Tag Archives: Field Sales

This is the Salesman I Could Have Become

One of the main reasons I lasted long enough to become successful in sales and sales management, was the simple fact that throughout my career, a few people saw my potential and had the tenacity and patience to help me see it too.

I’ve quite literally filled books with the lessons they passed on, but here are just three that made a huge difference.

I need to share this with you before we go on – when I started my career in sales, I was appallingly bad, absolutely shocking. I was cocky, unreceptive, under the illusion that I could simply glide through with a smidgeon of natural talent and a touch of charm – and I shudder at the memory.

But it turns out, that’s precisely what enabled me to write my most popular books and sales training programmes for Varda Kreuz – in fact I meet ‘young me’ fairly regularly during training workshops – and I try to distil into twenty hours what a couple of incredible mentors and bosses showed me over the course of twenty years – and I’m forever grateful for the information they shared with me.

Lesson Number 1 – Deliver Value to the Business or Get out

When I was growing up, no one would ever have called my family wealthy and by the time I hit my teens I’d still never met anyone who I’d now classify as rich, and aspired for very little other than to possibly one day own my own home and drive a car.

If I had enough for the rent, an appetising fridge and enough for a few weekend beers with the boys – I was happy enough.

My first business to business sales role was a tough education – but they invested in me with training and sales tools and in return I put my suit on every day and polished my shoes.

Just earning the flat basic wage didn’t bother me, it would have been nice to receive a little more commission every month – but if it didn’t happen it wasn’t the end of the world.

I turned up for work with a smile and hoped sales would follow me in – but if they didn’t – hey, no worries.

I have to say it came as quite a bit of a shock when they fired me.

And although I don’t remember that particular sales manager as one of my favourite bosses, he changed my outlook on sales so that I’d never fall over so stupidly ever again – after that I made sure I made a difference and that the people who mattered saw the difference I was making.

Lesson Number 2 – Understand How You Help

For a good few years I walked in to see customers and sold AT them. Actually, that’s how everyone I knew sold – it’s still how most people I meet sell to this day.

Even after a week of solid, expensive, highly focused sales training with a big multi-national company – I had no concept of how I helped anyone.

We didn’t talk about it, we weren’t trained on it – no one internally saw it as a requirement or cared that it might be a better way of doing things – or produce more business.

It was a buyer called Terry Wiseman who helped me see it one Christmas.

Terry worked for a wholesaler – and told me that my generic Christmas Promotion was a bag of ****, pointless, not fit for purpose and that (correctly) it had been thought up by marketeers on the fifth floor who had never met a customer in their life.

That year I sold 5 boxes through Terry’s business.

The following Christmas I held up my hands, admitted that my ignorance towards customer buying motives and arrogant attitude wasn’t going to deliver either of us any bonus – and that’s when he opened my eyes.

He showed me why people bought my products, how they used them, what they needed them for – what flicked their switch, the quantity that they liked to purchase, the add-on purchases that could be acquired with the right bundle deal.

I sold 10,000 boxes that Christmas

Actually, it only occurred to me while writing this, that this lesson was delivered by a Wiseman at Christmas – and let me tell you, it was worth its weight in gold – Terry helped me see something I would later describe like this;

People buy drills because they want to create holes – bad salespeople present drills, great salespeople help them achieve the hole they need.

Lesson Number 3 – Make Sure You Can Go Back Again

So now my career is going through the roof – I mean flying.

Company-wide memos referencing my big wins are coming from the Managing Director’s office, I’m getting personal letters of thanks from the chairman and I’m regularly asked to host sales meetings to share my insight and techniques with the rest of the business.

I’ve had two promotions in six months and I’m being considered for another – a big one – before Easter.

And that was when my Sales Director – Craig Campbell – dropped a bombshell during my end-of-year appraisal.

“I know what you’re doing Chris – and it’s time to stop.”

“What do you mean ‘what I’m doing’? I’ll tell you what I’m doing – I’m knocking every sales target out of the park, I’m securing previously thought unwinnable contracts on a monthly basis, and I’m getting listings that no one has got anywhere near achieving in the last twenty years – that’s what I’m doing!”

The memory of his stare fills me with a chill to this day – and still makes me want to shut up immediately and leaves me feeling stupid twenty years after the event.

He put his pen on the appraisal document and slowly and precisely pointed out that my search for glory was about to fall flat on its own fat backside.

Yes – I had a knack for helping people, delivering the solution they needed and writing proposals that people actually wanted to read – and yes that had led to business going through the roof.

But that was the last time a customer ever heard from me.

Even when things went wrong or didn’t work out as well as I’d promised – I left their calls unanswered – I was too busy chasing the company-wide recognition, the next big win.

But that industry – just like every other – was too small to treat existing customers so badly.

