- Does this mean they do all, of your maintenance work?
- When does, this Contract expire and who will be deciding who the next contract will be awarded to?
- Who do I have to see right now to determine if we are a “Qualified Bidder.” If you are not, ask how to get your Company prequalified and “Who you need to see.”
- When is the work to take place and what is the work?
- Do you have all your Maintenance for this year planned?
- Are you having a Maintenance shutdown that includes Refractory work?
If you are talking to the decision maker, ask:
- Is there anyone else here that I should see that we would be working with?
- Does purchasing have an influence on who does the work? If so, Who in Purchasing can I talk to.
If you are not talking to the decision maker, ask:
- Who will be making this decision?
- Who are the people, is it one individual or a group of people?
- I am new on the block, so I want to make sure I have all my bases covered.
If you lose an order, find out why. Ask:
- Were our prices high i.e. Labour or Equipment rates. Where did we miss the boat?
“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”
~Michael John Boba
If there is a sign on the door indicating NO SOLICITING and you don’t know who to contact, walk in and say something. IE., Introduce yourself and the Company you represent. Explain that you don’t know who to contact and would it be possible to leave some information and obtain a contact name. This way you have an opportunity to follow-up and the Customer has your info. Never lose out on the opportunity to leave your information. And remember to follow-up.
“Trust because you are willing to accept the risk, not because it’s safe or certain”
There is a big difference between arrogance and confidence. When you are confident, there is nothing that will stand in your way of getting there.
“Why settle for ordinary when you can stand out and be different.”
“Telling a story is one of the best ways we have of coming up with new ideas, and also of learning about each other and our world.”