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Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Stamping Out Sales Whining

July 2013 By Bill Farquharson, T.J. Tedesco

Sales whining is at an all-time high. The CDC in Atlanta has put it on the "Watch" list as complaining by salespeople (particularly in the printing industry) nears epidemic proportions. But fear not, PI readers, as this national crisis has caught the attention of your (t)rusty correspondents, and an action plan is being implemented. Through awareness, education and training, and the obligatory golf tournament in the Bahamas (hey, we need a fundraiser, right?), we believe that we can stamp out sales whining in our lifetime. First let's cover the symptoms to help you identify potential outbreaks in your area.

Look for the signs. If you or your sales rep(s) utter any of the following phrases, he or she might be suffering from an acute case of sales whining:

  • "Prices are ridiculous out there. I've never seen them so bad. People are giving jobs away. Boss, I could compete if I had better pricing."
  • "My production department just screws up the orders that I bring in. Why bother to try for any new business?"
  • "I can't get around voice-mail. No one is calling me back. My introductory letters go out and I don't hear from anyone."
  • "I have way too much work to do to prospect."
  • "The prospect says, 'We already have a printer,' so I guess they are all set."
  • "No one is buying printing. I know because I call and ask if they have anything I can quote on and they all say, 'no.' "
  • "I don't understand it. They've always bought from me, but this time they switched vendors for a few dollars less. Go figure."

What is going on here? The times are changing, for sure. As pointed out in May, selling in 2013 is far more difficult than at any other time in recent history. Salespeople who have failed to adapt have been desperately hanging on to accounts without adopting the kinds of new/old sales activities required to grow business. The result? More whine than there is in all of Napa Valley!

So many of the problems salespeople squabble about are within their control to avoid or cure. But, what it takes first is a healthy dose of reality...



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