What the HELL am I Doing Here?

This is no existential discussion about our purpose here on earth. We can go into that in another blog post, or perhaps another blog altogether. No, today we are talking about landing a meeting with a coveted company, and what happens during and after said meeting. Bear with me, here.

Last week, I had a great session with one of the teams that I coach. The newest rep had just gotten done telling a story about how she got a meeting with a very prominent theater company here in Chicago. Present at the meeting were members of its marketing and promotions teams—high-level people. They definitely have need for the kinds of printing services that her company produces.

Everything was looking good so far. But, she also discovered that the team is covered in vendors that its members like and use on a regular basis. So her question to me and the group was, “Now what? How do I follow up? How do I get business from them?”

Good questions, right? Well, here’s another one.

What the hell was your pupose for being there in the first place?

If they have a broker that can presumably produce just about anything for them and a stable of capable vendors to serve them, why did they take the time to meet with someone new? Was she just that charming and professional on the phone? Maybe.

But come on, these are BUSY people. Everyone is busy, and not in the habit of dropping an hour out of the day just out of curiosity. There was a bigger reason why she was invited to come in and meet with the team. And here’s my point.

She should have found out what it was!

After she told me the story, I asked her, “What the hell were you doing in that room?” Dead silence.

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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  • Bill Farquharson

    Note to self: don’t get Kelly angry.

    Bill F.

  • Josh Kiem

    As a White Sox fan who’s been watching Adam Dunn struggle with every at bat this season, Kelly is spot on! "What the hell were you doing in that room?" translates as "What the hell were you doing in that at bat?" Mr. Dunn has 231 at bats wtih 100 strikeouts. He’s batting .173. At this point, I’ll take Kelly’s approach over Ozzie’s!

  • Marc Zazeela

    I love this Kelly. One of the best questions I’ve ever asked on sales calls. "OK, you agreed to meet with me. I know your time is valuable. Why am I here?".

    I’ve gotten some pretty surprised expressions when I have asked that question. Apparently, not many of us bother to ask.

  • Kristen Quinn

    I lease office space and I’m always surprised that while during a tour with a prospect they say, "well I can go to XYZ company and get x square feet for x dollars." I’ve always wanted to say "then why are you here?" Going forward, that is EXACTLY what I am going to ask.

  • Keith Yount

    As the owner of the biggest smallest print shop in Indianapolis (3,000 sq.ft.) with 6 presses from 1250’s to 3 Heidelbergs , +bindery , I have been very fortunate riding the coat tail of my Fathers clientele from the 80’s ,not having to do any sales? Well that’s all changing with the economy , the web ,, and many of my old faithful customers retiring . I’ve been reading Kelly & Bill’s posts regularly now for a few months trying to get psyched to get out & sell , my last time out was five years ago . Just want to say thanks to both of you , as I have always been a pressman ,,not big on the sales thing , and your ideas have really helped . Kelly cracks me up ,,as she seems to be a no BS kind of gal ,, what really prompted me to write this post was a few days ago her "kick ass" approach . I am also a drummer and have my drum road cases in the shop (great for moving paper) ,,and one of them is for two kick drums and the roadies painted "KICK ASS" in bright orange letters on all four sides ,, I’ve often thought of covering it up as I do a lot of church oriented work , but now I think I’ll leave it for the inspiration ,, thanks again

  • Randy Hoyt

    This is a great idea, causing me to have one of those "why didn’t I think of that?" moments.

  • BJWalter

    Hey Kelly, Don’t tell Bill but I like your take on things just as much as his.
    I am so with you on this one.
    If I am front of the customer, there must be something they were not completely satisfied with.
    I hope it is because I am the "New Idea". Maybe I have the new answer to a question they don’t even know to ask.
    So I feel free to say I’d like you to give me a try…did you ever think about trying this…or have you ever done a mailing with this kind of reply card. What do I have to lose.
    I might just be the "New Idea."