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

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.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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