Successful Sales Reps are APTT to Succeed (Part II)

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Sales Tribe Leader Zoot taught apprentice Helios four key attributes every great salesperson should possess (also known as APTT) and detailed the first one, Attitude. This week, Zoot demonstrates how effective planning is key to selling success. Remember, fire=print.

Helios found Zoot in his office, talking on the phone. He waited a few minutes until Zoot finished the call.

“Last week, you said we could talk today about the importance of planning to sales success,” Helios said. “So let’s do it!”

“Why don’t you start by planning not to interrupt me during a big sales call?” Zoot asked, and laughed at his own joke. Then, noticing Helios’s dour expression, he added: “Just kidding. Let’s get started. To be an effective salesperson, you need a realistic, actionable plan to guide you to success! Every successful plan should have two characteristics: efficiency and effectiveness.”

“Can you explain that a little more?” Helios asked.

“Efficiency can be something as simple as how you schedule appointments and manage your sales territory,” Zoot said. “Take yourself through a territory planning exercise and determine which stops you can make along the way. Then, extend that exercise to plan how many stops you can make per week and per month.”

“Great advice!” Helios exclaimed, jotting this all down on a pad of papyrus.

“Now that you have a plan for making sales calls, make sure you know what you’re going to say when you get to each client,” Zoot continued. “Tailor your presentations and your solutions to the needs and desires of your ever-changing audience.”

“How about an example of how effective planning has helped you in your sales career?” Helios asked.

“Sure!” Zoot exclaimed. “I never head into a sales meeting without doing my homework first. Take a recent FEI prospect, Sully’s Stone Carvings. Through extensive research, I determined what Sully cared about (getting his stone carvings finished quickly and cost-effectively), what his pain points were (fires that go out, inconsistent flames), and what he was looking for in a fire solution (fire hot enough to quickly cut stone). And I determined what FEI could offer him that Flintstone, his current fire vendor, couldn’t: consistent fire that virtually never goes out. If it does, we guarantee we’ll replace the flame in one hour or less. This meticulous research helped me prepare a customized plan squarely focused on Sully’s needs, which I presented to him.”

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
Related Content