This month’s focus: Beware The Easy Sale
During challenging times we sometimes wish (even beg) for just one sale to come along where it seems it’s not like “pulling teeth” to get an agreement that turns into a sale. We get questioned deeply on our pricing structures, bonus programs, shipping incentives, hours of operation, etc. Then, just when it seems you’ve spent 25 continuous hours across from a potential client answering questions that would make a CIA operative jealous. There’s still more to go. However, be careful what you wish for.
Case Study: Years back I was out pounding the pavement during an extremely volatile time for businesses of all stripes. (It was the savings and loans crisis of the 80’s) It seemed no matter who you called on, the sales process was grueling. Like anyone else I wished (and probably begged) for just one easy sale to break up the relentless door slamming or indignant “not interested” that seemed never-ending, day after day. Then it seemed I received my wish.
I called on a new prospect and was received as if I was some long-lost relative. The owner made time right then and there to listen to my offerings, and more. Then after answering some ancillary questions she said, “Why don’t we place a sample order as to see how well things go and we’ll discuss the possibilities of more after that.” Inside I said to my self, “Finally!” And proceeded with all the details.
The order was by all accounts a substantial one and like a peacock strutting new feathers I strolled back into my office and handed the owner the order for review. (The owner back then reviewed all new business before allowed into the system.)
After reading the order up and down and murmuring some words to himself, he looked up at me, took the order – and proceeded to rip it in half. I stood there dumb founded.
Then he went on to tell me the person I had met he knew of very well. Seems that this was her M.O. She would take advantage of any unsuspecting salesperson or company to place orders with, then would drag them out for payment right to the precipice of legal action. Unknowingly I had been no more than a fly wandering into a very skilled spiders web.
The owner said there was no way I would have known and it had nothing to do with me. He expressed that he was appreciative that I was out there hitting the pavement anywhere, and everywhere as a good salespeople should. Then he said something I never forgot…
“You’ll never forget this the rest of your career, and from here on in you’ll never wish for the easy sale. For when it ever happens again – you’ll question it first. Which will save your bank account as well as the company’s.”
He was absolutely correct and I’ve been grateful to have learned it so early in my career. So always remember, be careful what you wish for, because – you just might get it.
© 2014 Mark St.Cyr
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