Back on the road again

February 4th, 2013 → 10:35 am @ // No Comments

I’m helping a young entrepreneur to get a franchise business going.  The business model relies on franchisees having sales reps knocking on the doors of local businesses.  But before we can recruit franchisees, the entrepreneur has to prove that the sales model works.  That requires her to make the first sales herself.  And that’s where the problems started.

I noticed that the entrepreneur was taking a long time to get out selling.  There seemed to be lots of issues that needed to be addressed before she would be ready to start.  Eventually I realised that she was avoiding selling because it scared her.  I talked with her about what she needed to do, and gave her a little training.  But she still found it difficult to get started.  So I suggested that we go selling together.

She arrived at my house with good information on 100 or so businesses in the main street that we could target.  We talked through how we’d manage the day, then set out.  I found myself standing in front of a small business and preparing to do cold call sales for the first time in 30 years.

I ran through my pitch in my mind.  This was no corporate sale.  This was sales at its most basic.  I thought of the cheerful young people who had breezed into my office over the years to sell me various products.  They had charmed me with their enthusiasm, and often amused me with their ignorance of sales.  A hoary middle-aged relic like me was not going to charm the shopkeepers!

We worked one side of the road each, and I found it wasn’t as hard as I’d expected to get interest from the shopkeepers.   My sales companion, meanwhile, was becoming more and more confident and more and more able to handle the rejections which are always part of sales.  Despite my greater experience, she closed five sales before I had closed one.  I like to think it’s because a pretty young woman is easier to buy from than an aging man.  But maybe it’s because I’m just not that good at cold call sales any more!!

Whatever the reason, it’s great to see my young associate getting competent at sales.  And it was a great experience to get back out on the road again.

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