It seems that nearly every week a printing or promotional company tells me the people they are calling on do not return messages. I hear this from sales staff, as well as executives and/or ownership. But the same people complaining—oftentimes executives—are usually not good at getting back to the salespersons who are calling on them. I hear executives say, "Put them in voice mail—it is a salesperson, right?" Also, they may instruct the receptionist to tell the caller they are in a meeting. Or they simply have the salesperson leave voice mail after voice mail, without ever responding.This is not good.…
In the printing industry, many salespeople see obstacles as objections and view them in a negative light. They view obstacles as things that get in the way of what they are trying to accomplish. Many salespersons have been taught (through good or bad training) how to “overcome an objection.” Assuming such training was good, then learning how to overcome an objection is good. And, if you’re satisfied with just being good then read no further.
However, because I am a person who is never satisfied with the status quo, let’s focus on how to get even better. To be a great salesperson, one must anticipate objections before they even occur. A great salesperson has already thought through a number of scenarios (in advance) of what might occur in any situation. They have well-developed intuition and are seldom caught off guard. This is why so many printing companies seek to “hire away” such sales reps from a competitor. You know the adage: Why develop a good “farm system” of salespeople when you can just steal them away. They are great for a reason. Instead of trying to “pick them off” focus on developing great salespeople yourself.
Great salespeople know that there is a solution behind every “problem” and see obstacles as being nothing more than opportunities. They know there is always another option and they also outthink their competition. They don’t merely think outside the box; in reality, they don’t even notice the confines of a box. Such salespersons are deep thinkers who look at an issue from many angles. They ask smart questions, listen and are always prepared. They possess strong emotional intelligence and notice even the smallest nuance of a human interaction.
In my consulting work with printing companies, the great salespersons are up for the challenge of any obstacle that is thrown their way. In fact, they relish such a challenge. In contrast, the salespersons that struggle like to complain, tell me why things will not work, what they don’t have and what they need. Simply said, they do not believe they are better than their competition, see obstacles as negative and do not provide or convey value.
So, I challenge you to think (and, yes, Everyone Is in Sales) whether you view obstacles as a hindrance that keep you from moving forward or as an opportunity that you know you can overcome. Great salespeople welcome obstacles and know they’ll find the way to win, no matter what is put in front of them. Which description best describes you and your sales staff?