Show Me Yours and I’ll Show You Mine! – Carrie Overton, Salesperson, GoTeam Unlimited

Amstand Companies has a brand new vice president with specific orders to improve efficiency and effectiveness in its sales operation??!! And he hasn’t yet figured out what approach to take??!!

When Nancy Winslow dropped that little nugget in our first meeting, I almost jumped out of my skin. Suddenly the Amstand account looked like a whole new ballgame. Dollar signs danced before my eyes. I wanted to grab Nancy by the throat and scream, “Take me to this Victor Herstad character! Now!”

‘When you deal with multiple levels of buyers, all of them are important.’

I did no such thing, of course, or anything remotely like it. I can be plenty pushy if need be, but this wasn’t the time. For one thing, the Action Selling system I learned at GoTeam—all right, the system I’m still learning—teaches that when you deal with multiple levels of buyers, all of them are important. Try to bulldoze your way through a mere “influencer” to get to the ultimate decision maker, and you might find out that while the lower-level person can’t make the deal, she can sure kill it. I suspected that Nancy might be able to blow me out of the water if she wasn’t handled carefully.

‘The lowerlevel person can’t make the deal, she can sure kill it.’

So I kept my cool and stayed in what Action Selling calls Act 3, trying to Ask the Best Questions about what Victor had in mind. Victor and Nancy, I reminded myself; must remember to show her respect. But Nancy quickly began to get uncomfortable with my questions about what “efficiency and effectiveness,” or E&E, would mean to Amstand.

She doesn’t know, I thought. This is Victor’s baby, not hers. Don’t embarrass her. Make her an ally. How? I’m not sure.

‘My original Commitment Objective…agreement to meet with me again.’

My original Commitment Objective for the call had been to get Nancy’s agreement to meet with me again for a deeper needs analysis of Amstand’s current situation. Now I knew about a significant need and that the key contact in the picture was going to be Victor Herstad. Should I ask for a meeting with her and Victor instead? No, I hadn’t established a strong enough need for that yet. Help!

That’s when I thought of Ron Jensen, GoTeam’s sales vice president, my boss and, I suppose, my mentor, though I hate that term. Ordinarily I’d rather break a leg than ask for help, but this account could be a whale. Action Selling talks about the salesperson’s role as an orchestrator — one who brings in people and other resources from her company and deploys them intelligently, especially with major accounts. That gives me permission to lean on people like Ron without worrying that they’ll think I’m incapable of doing deals myself.

‘The salesperson’s role as an orchestrator—one who brings in people and other resources.’

In fact, Ron had told me that he and Darrel—that’s Darrel Sharp, GoTeam’s CEO—suspected there might be untapped gold in Amstand. I assumed they just meant that my predecessor on the account, Old Marv the Mouth, couldn’t uncover an actual customer need with a treasure map and a backhoe. They tried to teach him the Action Selling system—boy, did Ron try—but for the life of him, Marv could not learn to shut his giant blowhole and listen to what customers had to say. So finally Ron told him to seek opportunities elsewhere. GabbyLand, maybe. Tragic and all, but geez!

This, however—a new vice president whose whole job was to improve sales E&E, which is basically what GoTeam does—this went way beyond the issue of Marv’s shortcomings. Not for the first time, I wondered if Darrel was clairvoyant. He has an uncanny sense about these things.

I really need a home run. I need to turn a company like Amstand into a gold mine. My husband works for his father, and the old man pays him peanuts. The idea is that one day my husband will take over the business, and then we’ll be on Easy Street. But in the meantime, if I want to keep the health club membership and the cleaning person, I need to bring home the bacon. I don’t want a little slice of Amstand’s business, sharing the pie with five or six competitors. I want all of it!

At the moment, that meant I wanted an insurance policy. Bring in Ron.

Instead of changing my Commitment Objective, I just altered it: Gain Nancy’s agreement to meet again for a needs assessment with me—and Ron. Together, he and I would figure out how to get her to agree to put us in a room with Victor…

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).