Every employee of a company is inherently a sales rep. If employees don’t have enthusiasm and trust in their company, how can one expect customers to have confidence? Smart business leaders understand this and take steps to train and encourage all of their staff to be direct and indirect sales reps.
As a Sr. Interactive Producer at GSD&M, I helped the New Business group at several stages from staffing and resource requirements to ideation sessions and pitch support. I routinely worked with Account Directors to pitch new campaigns directly to clients.
As a partner at Stream Studio, I applied my professional solution-sales training to generate high-value sales channels and close large per-contract deals. I’ve had success responding to government and corporate RFPs, a task often avoided by sales professionals because of the risk of losing precious time preparing for an non-guaranteed result. I credit both preparation and presentation for winning these contracts.
My sales experience, like many American children in recent generations, began by peddling products to raise funds for my school. Each year, I sold holiday cards and gifts door-to-door to my neighbors in Newton, Kansas. I learned to send catalogs to work with my parents and I’d leave them in the reception hall at church. I still remember the sense of accomplishment when someone agreed to buy a box of cards. They’d sign the simple form and write me a check, which I’d proudly show my friends.
I got my first sales job with hands-on training at age 14. Again, going door-to-door, I sold the Dallas Times Herald when Dallas had two major daily papers. My manager was a larceny ex-con named Buster who put me on a team of dopeheads and dropouts. He hauled us around the DFW metroplex in a beat up windowless van and dropped us off in strange neighborhoods. I routinely out-sold everyone on my team to earn bonuses. I dressed presentably and quickly canvased my neighborhood. I would then work nearby businesses or an adjacent apartment complex where I could pitch more people in the same amount of time. Later, I met with a few real estate agents who’d give me lists of newcomers to the area, a much more qualified prospect. Hitting the hot evening pavement with a motley crew of delinquents is not the most glamorous form of sales training, but I gathered street smarts and learned how to work intelligently in a competitive environment.
In college, Associated Financial Services, Inc. hired me as an NSF check collector. We didn’t use our real names for our own safety, so I operated under the pseudonym Bill Marshall (get it? how clever). My knowledge of skip tracing, customer handling and industry legislation, became invaluable when the company president selected me for the first formal sales team for the company. Under the exceptional training of my Sales Manager, I learned how to sell professional financial services to small businesses and manage and train new-hires to do the same thing.