Selling is the art to discover the need of the customer and provide the right solution at the right time. Salesmen should invest their time and effort with people they know who can afford to purchase and truly value the product, especially when it is a capital investment for the consumer.
A national highway in India was being widened. Two Vice Presidents of a big construction machine manufacturing company drove down that highway. They figured it was an excellent opportunity for the company to get some good business. After returning they deployed their chain of managers to further scan the project and make inroads for sales.
The project was monitored every week, contractors associated with the project were determined and contacted, their fleet strength scanned. Some of the contractors were given a tour of the plant with broad hospitality on the companies tab.
We know hard work should not go unrewarded. However, in two years, the project was almost completed and the company after putting in so much time, effort and money, could make no substantial sales. Why did it fail?
In a typical very hot summer of north India, the V.P.’s never got out of their cars. From inside the air conditioned car, they saw the project.
The managers also drove through, they too never go out of their cars. Managers instructed the local dealer to give weekly updates. The dealer after a couple of weeks found it was chasing shadows with no benefit. False updates started ascending from bottom to to the top. Managers passed the same false updates to the V.P.’s.
Some of the facts remained unknown to the hierarchy. A bunch of subcontractors had involved themselves out of compulsion, as there were no other ongoing projects. The ROI of the project was negligible. The flow of revenue was so bad the subcontractors had to wait for months to get their payment. Also, many petty contractors had idle machines that were found on cheap rent. Buying a machine requires minimum investments followed by monthly repayment and interest.
Investments on a new machine was never a necessity for the subcontractors. For customers consider changing from the status quo, they need to know about the tangible business results they will get from using your product or service. The ground realities were never discovered by the V.P.’s or the managers.
At the end of the day, it is the consumer who makes the buying decision and not the seller. The salesman’s job is to make their best presentation and let them decide. There is a considerable difference between necessity and want. You can access that when you meet someone face to face. Not over a telephone sitting comfortably in your chamber. Sales are hard work. Sales Executives, Sales Managers or VP.’re, all have to take responsibility. There is no room for ego of superiority or hierarchy in Sales.