Three Cautionary Tales About Three Sales Fails
Three true stories…
A car salesman is working at the Cadillac dealership on a Saturday afternoon.
In walks a man who looks like he just fell off a turnip truck: The man is older, diminutive at about 5’5” and both his overalls and hands are filthy, caked with dirt. The rep thinks, “Well, Pigpen is here. Where are the rest of the Peanuts characters?” before going back to his newspaper.
The man circles a few Caddies, looks around, and leaves the showroom. The sales rep watches as he climbs into his old, beat-up station wagon, certain that he just saved himself time and the dealership the hassle of cleaning up a new car, had that dusty dog been allowed to sit in one.
The receptionist at a different car dealership watches a young man checking out a $110,000 Corvette parked outside. He looks like he is in high school and came straight from his job at Dairy Queen.
She notices that none of the salespeople are making much effort to help him out. So, she finds the manager and explains the situation. Without looking up, he replies, “Why don’t you go help him? Make the sale and I will give you the commission.”
At our industry’s biggest trade show event in October, the owner of a printing company walks from booth to booth looking at new equipment and planning to make at least one purchase that day, possibly two.
Hours later, the owner heads for the exit, sad and frustrated. At nearly every booth, the same experience repeated: Despite there being plenty of salespeople present, not a single one bothered to approach the owner.
In the first story, the diminutive man was Texas billionaire Ross Perot. That was the story he told us at the NAQP (now NPSOA) trade show.
The young man in the second story bought the Corvette from the receptionist, returning with $110,000 in cash later that day. The manager kept his word and paid her full commission.
The third story sounds crazy, right? How in the world could an owner be completely and totally ignored at “nearly every booth I visited that day,” according to the LinkedIn post I read the week after the show was over. Why would multiple salespeople pass on the chance to even help out a prospective customer?
Speculatively, it seems to be because the owner walking around was a woman with a young-looking face that will probably cause her to be carded for years. Vendors may have assumed, based on her appearance, that she was not a serious buyer.
Think of the sales reps who judged Ross Perot.
What must the receptionist’s co-workers have thought when they heard the story about the kid and the Corvette?
Now imagine what the managers whose sales reps at PRINTING United Expo should do with the news they missed a sale because assumptions were made about a young-looking woman being a potential customer?
Let’s step up our game, huh? The only criteria sales reps should be looking for initially is a heartbeat. Everyone is a prospect until proven otherwise.
Managers, you need to share this blog with your equipment sales reps because, before you know it, they’ll be flying out to next September’s PRINTING United Expo in Las Vegas, potentially making the same mistakes all over again.
Bill Farquharson can be reached through SalesVault.pro or by calling 781-934-7036.
Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at email@example.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.