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.

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
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