Category: Sales Training

Client Needs

When I worked for the Fortune company all of my clients were typically other Fortune firms. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but it was the best training ground I could have had.

Mainly because everyone’s concerns are different, but don’t effect their own pocket book. The downside of working with the Fortune arena is the sales cycle can be gruesome. When I first delivered a proposal to Lawrence Livermore Lab, it was exciting. The second time I delivered the same proposal to a new manager, it was with less enthusiasm. But it wasn’t until the fifth presentation and 2 1/2 years before they actually cut the Purchase Order. It was an extra large sale for me, but when you divide the commission over the 2 1/2 years it took to close the deal, it doesn’t have nearly the same impact as a 90 close cycle.

One of my prospects was Hewlett Packard. There were actually three different departments at the Palo Alto campus I presented my product to. Each one was run by completely different personalities. The one that was the most difficult was the 50 year old man who had been with the company nearly from day one. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think he enjoyed working with a female sales person.

One day I showed up at his office with a roll of butcher paper. I had to try a different tactic to get his attention. I asked if I could buy him a cup of coffee at the company cafeteria and he agreed.

When we got to the cafeteria I rolled out the butcher paper, handed him a felt tip pen and asked him to draw out what he thought would help him in his production needs. When he was done I looked him straight in the eyes and asked, “If I can do this for you, is there any reason why we couldn’t complete the order?”

I was escorted to the accounting office and returned a week later to pick up the purchase order.

Big Ticket Sales

The average sale for the Fortune company I worked for was about $100,00. The low end was $45,000 and the high end was $250,000.

Had I known more about sales, I might not have agreed to move from the service department to their sales department. But since I had no experience in sales, it never occurred to me it might have been better, and far easier, to start off with a lower price point for my first sales position.

Frankly, I had never thought about going into sales until the company offered to train me. And, let to my own devices, I would not have accepted.

The argument was, with as hard as I worked, the more financial reward I would receive being in sales rather than the service side of the business.

When selling the Big Ticket items, there was definitely a process that would make the sale happen faster.

I did research on the company I was prospecting to which wasn’t as easy to do in the 80’s as much as it is currently with the Internet resources. I found out whether the company was growing or decreasing in sales. I found copies of their Annual Report or what their vendors might have to say about them.

My favorite clients were those were working to gain momentum and higher profitability. They had challenges and I had answers.

Do you really know what your clients need and want?

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