I am finishing a trip to Chicago that has consisted of traveling with our company’s new president, a salesperson from our local rep firm and a distributor salesperson from Allied Electronics and then attending a sales show run by Carlton Bates. I often dread making calls with sales people wondering if they are prepared, if there really is a reason for our call or are they only calling in a favor to keep me occupied. Yesterday, I saw some of the best salesmanship I have seen in some time. Our rep did not know the account contact specifically, but we were there at the request of the Allied salesperson. Both jumped in once the meeting started, delving into the customer’s needs rather than just promoting our products. Once they had clarified the need, they identified opportunities that we could provide to help them solve their enclosure requirements. In this case, the customer was delighted to learn about our 5 day modified enclosure program, an industry leading turnaround on customized products. He was using his internal team to do the modifications, but their lead times were often excessive. The sales team continued to drill down to learn specific products, time frames, and next action items. They were not aggressive, but they were supportive, leaving the customer feeling that his interests were paramount and understanding that we were there to help him, not push our own agenda. They even asked for other contacts at this account, setting up follow up approaches to provide a total solution for that customer.
We then went to the Carlton Bates reverse trade show. They had their outside team prepared to discuss a specific target account and then let us review it with them to determine the enclosure opportunities. They were well prepared, interested in what we had to say, ready with good suggestions, and eager to learn. Several were waiting for us to visit their table to discuss other potential accounts. Again, their focus was on the best aspects of selling, how they can provide exceptional service to their customers. They were excited when they could see approaches to solving sticky issues that the customer had been experiencing and partner with these accounts to be a meaningful support.
I recently spoke to someone who does not allow a salesperson to call on him. He claims to be too busy and tells them he will call when he has a need. I now realize how isolated that person really is. He is not being kept up to date on new products or services, he is not aware of different solutions than the one he develops himself, and so is short changing his company and himself. Of course, there are many weak salespeople who are out to make the biggest sale regardless of what is best for the customer in the long run. But I think as our industry has evolved, these are fewer and the professional salesperson is now helping us drive our enclosure sales. It is an exciting time in our industry.