Thursday, March 24/Friday, March 25

One entry will pretty much do

I rarely if ever cover two weekdays with a single entry, but this is a reasonable exception as both days were pretty much the same: calling on customers in Opossum Hollow, making no sales but getting some things set up for next week.  Most of the people I was trying to see weren’t in this week.  It looks as if Monday’s relatively small sale will be it for the week.  Not disastrous, but I was hoping for more.  After Wednesday’s tragic melodrama I barely had enough energy to make it through these two days.  One interesting thing is that when I met with my manager on Friday afternoon he told me that Opossum Hollow has a reputation as a tough town in which to make sales.  Sort of like a more upscale version of Groundhog Crossing.  I also related the facts of Wednesday’s failed sale, and he told me that it was doubtful if anyone could have done any better.  Frightened customers are possibly the most difficult of all.

Addendum: What with having a few days to reflect on matters, I’m increasingly convinced that Wednesday’s failed sale was perhaps more complicated right from the start than I had originally thought.  When I arrived for the sales call, the customer’s wife was watching television in the other room, though she did not participate in the discussion.  A few minutes after my arrival she got her coat and went out, saying “Bye Honey” to her husband.  A few months ago, a different customer’s wife went out during the course of my presentation to the customer, and the sale failed when the customer gave the typical “Let me talk it over with my wife” response.  That was one of the responses Wednesday’s customer gave, along with “Let me think about it.”

My theory, suspicion, hunch, whatever, is that the wife’s departure may have been planned out in advance, so that the customer would be able to deflect sales pressure by trotting out the “Let me talk it over with my wife” line.  Call it advance creation of plausible deniability.   If this is so, it means that I had greatly overestimated the customer’s degree of interest.

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Published in: on March 27, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I admire your persistence in selling your wares.

  2. Thanks. It’s not an easy way to make a living, that’s for sure. After Wednesday’s string of failures it was really hard to keep going.

  3. My F-I-L was salesman. He sold industrial machinery on every coast and in between for 25 years or so. He immigrated here from Holland in the 1960s. He left the US several years to follow the industrial/manufacturing clients to Asia.

    I left my native state of Wisconsin years ago–basically in pursuit of opportunity. Sometimes you just gotta go where business is happening, even at high personal cost.

  4. At one time you said you shouldn’t pitch to married men without their wives being present. Is that feasible, or would you lose too many sales that way?

  5. When I’m scheduling a sales call, and the customer is a man, I’ll ask him if he’s married if I don’t know already. If he says yes, I’ll ask if his wife will be present. That’s really all I can do. If he says that his wife won’t be there, I’ll make the presentation just to him and hope for the best. Insisting that the wife must be present would be too likely to alienate potential customers.


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