Sandy's workshop was really beneficial in helping me reach clarity on a way that the Chamber could listen to what our members want, and deliver that in a way which would demonstrate value & benefit. And so the DACC123 Member Promise was born - thanks Sandy
This is the Risk You'd Be Crazy Not to Take
It’s amazing how something you hear just once, can resonate with you for the rest of your life. This particular incident took place when I was in my first job as a rookie salesman.
I worked for a well-known household paper company, selling stationery products into retail stores across Edinburgh and East Scotland. Believe it or not, I’m old enough to have been selling just as retail ‘superstores’ were popping up around the country. My sales territory consisted of 450 smaller shops and wholesale suppliers. I called into each of these retailers quite regularly.
It was a wonderful job where no two days were the same. And I met some wonderful (and wild!) people, during my time there.
In the Beginning, There Was... No-Tech Sales Training
Remember, this was also pre-mobile phones (I know, I know - I’m a fossil). And this meant that I could set off in the morning and pretty much be left alone all day. Doesn’t sound so uncivilised, does it?
A couple of months into my career I was packed off on a new salesperson's training course. We were introduced to Ron, who was the company’s Merchandising Manager. Ron's job was to show us how to display our products for maximum impact.
No One Puts Sandy in The Corner (or in the stock room)
Ron taught us something extremely valuable that day. He stressed how important it was that we never leave a shop without first making sure that all the stock of our product was on display. And not stored away in the back room. This was imperative.
“Never leave knowing that there’s stock of your product hidden away in the back room. Every single item of stock must be on display.”
A crucial part of my job was to price the products and put them on the shelf.
“We must always run the risk of our product being sold."
If it’s not on the shelf, there is no chance of a sale.
This has stayed with me and I have applied these wise words countless times throughout my career and in my business. If our potential customers can't see us then our chances of making the sale are a big, fat… zero. I guess this maxim also applies in the digital sphere with social media marketing, self-promotion and PR in general. There’s no point running a great business if nobody knows about it.
Legends Risk The Sale
I was chatting with Nick Oswald of Legends, not long ago, about this notion and he told me a story of his own. Nick (who is based in Perth) had signed up to go to a networking event in Kirkcaldy. But true to form, a rainy day in the Fair City had turned into a pretty miserable evening. We’ve all had this argument with ourselves at one time or another. On one hand, Nick knew he’d nothing to lose (and probably everything to gain) by booting himself out of the house and off to Kirkcaldy for the evening. But on the other hand, would anyone even turn up on such a bleak night?
In the end, Nick’s business-head prevailed and he went to the event. He told me that as soon as he’d sat down, the guy sitting next to him turned around to him and said,
"Ah Nick, seeing you has just reminded me! I need to place an order, can I just give it to you now?”
This was a new customer. And Nick reckons if he’d skipped the event he’d probably never have closed that sale. No, it’s not rocket science - but it’s a clear example of how turning up and running the risk can be enough to make the sale.
Remember: Put Yourself at Risk of Selling
Next time you’re trying to motivate yourself to contact potential customers or drag yourself along to another networking event and thoughts like “this is a waste of time” creep into your mind, remember:
There are no guarantees in business. But by putting yourself or your product out there, you’ll always be ‘running the risk’ of making a sale.
If I was a gambling man, I might finish up by saying “you’ve got to be in it, to win it”.
Want to close more sales than ever and keep your integrity? My sales training workshops have been developed to give teams the practical selling skills they need to make more sales and build stronger customer relationships. Get in touch today to book your session.
"Not only does Sandy bring with him a wealth of experience but his soft skills and relationship building abilities see him in a class of his own. I have learned a great deal from Sandy in particular in the sales domain where he has developed some insightful, practical, training products."
Finlay Kerr, Business Growth Advisor, Perth and Kinross Council