Here’s a letter I’ve received that spells out a common sales problem:
‘I sell out in the field and it can be quite a lonely job sometimes. There are weeks where I am out doing appointments and door knocking and although I haven’t achieved any sales, I had an okay week. I walk into my office on a Friday and my boss asks me immediately, “how many deals have you done this week?” to which I reply “none”. “What kind of salesman are you if you can’t close a deal? and what have you been doing, watching Countdown? why are you back in the office if you haven’t done any business? Go out there and close.”
‘How on earth do I stay motivated and positive when I get that response every time I walk into the office without a sale?’
This is very common for remote field sales people, so let me enter an imaginary conversation that could be held with these questions:
“What did you achieve that week?” “Weren’t you listening, I had no sales at all, so nothing,” he angrily rebutted. I argued the point and said: “I guarantee you did achieve things, you are just closed off to it right now.”
Me: How many new opportunities did you find that week that you didn’t have at the beginning of the week?
Salesman: Well about eight I guess but surely if I didn’t close them it’s irrelevant?
Me: And out of those eight how many decision makers’ names did you identify?
Salesman: All of them, what’s your point?
Me: Did you find out the situation within those eight companies?
Salesman: Yeah, I found out the supplier they are with, the products they use and their contract date but I didn’t close any of them.
Me: What you are missing is you are in a better position now than you were at the beginning of the week because you have identified eight new businesses with which you will be able to work. If you stay in touch with them there is a very strong possibility one of their suppliers will mess up and immediately you can get in.
Equally I would rather 10% of something than 100% of nothing, so worth positioning yourself as their back up supplier. You clearly qualified the prospect, who is to say in the near future their requirements don’t change and they may need something you offer that their suppliers cannot.
So the key is focus on what you did get, as opposed to focusing on what you did not. There will be days where you get hold of forty companies that for whatever reason you cannot help.
Rather than hang yourself, understand that you had to call those forty at some point, so at least you got them out of the way.