Power of Consistent Effective Behavior
Power of Consistent Effective Behavior
One of my first real sales jobs was with a small division of a billion dollar food company. My annual salary was $7,800. I also got a company car and an expense account. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! The sales territory ran from Rhode Island, north through Massachusetts and New Hampshire and included the entire state of Maine.
After several months I noticed that there were a handful of inactive accounts in Northern Maine. They hadn’t been called on for a while so I decided to check them out. Leaving the Holiday Inn in Bangor at 4:00am and driving non-stop I got to my first call in Fort Kent at 8:00am. They weren’t exactly welcoming but agreed to “consider” my stuff on my next trip. Same story with the other inactive accounts. At least they were still in business and didn’t slam the door in my face.
A month later and much to their surprise (and mine), I showed up again. This time we talked a bit but determined that none of them could put together a big enough order to meet the minimum shipment requirement. By this time I’m determined to start getting some business in the market so I thought about it all the way back south to Bangor.
On the third trip I was a bit better prepared. Remember at this stage in my career you could write all I knew about sales on the back of a match box. However they appreciated me making the long trip three times and were willing to work with me. The account that seemed to have the most potential was a Candy and Tobacco Distributor. We made up an order of the basic items that he could use, and added some items for another small vendor. Still not enough weight! Then he suggested that I call on his cousin who owned the local grocery store and see if he could use anything. Technically I was not supposed to sell to the grocery trade because it was covered by another division of my company. But, heck I was there and they weren’t.
With nothing to lose I called on the cousin. He added enough to make the minimum shipment and we were in business! Month after month we repeated the process. I’d call on the three accounts, put their orders together and ship everything to one location.
The business grew steadily. We became friends and I started teaching them how to merchandise and sell more. We began adding more items that should have been sold by the other division. I could sell them 1# cans of Chase & Sanborn coffee that they could retail for a buck … an incredible deal back then. Soon they were buying it by the truckload. Some of it may have made its way across the border into Canada, but I didn’t ask. Eventually the ads made their way to corporate and Big Brother moved in and took over the business.
That was a long winded way to get to the point of the story: Consistent, effective prospecting works in sales. Make the calls and don’t give up. Figure out what it will take to get the business and then just do it. Think outside the box and show that you are a person of your word.
In the sales world, consistent means making enough sales calls to achieve the results that you want.
Effective means saying and doing the right things to the right people (people who can buy or influence the sale).
It’s part numbers and part skill:
- Are you making enough sales calls?
- Are you calling on the right people?
- Are you using the right tools?
- Are you bringing something new to the table at every call?
- Are you asking for the business?
- Are you thinking outside the box?
- Are you taking advantage of all the training available to you?
- As the sales manager, are you helping your salespeople be the best that they can be?
Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors a limited number of sales managers at any one time. For more information please check out www.clevelstrategic.com or call 1 561 480 0563