Perseverance is a virtue

As a seller you will sometimes end up in situations you do not have control over. These may be due to factors that are beyond your control.

I will give you an example from my everyday life:

It happened at the time that after I have held a lecture to a group of senior managers and sales directors, one company showed an interest in an arrangement of sales training for their sales staff in the organization. The company is reasonably large, to say the least, and the market leader in its field with its products.

For the time being I was forced to hand over the handling to another person who would stand to compile and arrange for this to take place. The person in question was and is not fully versed in sales but has a position that allows him to take it on. He is the office manager.

It was with mixed feelings I did this because I wanted to be with and meet the person, but the nature of the situation was that I had other things on the table.

After a lot of back and forth so we finally came up with a proposal that would hopefully be of interest to the customer.

The bid was submitted and to my great surprise, it became a negative answer, a setback for me in that situation, but now it was as it was.

The person in question who delivered the quotation, submitted the reply, and then there was nothing more to it.

As a seller, I did as a salesperson does, and took direct contact with the company and wondered what went wrong, and wished to make an appointment with him to go through the proposal and see if it was possible to salvage something. The answer was a resounding no, and the reason was the price, period, and he saw no opportunity or reason to get together.

I did not want to give in so easily, and after waiting for the right moment, I got the time to call him.

He replied and announced friendly but strongly that there was no point in meeting because of the price. I wondered then, if the price was right, would it be interesting then?

He then wanted me to give him a proposal and he would look at it and come back.

I stood my ground and said that, the important thing was that together we might be able to come up with a reasonable compensation. I was willing to discuss and if he was that as well, it would be to both our advantage. I did not give a prize to him.

He understood that I really wanted to meet him and that it was a topic that we together could come up with a solution, so I had my meeting with him.

I took the map, located the office and planned my route with safety margin, because I wanted to be on time. Better in time and have to wait than to come up with lame excuses about this or that. Traffic was calm that day and I arrived an hour earlier and announced my arrival. Prepared myself to wait and made myself comfortable.

To my surprise my meeting came earlier and invited me into his office, where an interesting discussion started. As is customary, I put my three questions about the past, present and future, (see previous post on this blog) and we then came to the critical issue of the price.

I mentioned to him about what I got for another training, and we talked about this and he said, to my surprise, that he could pay significantly more than that.

The price was settled and we were both happy with the price, it was ok for both parties. We agreed on a 2 + 2 day course with an opening for continuing training depending on how my implementation of the training would be.

After this, he asked me what else I had in the portfolio and I mentioned my programs in leadership and group training, and he lit up.

It turned out that he has a company that deals precisely with this and that my programs and ideas would fit in well with his selection of training and that this would generate significantly more than what we came up with for the sales training.

After this there was a tour around the factory, a lot of handshakes and meeting with the General Manager himself, where he became acquainted with what might come out of our engagement. Thumbs up from the GM, and he looked forward to seeing me there.

Continued tour and insight into the company’s various departments with explanation about the challenges they had and the difficulty of getting them to work as a team.

Returned to the office and traditional hand shake and a proposal that he would take part of via email.

What I want with this post is to make you realize that a no is not a no until every topic and proposals have been discussed. Never give up, be persistent and be sure to get to a meeting, where you have your plan clear.

What I dreaded over when calling him was to get a no, but through my years, I’ve learned to ask myself these questions:

  • What’s the worst that could happen? In this case, a no, and with that, nothing. Nothing out of nothing is still nothing so the status is the same as before I ask the question.
  • What is the best thing that could happen? In this case, yes, and with it a something out of nothing, so the status is sales and revenue. A success!

I managed to turn a defeat into a victory, and if I can so can you. You have more potential than you might think, and everything is possible.

Work hard and do your best out there.

12 thoughts on “Perseverance is a virtue

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