As Salespeople See, Salespeople Do
It was midday a Thursday and a frustrated owner called me to talk about the lack of effort being exhibited by his sales force. “It’s unbelievable! These guys are either lazy or I’m paying them too much or … I don’t know. I need to get some more business in here.”
This is a conversation that I have often enough to know that there is more going on than meets the eye. “Why aren’t my sales reps selling?” is a question that has many answers and not all of the blame can be placed at the feet of the sales people.
Running down the list of the usual suspects — Do they have enough time? Tell me about their comp plan. Are they in cruise control?—I stopped. He had me on speakerphone and the ambient noise was odd enough that it caused me to ask, “Where are you right now?” The answer told me a lot:
“I’m on the deck at my cabin. I work from here a couple of days a week?”
This was midday on a Thursday, remember, and the frustrated caller was chilling on a dirt road while wondering why the sales force wasn’t working harder. Now, I’ve got nothing against taking time to kick back but as a sales rep I can tell you firsthand that the personality of any company is generally a direct reflection of management and ownership in particular. If you pull up to the building and the boss’ car is already there, you are “late.” And if you watch him or her leave mid afternoon on a regular basis, it sends a message that is hard to miss.
There are many answers to the “Why aren’t you selling more?” question but there is a difference between a boss asking it at 2:30 p.m. on a Thursday while alone at the office and 2:30 p.m. on a Thursday while alone in the woods.
As salespeople see, salespeople do.
Beginning Dec. 5…
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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.