Generating new opportunities differently

Two separate experiences of mine today converged to the same point in my mind.  They both suggested that for sales success, you’ve often got to think of extra ideas, and see them through, to stay ahead of competitors, or even generate new opportunites in the first place.

The first came from a sales person called James Hughes at one of my customers, who I spoke to as he was kicking a football around his garden before his kids arrived back from school.

He had a new product range to sell and was frustrated buyers weren’t willing to immediately try it out.  In his game, buyers are grumpy buggers, and often wait until the ‘special offers’ get ever more tempting as marketing managers panic they need ever more market penetration, then go for it.  To overcome this issue, he alone has started to think of generating ‘specification’ sales, by going to large, one-off end users that could buy, and introducing them to his middlemen.  The effort takes a bit, yet only one needs to come off and he’s smashed his targets.  And also, what boss doesn’t take kindly to this kind of enthusiastic creative thinking 🙂

The second involves a 20 yr old called Sarah Green, from a TV show on Teenage Tycoons, that two years before started a furniture company already turning over £400k.  She got the business bug at just 12 yrs of age, when during her paper round, she clocked that most of her papers went into the letterboxes of elderly people, who’s gardens could do with a touch of ‘tlc’.  So she put fliers she’d run up on her computer, along with their papers and within a fortnight, she got to tend 8 gardens every other Sunday, netting an impressive £40-£50 a week.  Another good example of a neat idea to open up doors.

I always maintain that it’s a common misconception it’s all about the money for successful sales people, in the same way it is for entrepreneurs.  True, this edict may be slightly less accurate for reps, but all the good one think of the buzz about ‘can I do this? can I solve this puzzle?’ and it’s best to try and not succeed rather than don’t try and forever wonder.

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