Hey You! Sales Managers and Owners…Listen UP!

I have been trying to make it rain for the past two weeks. Which means making a lot of sales calls…to printers. And here is what I have been hearing a lot:

  • “I got no sales training of any kind.”
  • “I have no sales goal.”
  • “I was just told to sell, given a phone, and off I went.”
  • “No one helps me. They just want to know where the sales are.”

And you wonder why a new print sales rep is miserable and leaves after four months? Or, why you “have” to fire a newbie after a year of selling practically nothing?

Here’s the deal, folks. You wouldn’t ask a contractor to build you a house with no tools, would you? Nope.

If you expect a new person to sell for you, and they did NOT come to you with a million dollar book of business (and we’ll talk about how that almost never happens either, in a later post), HOW do you expect him or her to be successful if you don’t arm him or her with the tools necessary to hit it out of the park?

Here are some of the excuses:

  • You don’t know how to teach someone how to sell.
  • You don’t know how to sell.
  • You haven’t sold a new customer since the early ’90s.

There is no excuse for not giving your sales reps training. Finding them, hiring them and putting them on the payroll costs you a lot of money. So please don’t say you can’t afford to train.

What you CAN’T afford is to carry someone for six months or a year and then let that person go. Now THAT is expensive. And you can’t expect anyone to perform right out of the gate. Most experts agree that it takes at LEAST a year for a new person to become successful selling print today.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
 
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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Comments
  • Sirquickly

    kelly you hit the proverbial nail right on the head. I have close to 30 years in the print industry, 15 of which have been in sales. I was "talked" into doing sales after a particularly bad month and was given a company car, cell phone & gas card. I spent the next 12 years winging it, (and having a fair amount of success,mostly through blind luck and a natural talent to listen and enjoy people). it wasn’t until I was connected with the "Farq" man and learned some really valuable tips and tools that I became aware of my natural skills as well as my shortcomings. The webinairs that you and Bill offer are priceless and even after losing a $100,000 dollar a year account I have added new customers and am on track to beat last years sales by close to 20%. keep on educating the salesforce!!

    Dave Schrup
    Lazerquick Printing

  • Eric

    After a month or two of training, it would greatly help the sales rep if he/she was given a consistent small customer. The salesman can get used to taking orders and see what it would be like to have a relationship with a printer’s estimator and/or purchasing agent.
    This will give the salesman a better idea and more confidence in the challenges that he/she will face.