Could Sales People Save Your Butt…and Business Too?
In the 9 years that I’ve been in some type of a sales or sales support role at EAC I’ve noticed some common themes across the companies that I’ve been exposed to. One of which that continues to intrigue me is a correlation — companies with open minds that are willing to meet with a sales person seem to be doing better than those that don’t.
You may call me out on this but I’ve had exposure to several hundred executive level individuals and those that seem to do well are willing to let a sales person give their pitch. Part of being a sales professional is dealing with rejection. It happens daily and is tough, but you learn from it and get better. My experience has been that companies who reject a 20-minute meeting are those that are struggling to meet goals, have stagnant growth, are over worked, and generally have bad employee morale.
One positive example is an individual that is a VP of a billion dollar company. From our very first call he showed a level of interest and respect for me. It was refreshing to have him demonstrate genuine interest in what I had to offer. It all started with a 20-minute meeting and now EAC is significantly impacting how they bring their products to market. In the 8 months that I’ve worked with him he’s been promoted twice.
Another example that comes to mind is a VP of a 50 million dollar company that will take a call from me even when he is in a meeting. He is excited to hear what I have to say and values my input. What a way to make a sales person feel appreciated and important, and that naturally makes me go out of my way to help him out when he’s in a bind. He is a true pleasure to work with and guess what; his company is growing like crazy!
Now for the counterpoint…there is a company I’ve tried to work with for years. They offer a specialized commodity that is very sensitive to any type of economic decline. During the great recession they let go over 80% of their employees. Surprisingly they are still in business, but are struggling to provide enough work to support their overhead. While a VP was willing to take an initial meeting with me, he is very close minded to any type of change and has no interest in finding new ways to get better. “I’m too busy to make any changes.” And guess what, he’s pretty grumpy.
I often think of the cartoon where a polished sales guy shows up to a meeting with a soldier. He’s carrying a machine gun in his bag but the soldier carrying a sword responds with “No, I don’t have time to see a crazy salesman — I’ve got a battle to fight!”
Our world is changing rapidly, especially as we continue with the economic recovery. Our customers are constantly facing stricter deadlines, increased competition, and more complex requirements that are always changing. “We have to hit the deadline or we risk losing the customer.” Too often I see companies throwing money and resources at fixing a problem because that’s the way they’ve always done it. And then they wonder why they struggle with growth, profitability, and product performance issues. Well I have some good news…there is a better way. And the next sales person to contact you may have a solution to the problem that is keeping you up at night. Give them a chance.