by Lucy Blomfield
Sales People like to talk to as many people as possible, because it increases the possibility of a sale. Traveling sales people really need to keep moving. Blizzards, canceled planes, fires in tunnels, electrical breakdowns in subways - all of these stop their business. Physical obstructions to traveling are especially costly to salespeople.
Selling by phone, on the other hand, keeps a salesman moving. Phone lines are infrequently down in the Western world. So it's possible to move across a big country like America, and not have to stop selling at all.
For example, if you live on the East coast, you can begin calling government workers at 8:00 a.m., offices at 9, retail at 10. At lunch time, you can call Chicago. Chicagoans at lunch, try Las Vegas...very exhilarating! If you have a customer in Hawaii, and you live on the East coast, you can call him at midnight, and he'll still be open!
Have you ever been at a trade exhibition, and been backed into the corner of your booth by the Tight family - 3 generations - who took a half hour to talk to you about your product only to ask, "What is the minimum order?"
On the phone this doesn't need to happen. You can become skillful at asking questions to find "good" potentials. The bad ones, you can politely learn to say goodbye to - quickly.
Travel the World in Minutes
I used to sell in Canada. I'd drive across the border at Peacebridge near Buffalo, New York. It was really fun being part of the static lorry queue. Unfortunately, but perhaps fortunately, the weak Canadian dollar, import duties, and shipping problems has greatly curtailed our company's business in Canada. However, I have a good customer in Banff, Alberta, whom I've never met. I speak to him on the phone occasionally, and he faxes good orders. So there is potential for us.
Last week I called the corporate office of the Imax Theatres, which is in Canada. I'd sold to a couple of Imax Theatre shops in the U.S. I was able to speak to the Merchandise Director, and he was very interested in our product. He has 120 theatres world wide - 80 in the U.S., 10 in Canada, the rest in other countries. Imax warehouses in California, which means we wouldn't have to ship to Canada. He was very interested that our company manufactured in Thailand, and warehoused both in the U.S. and the U.K. He faxed us his list of theatres, which turned out to be a great potential list for our sales team. In a few minutes, via phone, our company was in contact with many businesses throughout the world, as well as with the "right" kind of Canadian customer for us.
I believe it is possible to find bigger, better accounts via telemarketing. Selling by phone allows a salesman to make many contacts, but to be successful he must make scores of phone calls each day. Also it is important to return again and again, by repeat follow-up phoning. How very enjoyable it is to be continuously selling by phone!
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