26 Oct 2009

Do You Like a Good Sales Story?

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Shocking Sales Turnaround

By Austin Helsel

Some say selling commercial printing is one of the most competitive markets there is. I was 28 years old and breaking into my 1st fulltime job as a “sales pro”. The company I worked for was a quality company but had no training to offer me other than “go out there and make us proud”. I sold a product that was 25% higher than all my competitors and had no special reasons why they should buy from me other than admiring my new JC Penny suit I proudly wore. I also had to ask the customer to drive 1 1/2 hours to see the job on press one way instead of 10 minutes to the local printer and then stay for a few hours or longer until we printed the other side for their approval. No easy task.
I had been trying for about 6 months at a large pharmaceutical company to let me price some of their printing jobs but I never could get through the gatekeeper who protected Ms. Walters from the printing sales hopefuls itching to get in the door.
After what seemed like eternity, I finally got my chance to price a printing job and called to give the price to Ms. Walters who I have never even had the chance to meet. When I asked for her, the gatekeeper wanted the price and would not let me talk to “Ms. Walters” so it seemed I had no choice but to give it to her and so I did. She relayed the price to Ms. Walters and I heard her say in the background “tell that man he’s going to have to do something about that price”. The gate keeper relayed that to me and I had to think fast so I said…
“OK, I’ll raise the price!”
The gatekeeper whispered into the phone- “Sir, you don’t want to do that” but I insisted for her to say it to “Ms. Walters” and I heard her say timidly….. “Ms. Walters, Mr. Helsel said he would do something about the price, he would raise it.
Immediately, I heard the strangest thing. Ms. Walters was laughing hysterically and to my shocking surprise said….
Ms Walters turned out to be a very nice lady and we did quite a bit more work together and often looked back and laughed at the “shocking turnaround” of that very special day.
It’s true, it could have gone the other way but after 6 months of trying, I really felt I did not have too much to lose.

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