Successful Sales Reps are APTT to Succeed (Part IV)

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Sales Tribe Leader Zoot taught sales apprentice Helios that thinking on your feet is key to selling success. This week, they discuss Tact, the final APTT attribute that every great salesperson should possess. Remember, fire=print.

Helios was eagerly anticipating his final lesson from Zoot on the traits that make effective salespeople. He was a little disappointed when, in Zoot’s office one morning, Zoot told him that “tack” was the last key to sales success.

“What does a small pin have to do with my ability to sell?” Helios asked.

“You might want to get your hearing checked, young apprentice,” Zoot said. “I said ‘Tact’.”

“Oh! That makes more sense.”

“In today’s fire business climate, sometimes you seemingly do everything right and still don’t get the bid,” Zoot began. “It can be frustrating and discouraging to come close and lose a good order, especially for something trivial. But the APTT salesperson will always keep their ‘Tact’ tool in their hip pocket and exhibit grace under pressure.”

“I get it,” Helios said. “After all, I’m in business for the long haul, not the short job. Instead of getting angry or impatient with my prospect, it’s best to hang in there and wait for the right opportunity to win their trust, their confidence and their work.”

“Sales is a profession that rewards patience, determination, and a cool head,” Zoot agreed. “Many print buyers will remember sales representatives with gracious personalities and be inclined to try to get work to them in the future. Let me give you an example. Years ago I was courting Bertie’s Baklava, a gourmet provider of baklava and other Greek pastries. I wanted them to use FEI fire for all their stoves and kilns. Bertie’s is a huge franchise with locations all over Greece, and this would’ve been a million-Drachma sale. I worked my tail off trying to win the job.

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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