Sales and Marketing generally doesn't get along. If sales are going hot, they are obviously the most skilled person to scale such heights, and if sales are bad, marketing didn't find the right message. Now remember though this is coming from a marketing guy, not a sales guy. I think we marketers are perfect...OK I don't, but I wanted to set this story up so you would understand that when I say, "You Have to Be a Great Salesperson in your Career." You'll know I am not just drinking the sales Kool-Aide. I will get to the why in a bit. This story takes place when I was just starting out in my career, but I was a Merchandising Buyer. Only the names have been changed to protect the stupid :)
This story involves two salesmen. Let's call them Bobby and Buzz. They have both been in sales for years, both had risen to top sales posts had all of the contacts needed to generate their quota.
Bobby would call at the end of every month, or 3 days before the end of the month at the end of his quarter, half or year. Every call went something like this:
Bobby: "Whatcha got for me this month Racer?" "Well you better get some of my new 'Y' on order now we are running out!"
Me: "Bobby shocking to hear from you at the end of the month, but we are good, thanks."
Bobby: "Come on Racer, I need $100k to make the month. I'll give you an extra 3% off."
Me: "Well, Bobby," I would say smiling on the other end of the phone, "I don't need $100K of your widgets, that would be 4 months supply, so it would take getting another 10%, not 3%."
Bobby: Silence..."OK, let me check, we normally can't go that low." Then he would call back and say, "OK, I can't go 10% but I'll go 8."
Me: "Fine", I'd say, "I need terms then, 60 days."
Bobby: "Done" said El Bobby faster than a fox running from the Chicken coup...
Problem was Bobby thought he really got one by my because he would have gone to 10%. Well...not quite. I needed the goods anyway, plus I got terms which were worth about 1.5% then. I would have ordered, but I knew he would call and offer a discount. The nice thing was I only had to talk to Bobby 12 times a year, and then I would light him up like a Christmas Tree.
Let's Contrast that with Buzz.
I talked to Buzz 4-8 times a month. He never asked for an order on any call. He would ask about my wife, kids, dogs, music, etc.. He knew my favorite lunch place, my favorite dinner spot, what were the good times to call, and what were the bad times. He would ask me how things were selling through, did I need to return anything, how was my stock levels...Buzz always made his numbers and he never had to discount. He knew our business as well as us.
So what are the lessons for you, your career and life?:
- Make it easy to do business with you - Buzz always made sure we were selling through. He knew how every facet of ordering took place so we never had an issue with his shipments
- He made each of us feel as we were friends - Not superficial friends, but real ones. He took the time to connect with almost everyone at the office.
- He put you over himself - You could call 24/7/365 (he insisted) but he would never do the same back. He respected your time. Our business mattered more to him then a single order!
- He worked every day, not just on deadlines - He didn't get as big of single orders as Bobby sometimes, but he didn't need to have a fire sale each month either! No Christmas Eve calls!
- Never an integrity issue - If we couldn't do something he would never try and go around you, to your boss, or bosses boss. Bobby did, and no one trusted him because of that.
Unfortunately there are 100 Bobby's out there for each Buzz, but whether you are in sales, marketing or any job, apply those principles and you will go far!