Sales That Put A Smile on Your Face

Edition: December 2002 - Vol 10 Number 12
Article#: 1367
Author: Repertoire

It’s the end of the year. Why not take some time to sit back and reflect on the good things you did this year?

Many of the Dail-E News readers did just that, in response to our recent E-Vent question: “Please tell us about your best sale or sales call of 2002.” Here’s a sampling of what they said.



My company is a specialty distributor [headquartered in Missouri] for third party items, which can be reimbursed through Medicare and/or Medicaid. Back in February, we started to expand our business into Texas. I scheduled an initial appointment with a seasoned director of nursing (DON) for a large facility in East Texas for 1 pm. Driving from Houston, I got lost and was running late, so I called the DON and told her I was behind schedule and that I would be there by 1:30 pm. She said not a problem.

I arrived at the facility about 1:40! I sit down with the DON and several of her key staff for the higher acuity buildings. I do my shtick, we have Q&A, and two hours later, we wrap things up with this conclusion: One, we can save the facility budgetary dollars in areas/departments they were not aware of; two, [we can] consolidate the number of providers from three to one (my company); and three, the patients are going to receive higher quality products than what was being provided or bought currently.

I thank every one for their time and apologize for my tardiness once again by stating it was my first trip to East Texas. The DON tells me that it was quite all right, because she had pre-planned on kicking me out of her office after just 15 minutes. But somehow, 15 minutes got to be two hours, and I taught her more about reimbursement in that two hours than she had ever known. Needless to say, our Lone Star State expansion is going well.



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Sold the account no one thought could be sold. Did it by going slow and taking nothing for granted Customized solutions that were a win-win for all.



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Every sale that the customer tells me the product really helped them perform their jobs better or helped their patient.



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Best call was in response to a request for an evaluation of products at a hospital facility. Got to the hospital late -- 8:30 pm -- due to car problems. (I almost canceled the meeting, as my car was overheating and I was 100 miles from the hospital.) Worked it out with the hospital to get there in the evening and with the distributor rep to come and get me 100 miles from the account. Went in to set up everything for the 7:00 am shift.

Found some other problems with the equipment they were using to do the evaluation and noted it to the OR supervisor. Came back the next day and the OR supervisor thanked me for mentioning the problems. [She told me] that the evaluation was being canceled because the repair tech she called in to fix the problems -- which I had noticed -- said that the problems occurred because they were using my products. The repair rep said that these new products caused her the problem. The OR supervisor knew the damage was not from our items, at [they had] never [been] used on the equipment.

Bottom line is that she canceled the evaluation and switched 17 hospitals in her IHN to our products, because the other service rep did not tell the truth. Learned two things: First, make the extra effort to make the appointment no matter what, second, be honest with your customers, no matter what!.



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My best sales call of 2002 was when I sold a materials manager on how clinical outcomes directly affect bottom line dollars. This was my largest conversion to date, where the materials manager had minimal belief in tying outcomes to dollar savings. The strategy was based upon expressing how the difference in one day's wear time of a dressing could impact a facility as high as 8 percent savings on YTD.



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Driving down the interstate. Saw a sign that a new outpatient hospital was opening. Stopped in and met the director of CCL and got an order for $90+k.



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As a manufacturer, I haven't made sales calls in a while. But I would like to share one of my first such calls several years ago. I took two customers to an out-of-town site visit. Upon returning, the weather was extremely uncooperative, closing [O’Hare International Airport]. We were stranded. As we stood at the train station awaiting transportation, my potential customer remarked that it appeared [as if] doing business with me was [fraught] with difficulties. I replied that difficulties can arise at any time, the important consideration is how they are handled. After this conversation, I checked us all into a very nice hotel at the airport and hosted an excellent meal at a very nice restaurant. Deal closed, over $100k, end of story.



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Had a sales call with a large customer related to a contracting process we were involved in. In the call, things got very heated, as both parties were vying for position. I [showed] leadership by staying very resolution-oriented and upbeat. We wound up creating a win-win scenario for both parties under very intense circumstances. Reminded me that regardless of the negotiating scenario, it is not personal, it's business, and remaining positive and resolution-oriented can work wonders.



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Recently a customer whom I had served while working for a different company had a need for the products that my company as well as several competitors manufacture. My company was chosen because of the quality of service I provided previously. No other factor was in play.



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Often, I am sure people who have not met me grow tired of my persistent voice mail and e-mail messages and letters. When I find that I am not getting any response, and I know they could REALLY benefit from my products, I will leave a message to the effect, "I really don't mean to wear you out with my efforts to contact you, and I surely don't mean to be ‘buggy,’ but I am persistent, and hope to be able to share of few moments of your time in the near future." Most of the time that trips the switch, and I will get a return call. This has been successful for me numerous times this last year -- in letting the customer know that my intent is not to harass them into submission. I also spoke with another independent manufacturer's rep, who said he leaves a message for a contact, indicating when he will be in his facility for another meeting, and asks to meet with them at that time. He then states he will assume he can stop by unless he hears back to the contrary. He states that has worked very well for him in making new contacts.



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We were doing some crazy things. I was asking a distributor to bring into inventory three times the amount of inventory that they sold the previous year. As an independent manufactures rep, I was used to companies telling you what they wanted without much support from them. In this case we were supported very strongly by the manufacturer. Once I was able to get all the decision makers together, the order was placed.

The Rest Of The Story: Nine months has passed. Most of the units are gone. I called the other day to see if I could help move a couple of units to another distributor and was told that they need to keep the units in inventory.



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I have been calling on this customer for a while with very little success, but we developed a good relationship. [But he] always said, “I have a contract.” [One] day, he said, “You know our contract vendor never calls, so I am going to give you the business.” This resulted in a $150.000 order and all future business. They told their GPO, “We are out of this contract. We need someone to visit us, not just pick up an order.”



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My best sell in 2002 was selling myself….You see, I was unemployed in 2002. I was able to find a great career by applying the same skills I employed through the years selling a product and service. As in selling, I was able to find a great match. I had the skills and talents that met their needs. I was able to show them my value by determining and solving their "pain."



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Replaced competitive analyzers in three hospital laboratories -- after they had been with the same competitor for 25 years! Some good does come out of bad service.



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Although I no longer do any selling, I try to educate salespeople and dealers as to where sales and profits can be found. In my preaching, I always remind the listeners to make one extra call every day. I lived in UUstate New York years ago when I worked as a manufacturers rep. I was returning from a visit to my daughter in New Jersey on the NY Turnpike. At about a quarter to five, I approached an exit where I had an account. My wife said it would be after 5:00 pm when I got there, not to waste any time. I went. When I arrived at 5:25 the dealer greeted me with open arms. He needed some wheelchairs and was about to call my competitor. I received an order for 50 wheelchairs. So my advice to all salespeople is, no matter how lousy a day you may have had, don't be discouraged and stop making your calls. The last one can always make your day.