Meanwhile, Back In the Customer’s Head – ‘I think this guy can actually help me.’

If Bridgeco intends to grow from $500 million to $1 billion in revenue, I’m sure you’ll need to make changes in the way you acquire the products you sell. What concerns do you have about your ability to handle the increased volume?” Mitch asked Jim Bradley.

“We’ll have to find efficiencies within our supply chain,” Bradley replied. “We certainly don’t want to grow without a corresponding reduction in our cost of doing business.”

I can’t believe I’m having this level of conversation with a salesperson, Bradley thought, not for the first time. I actually think this guy might be able to help us with some real problems. The 20 minutes he originally allowed for Mitch’s call already had stretched to 40, and Bradley was not at all impatient to end the visit. Quite the opposite.

From the start, this had been anything but a typical sales call. If he’s got a product pitch, I haven’t heard it, Bradley thought. He knew he had revealed far more information about Bridgeco—its workings and its plans—than he ordinarily would regard as any of a salesperson’s business. Or anything a salesperson would care about, his mind added. He tried again to put his finger on what it was about Mitch that made him want to open up. The closest he could come was this: He doesn’t act as if I obviously need what he’s selling. He genuinely seems to want to know whether he can help us, and if so, how.

“Mitch genuinely seems to want to know if he can help us.”

Before Mitch walked into Jim Bradley’s office, he had done enough research to know that Bridgeco was a $500 million company with about 700 salespeople in 60 branches. It had been easy to learn that Bradley was one of Bridgeco’s five majority shareholders and served as vice president of marketing. Mitch also was aware of speculation in the business press that Bridgeco was planning a public stock offer soon. Bradley appreciated the fact that Mitch had prepared for the visit, but there was nothing especially unusual about a salesperson doing a little bit of homework before a call…

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).