After months of fruitless cold-calling, I finally got in touch with someone who was interested in sitting down to talk about doing business with the shop.
My initial response to any receptive prospect is elation. But as the details of a face-to-face meeting were slowly hashed out, I began to quiver.
I’d never been on a sales call before, and apart from reading a book or two on the subject, I had nearly no knowledge of how to sell stuff.
It got to the point where I welcomed delays and half-wished that the set date would be cleared at the last minute to avoid the impending awkwardness.
Fortunately, my fears never materialized. The meeting went well, the quote was negotiated, and the sale was closed.
Sales calls may sound scary to the inexperienced, but good preparation, coaching from a more experienced partner, and sheer persistence will enable you to overcome these fears.
Before we went to the meeting, we made sure to be as prepared as we could. “We” in this case means my grandfather and I, who worked together on this sale. Grandpa is our Goodwill Ambassador, and an experienced salesman and printer.
We brainstormed questions to ask our prospective client, checking and re-checking them to make sure they were on the right target.
We worked out a basic outline for how we wanted the meeting to go, what we needed to find out, and how we would work together. We agreed that I should do most of the talking while Grandpa worked as backup.
It should be understood that everyone who is just starting out in any field should find a mentor. Your mentor should have several more years of experience than you and have the heart of a teacher.
I found such a mentor in my grandfather.
Grandpa proved invaluable to this sales call. His advice and insight into the matter was essential in the preparation process. During the meeting, he was able to provide valuable product knowledge that cemented our rapport with the client.
The long and short of it is that without Grandpa, I would be quite lost in my pursuit of the sale. I’m glad he’s around.
The final piece of advice that I can offer as a novice salesperson is to be persistent.
Although I was afraid of being seen as boorish and rude by the prospect, it turns out that she was impressed by my determination to secure a meeting, not to mention my courteous manner. This helped us build rapport, which in turn led to the sale.
The lesson here to be bold. Don’t be afraid to pick up that phone start calling. Once you get a viable lead, make sure to not only differentiate yourself from the competition, but to do it nicely.
With the correct preparation, a good mentor, and a plucky attitude, I was able to secure a new client. With luck, I’ll learn from the mistakes we made during this sale (we nearly forgot to bring samples) and to study what we did right.
Having learned all of this from just one meeting, I now hope to apply my knowledge for the purpose of arranging more meetings.
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing advice on print-buying and business, along with notes on the state of the shop.