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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 III)

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Sales Tribe Leader Zoot taught sales apprentice Helios that effective planning is key to selling success. This week, they discuss Thinking, the third APTT attribute that every great salesperson should possess. Remember, fire=print.

Helios entered Zoot’s office with a box of grape-flavored donuts. Zoot hadn’t yet eaten breakfast, and he immediately grabbed a donut and scarfed it down.

“Grape’s my favorite flavor!” Zoot exclaimed. “Good thinking, Helios. Speaking of which, today we’re going to discuss how ‘thinking’ is key to selling success.”

Helios was a little confused. “Isn't it obvious that a salesperson should always think when in front of customers? Do I really need a whole lesson on this?”

“In sales, though, there’s a right and wrong way to think,” Zoot said. “When you’re in front of a customer, are you thinking about what you're trying to say, or what your customer is saying? Which do you think wins us more fire business: good talking or good listening?”

“Good listening by a mile, every time,” Helios said, understanding.

“Bingo. One of the great things about sales is that most of the time prospects will tell you exactly what you need to do to win their business,” Zoot explained. “And it's almost never low price, although they'll often say it is. If you’re smart—and I know you are!—you’ll be ready to change your plan on-the-fly based on what you hear.”

Helios wrung his hands together. “I’m not sure how fast I can think on my feet.”

“Don't worry,” Zoot said. “You’re a smart kid. Much of the time, you can out-think your competition, especially if you intimately know your craft and you're dealing with a prospect that would truly benefit from having a relationship with FEI.”

“Can you give me an example of a time when you closed a big deal after adjusting your pitch on-the-fly?” Helios asked.

“Gladly. A few years ago, I was courting Timmy’s Temples, which, as you know, builds temples for citizens all over Greece,” Zoot said. “Timmy was considering FEI as his main fire- and torch-supplier. We talked over the O-phone, then set up an in-person meeting. I prepared a customized pitch based on the needs he’d expressed. When I showed up at Timmy’s at the appointed time, I found that Timmy had just left the company. The new owner, Roxy, had different ideas. While Timmy had specialized in building affordable, utilitarian temples, Roxy wanted to focus on the higher-end market. She was less interested in low price, more interested in whether we could supply custom-designed and decorated torches for her wealthy patrons. Sensing this shift in priorities, I threw out my original game plan and laser-focused on the myriad customization options we offered. You know the end result.”
“Sure do!” Helios said. “They’re still a client today!”

“Bulls-eye,” Zoot said. “Now, can you pass me another one of those donuts?”

Next week: Zoot completes his APTT lessons by teaching Helios why Tact is integral to sales success.

Today’s FIRE! Point
To be an effective salesperson, you must possess the ability to think on your feet and adjust your sales pitch immediately based on what your prospect tells you.

FIRE! In Action: Good Thinking Pays Dividends
T.J. Tedesco always develops appropriate customized meeting agendas and talking points before meeting with a prospect, but that doesn’t mean he sticks to them rigidly. Many times the conversations end up going in different directions, and Tedesco is always ready to adjust his talking points on-the-fly. This flexibility has been key to helping him close many a client.

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