Prospecting for Print Sales Professionals
(Do not confuse sociability with the stereotypes of prolonged luncheons or after-hours socializing. Social graces in the professional sales setting revolve around courtesy and human sensitivity.)
If your sales staff needs help in this area, suggest that they join and participate in a group such as the local chapter of Toastmasters, or read some of the many books dealing with sharpening social skills.
Desurgency. Psychologists use the word “desurgency” to describe salespeople who overanalyze and underact. This is the person who “needs” to reorganize his desk before beginning any task. Desurgent prospectors never get around to making prospecting calls, because they spend most of their time “getting ready.”
These types of salespeople must be supervised into action. The sales manager often must sit down with them to make appointments—preferably for early in the morning before the salesperson gets too comfortable—then accompany them for a week.
Image Sensitivity. Image sensitivity is the fear of humiliation. It can occur when a salesperson fears being usable to answer a buyer’s question or drawing a conversational blank. Image sensitivity is often tied to the salesperson being unaware of a particular incompetence with respect to printing or selling skills. Here, counseling and training are the answers.
Group Sensitivity. This salesperson fears group presentation. The fear is not unlike image sensitivity and its similar to the anxiety experienced in public speaking. Salespeople who are “group sensitive” often believe the buyer group will gang up against them.
Salespeople suffering from group sensitivity must face their fears by forcing themselves to speak before groups of prospects, observing professional speakers at seminars and conferences, and perhaps for a public speaking program.
Role Acceptance. These salespeople are embarrassed by their career choice, and will do everything possible to hide from what they do, even if it involves sacrificing income by not calling on buyers. Many graphic arts salespeople gravitated to selling from the pressroom, customer service or estimating.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.