Sales Success Stories:
We learn to stretch our own capabilities by observing others.
But observing and copying are very different.
Find what’s true for you in each of these stories.
Find out what challenges you in each of these stories. Ask yourself:
“If you try to use the master carpenter’s tools, you’ll only cut your hands.
Find your own.”
That's a Big Slide Deck
© 2007 E. Thomas Behr, Ph.D.Before he started his own consulting company, New Light Learning and Development Inc., Shawn Doyle was VP for Learning and Development for Comcast Cable. In that role he sat through a lot of sales calls from prospective vendors. He tells the story of one rep from a training company who walked in, and after saying hello, loaded a slide carrousel into the projector set up in Shawn's office.
Lessons to consider: All of us who have spent time on either side of the desk have lived through this story one way or another. There certainly are managers out their so preoccupied with making sure their reps "Do things right" that their sales team rarely "Does the right thing" - generate sales.
I worked with a client that suffered from a constant battle between marketing and sales about how best to present their company to new prospects. Marketing would spend weeks coming up with the "perfect pitch" based on their research and the unique value proposition of their products - at least one per quarter. Sales would express their frustration at having to make prospective new customers - each with their own unique needs - sit through a presentation, much of which didn't apply to them. The less experienced, less successful sales reps persisted in doing what they were told to do - and lost sales as a result. The experienced, successful sales reps just customized each presentation by initially spending time with the prospect to verify potential areas of interest and need, and then just flipped to the pages they thought would be most appropriate. With current customers they knew (some of whom were already using the programs marketing was "re-pitching" in the deck), they just yanked out all the pages that didn't apply to each customer they met with.
The question of how to resolve the tension (or open conflict) between sales and marketing is the subject of a forthcoming article, "Ending the Sales vs. Marketing Wars." But the point to consider here is that as sales reps, we always have choices about what we do with customers - and those choices always come with consequences attached. There's a consequence attached to not doing what your boss tells you to do, and a consequence for so boring prospects and customers that you never make a sale. Because it's your career (not your boss's), you need to make the choices that will help you best meet your goals. Besides, the odds are that if you're really bringing in sales, your boss will leave you alone.