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Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: 10 Lessons No Longer Taught

March 2014 BY T.J. Tedesco, Bill Farquharson

If you would consider yourself a veteran salesperson (see also, "Vintage," "Old-School" and "Geezer"), it is likely that you experienced some form of training early in your career that included lessons on Prospecting, Time Management, Beating Voicemail and Overcoming Objections. That is, someone taught you the basic blocking and tackling required to be a success; successful enough to make it as far as you did, you old coot.

From there, you went on to learn the more subtle and obscure do's and don'ts of the sales craft on your own, likely through trial and error.

Sadly, most companies have trimmed their training budgets and new hires are thrown into the deep end of the pool with only a stack of business cards and a cell phone. No wonder the odds are against them from still being on payroll in a year or two (it also explains how the cell phones keep getting wet).

No one teaches sales professionalism or how to act in certain circumstances. No one teaches the nuances. Nowhere is there a list of the more subtle lessons in sales. New reps must learn what the rest of us know on their own. If only someone would step up and help. If only a magazine dedicated to the printing industry had highly paid sales columnists who wrote about such things. For if there were such a thing, it'd look something like this:

1 Never leave an angry voice mailKeep your frustration in check when on the phone. The rule is that you will not hear back from someone. The exception is when you do. Regardless of whether you are pursuing a client or a prospect, be prepared for the long haul and remember that you can always get angry later. For now, remain calm, citizens.

2 Never put anything in writing that you wouldn't want the client to seeThis one is even more important that the first rule. Let's say you write "annoying customer" on a quote request with an outside vendor. What if that comment never got erased and made its way to the customer? Your client would be justifiably irate if he/she saw it. Even when you are adding comments to your CRM system, show some class. By the way, this is a true story. It really happened!!!



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