Working the Sales Gusher
If you were an oilman in Texas and employed 100 men who worked 100 oil rigs—each digging for black gold (Texas tea), and suddenly one hits a vein and you’ve got a gusher on your hands—chances are you would assign all 100 men to that one rig, right, leaving the other 99 unmanned?
Every once in a while, I hear about a sales rep who has a sales gusher on his or her hands. For whatever reason, orders come flying out of one company like kids on the last day of school, and it’s all you can do to keep up with the volume.
Nice problem to have, eh?
Just about all of us would have the same reaction to this event. We would drop everything, grab buckets, and start catching the oil/sales as they spewed out of the ground/account and we would do it at the expense of everything else: other customers, prospects, paperwork and even personal hygiene.
It’s a natural response.
Your sales manager, boss or coach (me!) would be quick to warn you of the dangers of putting all of your eggs in one basket and of course, they would be right. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that it’s raining business.
Taking this oily analogy one step further: What if this turned into an account that was, say, 85 percent of your sales volume? Personally, I know of two salespeople who are currently suffering from this "Problem."
My most recent customer—upon hearing my advice to diversify—said flatly, "Yeah. I'm just not gonna do that." I appreciated his honesty, but if he is going to take the risk, he will still need to think about the future.
My advice to him was this: Work this one account with every ounce of energy you have. Make it your business to form a relationship with every single employee at the company. Make it your goal to hear one of two things come from your clients:
- "I see you here all the time. Do you work here?"
- "Holy cow! Are we the only account?"
If you’re not willing to step outside your comfort zone and beat the pavement for new business, your next best option is to diversify within the account with the understanding and hope that as people leave that company, they will take you with them to their new position, thus expanding your customer base without the pain of prospecting.
This is an extremely rare occurrence, but the three pieces of advice given two paragraphs ago should be your goal of every account all the time.
In the meantime, keep digging. If Jedd Clampett can do it, so can you! Take your shoes off. Ya’ll come back now, y’hear?
Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.