When Good to Great Isn’t Enough to Get the Sale

So, you want to be a good salesman, huh? BAH! Good ain’t good enough, Sport. Oh, so you think getting to great will do it just because some book told you so? Nope. Sorry. That, too, falls short.

The landscape is littered with the goods and the greats. Buyers have their pick from sales reps in these two categories. What’s needed now, these days, goes beyond both good and great and occupies rare air:

If you want to make it in sales today’s, you need to be extraordinary.

Last summer, I was leading a class full of rather new sales people, one of whom asked me to list the characteristics that make up an ideal sales person. The first word that jumped into my head was, anticipatory. That is, someone who anticipates the needs of the customer and has answers either waiting for the questions to be asked or offers them up before the thought even enters the customer’s mind.

For example, an order is placed and the job is a rush. It is scheduled to ship Monday and arrive Tuesday. Don’t you think that at some point during the day on Monday the client is going to wonder if everything is proceeding smoothly and whether or not an on time shipment is in his/her future?

The anticipatory sales reps has already thought of this and leaves a quick voice-mail message:

“Hi, this is Bill. Just wanted you to know that the order will arrive Tuesday morning as promised. Thanks for the business!”

That’s not just good…that’s more than great…that’s extraordinary! You’ve done the client’s thinking for them and have sent the message—I am working with a trustworthy sales rep.

Oh, and here’s another benefit of being anticipatory: You can catch oversights and errors ahead of time. For the aforementioned job, what if the rep calls down to shipping to ensure the job is indeed going out on Monday and finds that someone forgot to mark it as such? A mistake is avoided and with it the necessity of a painful apologetic phone call on Tuesday, explaining why the shipment won’t be coming as promised.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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