The Upside of a Sales Disaster
Many moons ago I did business with a pharmaceutical company in Bedford, Mass., called Fisons. They were well over 50% of my total business and I knew almost everyone in the company on a first name basis.
One day, I received a phone call from someone in their Marketing department, informing me that the company was moving to Rochester, N.Y.
I still remember the feeling of disaster that swept through me that day. I was in full panic mode. Little did I know at the time that this was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.
If this has ever happened to you, then you know the feeling firsthand. You can feel what I felt that day and you’ve had the thoughts that I had: It’s over. I’m going out of business. Despite the fact that the move was still six months away, they started shifting their purchasing almost immediately and my business with them slowly dwindled.
What did not occur to me was that not everyone wanted to live in Rochester, N.Y. In fact, more than 50% of the workforce stayed behind ...
... and took new jobs ...
... in the Boston area ...
... and brought me with them!
Two years later, I had quadrupled the size of my company and landed such accounts as Lotus and Baxter-Travenol. How did I do it? Well, reread the second sentence in this blog: ... I knew almost everyone in the company on a first name basis.
Because I had taken the time to get to know so many people and make certain that they knew me and what I did, I found myself in a lot of no-bid situations with new accounts. I wish I could say I was smart enough to do this intentionally, but it was just me being nosy, friendly, and occasionally flirty.
It's become one of the best sales tips I know: Never leave an existing account without having that one new person.
During the course of your sales career, your best account will leave town or will be bought out and you will end up losing the business due to no fault of your own. However, the opposite will happen in equal amount and a big account will land in your lap or your best customer will buy someone else and you will be the beneficiary.
Win some. Lose some.
Be prepared for the disaster that is headed your way by expanding your internal network on a daily basis.
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Bill Farquharson can be reached at (781) 934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him at email@example.com or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.