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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Successful Sales Reps are APTT to Succeed (Part I)

 

Last week, Numo, Fire Enterprises (FEI) Accounting Tribe Leader, showed the FEI tribe how their business can grow by diversifying into new services in response to changing demand. This week, Sales Tribe Leader Zoot teaches his apprentice Helios four key attributes that every great salesperson should possess. Remember, fire = print.

One morning Helios, a novice FEI sales rep, entered Zoot’s office. “Do you have a moment, Zoot? I was hoping you could answer a question for me.”

“Of course!” Zoot was busy, but he always took advantage of opportunities to educate the less experienced reps.

“I really really want to succeed in sales. I’ve heard the best sales reps tend to have certain traits in common. What are these traits, and how can I develop them?”
 
Zoot nodded. “Great question. Early in my own sales career, I developed an easy-to-remember list of four key attributes that every great salesperson must possess. It’s served me well for decades now.”

Zoot scribbled on his office whiteboard: APTT.

“Attitude, Plan, Think and Tact,” Zoot said. “If you master just these four attributes, you're ‘APTT’ to win more business and lock in customers for the long haul.”

“Tell me more,” Helios said, clearly intrigued.

“Today let’s cover Attitude,” Zoot said. “If you don't think you can, or you don't want to, you won't. Attitude is the foundation upon which every successful sales career is built. A good attitude means taking advantage of every opportunity to get in front of clients and prospects—and knowing exactly what to do when you do. It's making that last call at 4:45 instead of skipping out early, or taking a later chariot ride back home to give yourself time to make a few important calls.

“On the other hand,” Zoot continued, “A negative attitude can poison your sales performance, your relationships with clients and eventually—since negative emotions tend to spread like pestilence—your entire organization.
 
“Here’s an example. Years ago, I had a good prospect—Chevy, President of Chevy’s Chariots—who always seemed just a little too busy to meet. I called to set up a lunch appointment, but he decli

ned. I suggested that I drop by for a mid-afternoon visit, but he mumbled about finishing some important projects. What would you do in this situation?”

“Perhaps attitude isn’t my strong suite,” Helios said. “Because I’d probably just throw up my hands in despair.”

“A good attitude means finding a way around roadblocks like these,” Zoot explained. “So I asked Chevy to meet for breakfast at 7am. I figured if I caught him before his day got busy, he’d actually have time to listen to my proposal. Sure, I had to get up a little earlier in the morning, but my willingness to be flexible with my schedule turned out to be just the icebreaker I needed. As I expected, Chevy was attentive and receptive to my message. And I could tell he was impressed by my willingness to go the extra mile.”

“And today Chevy’s is one of our largest clients!” Helios exclaimed.

“Bingo,” Zoot said. “Attitude is crucial to sales success. Ignore negative influences around you, which do nothing but undermine your efforts to achieve success. Instead, focus on all FEI has in our favor and turn it into a great selling proposition.”

“I can’t wait until our next lesson!” Helios said.

“Patience, Grasshopper,” Zoot said. “That’ll have to wait until next week.”

Next week: Zoot teaches Helios that planning is integral to sales success.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Every great salesperson must possess these four traits: Attitude, Plan, Think and Tact. Once you have mastered these traits, you're ‘APTT’ to win more business and lock in customers for the long haul.

FIRE! In Action: Don’t Let A Bad Attitude Poison Your Business
T.J. Tedesco recently talked with the owner of an ailing printing company, whose formerly 60-employee business had been reduced to 30 employees. Though the owner wasn’t quite ready to throw in the towel, Tedesco could hear defeat in his voice. A bad attitude at the top will infect the rest of the company and create a poisonous culture of despair that will only perpetuate bad fortune.

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