Friday, October 31, 2008

Why Copier Sales is a Great Foundation for Your Sales Career

Another letter, from someone I interviewed a few months back. I thought they had great potential, but not enough sales experience yet.

I recommended that he get some experience in copier sales. I've made this recommendation many times before, and not everyone likes to hear it. However, it is an excellent foundation for your sales career. As challenging as the experience may be, it gives you a chance to develop more sales skills better and faster than in any other arena.

If you have watched the 212 video, you'll remember it says,

"The only thing that stands between a person and what they want in life is the will to try it and the faith to believe it possible."

He has taken up the challenge, which demonstrates to me that he is committed to developing himself and ultimately to success.

Ms. McCallister-Grant,
How are you Ms. McCallister-Grant. I spoke to you a couple of times. I just wanted to give you an update on my current job situation. The last I spoke to you, I was leaning toward accepting the job at (Copier Company A). Since then, I have accepted the job. I am currently employed as an Account Representative with (Co. A) in the (X) branch. I am glad that I spoke to you and thank you again for your guidance and advice. I feel strongly that I have accepted the right company (I was also offered a position at (Copier Company B).) They have a great training program. It was just revamped. My start date was (date). Since then I have been through 3 weeks of training. And am currently going through another 2 weeks of the training process. I know when we spoke you told me that it would be a good idea to find a company with a good training program. Here is an outline of what type of training (Co. A) is putting me through:
In branch for 2 weeks observing tenured reps.
2 Weeks training at the (Co. A) facility - This involves some product training but mostly focuses on selling strategies.
2 Weeks of training in facility - This involves implementation of what was learned in the two weeks along with networking.
2 Weeks training back at the (Co. A) facility (I just finished the first week of these two weeks. I am e-mailing you from the hotel room they have provided. I will be here until next Friday.) - More selling techniques with some product training.
The training (Co. A) provides is very thorough and extensive. It is 9-5, Mon-Fri. After I complete these two weeks of training I will return to the office to begin networking and using the skills I have learned from training. In 6 months they will send me back for another week of training and 3 months after that for the final week of the training. In total I will go through 10 weeks of extensive training. The training is a great help and will be very useful in the field. The funny thing is that this training program was just implemented. I have spoken to many account representatives that have gone to training but their program was only one week. I am happy I got in when I did. I am enjoying the sales aspect of the job very much and am excited to get out in the field.
I hope everything is going well for you. I would appreciate any advice or insight you can provide. I highly value your opinion. Thanks again for the help. I hope to hear from you soon.

Note every copier company offers training this extensive, but many do. Training like this, plus the experience of hitting the streets and cold calling daily, are part of what makes copier sales a great opportunity for learning a lot in a short period of time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Milk's Favorite Cookie

Yesterday I interviewed someone in advertising sales. She shared with me something she'd learned thru her sales training for dealing with objections.


Objection (listen to customer's objection, concern, issue, griping, ranting, raving)
Restate the objection you heard (this shows you're listening)
Empathize with the concern (this shows you care)
Outcome, offer a new outcome or solution to the problem

"That's great," I said. "I bet it could be a useful tactic in many areas of life, not just sales."

"Yeah," she said, "I tell all the guys I work with to try it with their girlfriends. It works!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ConMed's 3rd Quarter results

ConMed's third quarter results have continued the positive growth trend. Overall, sales are up 9% compared to the first three quarters of 2007. Sports medicine and power products, part of the Linvatec product offering, are particularly strong.

Link here to read more.

As we well know, there are many companies and industries that aren't fairing so well in this economic downturn. That is part of what makes medical devices sales such a great career path.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Becoming a Sales Associate - Fast Track Opportunity for Growth

In the Northeast in particular, we hire a number of sales associates each year. One of the associates who was hired last year was recently promoted and shared his experience with me:

And yes, I have moved on now to my own territory.

You are absolutely correct in that "X" was an excellent mentor. I would contest it would be impossible for someone else to do better. He prepared me in every facet and made me better with every mistake and every triumph that I had.

So far I am doing pretty well with the new territory. It is definitely a whole different world then just being an associate. As an associate, per my request and desire along with my mentor's desire to train me into becoming not just familiar with product but to be a hunter and to sell, I did have the opportunity to take on some selling opportunity and actually was successful in getting some evals which eventually led to nice deals that we were able to close. However, through most of that process a lot of the basic relationships were my mentors before they were mine and even though I built some very strong relationships there on my own, I suppose you could say I already had a foot in the door from the hard work my mentor had put in that territory over time.

Now, in the new territory it is quite a bit different in that those preexisitng relationships aren't nearly as strong, or sometimes nonexistant altogether. Also, as an associate, the buck doesn't really stop with you. You do all the things necessary as per your Sr. Reps request, or tasks you have taken on etc, you go home and maybe do some studying or learning, however the actual NUMBERS are not really your concern, or directly in your view at all times.

So there is definitely a whole new level of responsibility and awareness of what is going on in the territory that I have certainly begun to realize in my new territory. All in all however I have viewed this merely as a vast amount of potential to grow business in a territory which really has a lot of case volume and nearly the amount of Linvatec business to match. Hard to think I was on the phone with you from my college apartment only about 15-16 months ago.

There was definitely a lot of hard work, although over some of my colleagues I think my background in biomechanics got me faster in the right direction as opposed to those with non medical type backgrounds. And I was also very fortunate to land in the environment with OR Specialites...where my mentor gave me so many invaluable opportunities, as did the distributor owner and even learning from several guys who really get it and have a proven track record of success.

Being a sales associate has been a stellar growth opportunity for this young rep. It really is a fast track to success in our highly competitive industry.

Right now, we have a sales associate opening with our distributor OR Specialties in Hartford. Though we prefer for candidates to have a year of outside B2B sales experience, this could be great opportunity for recent or December grads of UConn's or William Patterson University's professional selling programs. If you are interested in being a part of this great team, please send me your resume at