I remember the exact scene several years ago when my husband transitioned from service work to sales. He was an experienced master electrician, but had always been a natural at connecting with people. He became the lead sales guy for small HVAC/Electrical company.
Bubbling with excitement, he came home the first day and declared in our kitchen, “I’m going to get them all.” He proceeded to tell me how he was going to win over every builder in our fairly large city and projected his anticipated numbers.
It was followed by a smirk and giggle from me.
At the time, I was a VP and had been “around the block” in the sales world for the previous 10 years. My giggling wasn’t out of arrogance or meanness, but experience and remembrance of having that same naive outlook.
After he finished conveying his plan to dominate the builder market, I encouraged him to write down his enthusiasm for later reference and gave him an wisdom nugget that all new sales people need- you do not want them all.
The facts are, especially in B2B, you will have customers that:
- pass your deals to competitors to instigate bidding wars
- are rate/price whores who will move their business for an 1/8%
- fabricate legal documents
- keep you talking for ego or friend needs
- want you to train their staff
- don’t pay their bills
- expect extravagant perks
- just don’t fit
The fun part is weeding out those companies to find your ideal customers. And when you do, you become their go-to gal (or guy) and end up joyfully providing those perks, free training, and eventual price concessions anyway.
As a new rep or business owner, go have a blast talking to them all. The person who isn’t a good fit today, may be your best customer down the road at another company.
Just don’t compromise your worth, value, and time. You do not want them all.