Monday, March 29, 2004
But.....really, under all that B.S., I love to win. I'm not a nice sales person. Not at all. I focus on my competition, learn everything I can about them and then do what I can to take....them....out.
I don't fight dirty - ever. I just overwhelm them with attention and details. I plan and plan and plan. Then I execute. I don't belittle my competition (well not in public) or "steal" their space. You catch more bees with honey and if you come across negative, people will be suspicious of what you are hiding.
For example, when I worked in the food and beverage industry I called on some pretty big retailers. My responsibility was in retail execution - making things look the way they were supposed to in the stores. Also, I managed a group of brokers who were making that happen at the ground level. Can be pretty overwhelming when we are talking in excess of 2000 stores.
So you break it down to make it manageable. First, determine who the enemy is. I worked for a major orange juice company. Minute Maid had the largest market share so they were top on my list. But, I noticed that Pillsbury was always getting additional space in the set. Hmmm, why them? They were the buyers "go to" people and would throw them that opportunity whenever someone else dropped the ball and they needed help.
Well, that wasn't going to work for me! I wanted to be the "go to" guy. I wanted to be the first one they thought of when trying to figure out how to fix something. (It goes back to that being the sparklyest thing I mentioned earlier.) So, I bought one of those little Doughboy dolls and hung him by his neck in my office. I printed up pictures of him with the red circle and line thru it to pass to all my brokers. I met with them all and told them exactly what I wanted. Kill the Doughboy.
I then put together a battle plan to accomplish that. Simple things, really. Be in the stores every 2 weeks. Spend a minimum of 15 mins with the Department Manager and find out what was going on. I supplied the brokers with numbers so they could discuss how business was going in each store (details, they are very important) and let my upper management woo the corporate guys. I analyzed each item we sold, in every store. I knew when a certain product dropped in sales in a certain store over a 2 week timeframe, and we addressed it before anyone else even noticed. Then told them what we did. :) They liked that a lot.
And within 9 months, WE were the captains of the set. We got the extra space, and we increased market share by 5% within that once retailer. It's all about focus.
I watch Market Share, both overall and within my customers, constantly. My bosses look at volume and dollars - not me. Oh, I have to care about that (as it's important to them) but if spending is down, bottom line is I want what dollars are spent to be spent on my product.
Sales has two very important facets. One, you better have a darn good product, or you're a flash in the pan. Second - build relationships. That's easy for me. I say what I'll do and do what I say. I study to understand what is important to my customer and then put a plan together that does what they need they way they need it. I show them that they matter to me - no matter how small they are.
I Love To Win. Right now - I've got the enemy square in my sites and I'm putting together a plan of attack. I'm going to win, don't doubt that. I'm too competitive not to.