I was treated to the humorous ‘confessions of a failed salesrep’ the other day by a friend of mine that, shortly after leaving uni twenty-five years ago, had tried three sales jobs. He found it amusing that he’d left each one without selling a bean. He explained that he felt exactly like the overly optimistic boy scout-style 9-year-old named Russell from the movie Up. Watch the first 30secs of this trailer clip and you’ll instantly recognise his trauma…
Here’s the sales meat transcription:
9-yr old on doorstep, reading from a script: Good afternoon, are you in need of any assistance today, sir?
78-yr old opening door: No
9-yr old ‘seller’: I could help you cross the street
78-yr old ‘prospect’: No
‘seller’: I could help you cross your yard
‘seller’: I could help you cross your …
‘prospect’: No! (door slams shut)
‘seller’: Ow! (his foot gets stuck in the door)
My friend was also sent out to knock on doors (most notably for a company which could make you any product you liked from foam). He was given rudimentary guidance (ie, virtually no induction training) and went to see customers with the patter “I’m your new account manager…”
His opening gambit was typically “is there anything I can do for you?” to which the instant reply was simply, “no”. Just like the aforementioned doorstep experience Russell endured.
My friend wondered what he could have done differently, and my smile morphed to anger that a company could hold their own sales process in such scant regard. There’s so many ways to avoid this, so I instantly told him of three angles any new account manager should have at the ready.
Buying Patterns – Not simply what are they buying, but what scope exists for switching them to less expensive goods (yet maintaining your overall margin), saving them money from promotions, and plugging gaps where they really ought be buying what they are evidently not at the moment.
Future Projects – Where are they headed and how do they aim to get there? And what can you uniquely offer to help that journey succeed both quicker, smoother and better?
Frustrations – Once rapport is established, open up this box. Bottlenecks, Delays, Difficulties. Where are they, how important are they and how can you relieve them?