The Owner Who Had Contempt for Salespeople

Another True Story – the names are changed to protect to guilty

Once there was a factory owner – Fred – who had contempt for salespeople. He had inherited the factory from his father and had one key relationship with a major retailer, who bought over 50% of his output. Fred had a talent for matching the right person to the right task in the factory, getting efficient production. For many years, Fred earned a substantial income.

He knew the “real work” gets done in the factory, that salespeople are “silver tongued devils” who: (1) contribute nothing; (2) are prima donnas; and (3) are overpaid and claim all the credit for themselves

At best salespeople are a necessary evil, because someone needs to “schmooze” with the clients. After all, Fred argued, “It’s not rocket science; anyone can sell.”

So, he had contempt for salespeople.

Now, Fred had a son – Ira – who was not very competent in business and could not hold a job. As a father caring for his son, Fred decided to give Ira a job in the family business.

Realizing Ira was not very competent, Fred ruled out factory employment, since the “real work” is done in the factory.

Fred searched and thought and finally identified the perfect job – VP Sales. Since sales are not important and Ira was not very competent, it seemed a perfect fit.

For a while, the arrangement was perfect; Ira wined and dined clients, especially the key client, Charlie.

Then Charlie retired and his sons took over Charlie’s business. They bench marked best production practices and decided Fred’s domestic factory was not the ideal source of supply. They switched to overseas sourcing, a move resisted by their father.

Fred lost most of his sales. To fill the gap, he developed a retail line and looked to his son Ira – the VP Sales – to develop new customers.

It was hopeless. Ira had no skills in new business development. In a few years, Fred shut the factory.

Here’s what Fred learned the hard way: Selling in fact is “rocket science.”

Selling requires creating or tapping the client urgency – using the urgency to achieve prospect commitment to a decision process.

Selling requires proving – satisfying the skeptical audience.

Selling requires a “discussion with the future” – developing consultative relationships with prospects and clients that allow us to understand the client’s future needs.

Selling requires a sales management system that tracks critical intermediate results – watching what the prospect does, not what the prospect says.

Selling can be a scalable core asset that dramatically increases company value.

Avoid Fred’s doom by investing in a best practices selling system.