My thinking was at least six months short of short-term thinking.

Contracts and tenders would come round again in a matter of months, new product launches would require presentations to the same groups of people, even if I moved to another business appointments would be few and far between because I’d lost their trust – and testimonials and referrals were just about to dry up and never return.

He also pointed out, that further down the line when I had my own sales team to manage, their reputation would be tainted by mine and no one would want to see them either, so that would end in failure too.

Craig shared all that with me, I nodded in embarrassment, his expression stretched into a smile – he told me that my future was bright and that I should do something about getting it back on track – and then he bought me a drink to toast my imminent success.

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Thanks for reading this blog post. On my blog, I regularly write about Sales, Sales Management and Customer Service issues, topics and trends.

I’d also be delighted to connect via Twitter, YouTube and of course, through Varda Kreuz Training.

About: Chris Murray is founder and Managing Director of Varda Kreuz Training, a company created to deliver sales training that really works – not in theory and not just sometimes, but sales training that really works. You can find out more about Varda Kreuz Training HERE or give us a call right now on 0844 923 9777 (UK)

His latest book, The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club is an Amazon Number 1 Best Seller and has been heralded as the Da Vinci Code for salespeople.

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Filed under Business Development, Personal Development, Sales Management, Sales Targets, Sales Training

Selling with EASE – The Ultimate Field Sales Handbook 2nd Edition Now Available

Read by more than 80,000 people worldwide in its first 12 months

This is THE ultimate field sales resource, breaking the sales process down into four, easy to understand stages; Earn the right; Ask the appropriate questions; Solve the problem & Execute the solution.

Now updated with even more down to earth, field tested, hit-the-ground-running advice; Selling with EASE – The Ultimate Field Sales Handbook can help you become more effective, more productive, more successful and happier in what you do – FACT.

If you are looking for your first sales position, already in a field sales role or a sales manager looking for new ways to focus the team, this book will prove invaluable.

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Praise from Readers for Selling with EASE – The Ultimate Field Sales Handbook

“This is a great read and simple format for any sales team to follow. It doesn’t matter what or where you are selling…the same rules apply!”

– Leonard Patterson Area Sales Director USA

“Thanks very much for the ultimate field sales book, excellent tips and some great info. I’ll certainly have you on my list when I next look for sales training.”

Phil Keenan Director UK

“Simply great work. Very useful.”

– Sharad Dua Human Resources India

“Great book – well written and full of really useful nuggets.”

– Phil Broughton Head of Sales UK

“Thanks; wonderful. We need Varda Kreuz in India.”

– Anup Soans Author & Program Director India

“Thank you, this is extremely helpful.”

– Mustafa Awwad Sales Manager Kuwait

“This is wonderful!”

– Laurie Shafer Account Manager USA

“I have had many salespersons call on me over the years who could benefit greatly from this book.”

– Ewan Ogilvie Director UK

“Amazing job… great book!”

– Marcio Miranda Account Executive Brazil

“Thanks Chris for your great book, very useful.”

– Koen Vanderhoydonk Client Relationship Management Belgium

“I just love this handbook! Thank you”

– Verna Z. Waite Independent Insurance Sales Person USA

“Chris, this is simply written, with good content and well laid out. Good stuff!”

– Haydn Wall International Sales Manager Australia

“Your book is fantastic – very well laid out and easy to read, congratulations!”

– Neil Aremband Managing Director UK

“EXCELLENT!!”

– Valeria Morado Spain

“This is exactly what I was needed. I find your book an excellent tool for our sales team in addition to the other sales techniques and training tools we have.”

– Slavdo Todorov General Manager Bulgaria

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From the Author

When I was a Sales Director looking for sales trainers to improve my team – to give them the great start that I’d had within larger organisations – I wanted someone that completely understood the role of a field sales team and the market in which I operated.

I didn’t find them!

One of the main reasons I formed Varda Kreuz Training and the On Trade Sales Academy stemmed from those frustrations and they were reflected in my reasoning for writing this handbook – there simply isn’t enough out there to help field sales people, especially not for the FMCG* side of things.

Sure there’s lots of generic work, but nothing for someone stumbling into their first field sales job or looking for a useful refresher.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on the office line – +44 (0) 844 293 9777 – if I’m around I’ll take the call, if I’m training one of our delightful reception staff will take your details and I’ll call you back as soon as I’m free.

You can also e-mail me (ultimatefieldsales@vardakreuztraining.com) with any suggestions for the third edition, your thoughts on this one or just for a general chat regarding field sales team training – either way I’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it.

Best regards,

Chris Murray

*FMCG – Fast Moving Consumer Goods

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Filed under Drinks Industry Sales Training, Sales Training, Self Improvement