Coffee is for Openers

If you or your sales people are not absolutely addicted to coffee or some other type of over the counter caffeine equivalent, then you just simply aren’t trying hard enough. It’s a big country and a short day and you should be playing with live ammo at all times. As someone who reads hundreds if not thousands of resumes each month, I will tell you that the most overrated “skill” on a sales person’s resume is their ability to close. Closing is a myth. Closing is the simplest task of a sale. Closing is simply asking for the order or some other type of call to action, typically to schedule a next step to move forward with the sale. Coffee shouldn’t be the reward for doing the easy part of the job, yet, let’s makes it be the catalyst for the most important part of the sale – opening the sale.

The task of opening the sale needs to be met with the utmost enthusiasm. If you are fortunate enough to be selling LTL or other freight services in this volatile transportation market, especially with a technology platform such as a TMS, this is your market to own! Businesses need you now! Manufacturers need to reduce costs on shipping! CFO’s need more visibility and control! Warehouse managers need to reduce time wasted on manual tasks that could be automated! Customers need to know they have LTL, Truckload, and even Expedited options. You have a value and a service to provide, Caffeine Up! And get it out there! The fact is, most sales people are just plain bad at opening the sale. They wait for the very end of the call to show any swagger or confidence, and its feigned confidence at best. How can you close if you can’t open? Too many freight or logistics sales people are too timid on the call. They don’t share confidence in their product or service, and allow themselves to be handcuffed into dealing with contacts who don’t have the authority to buy because:

  1. They don’t believe enough in the value of their own product or service.
  2. They don’t value themselves enough to attempt to reach the business or other C level executive.

Several years ago, while out cold calling to hawk my logistics services, I came across a “No Soliciting” sign. These are, of course everywhere, and useless. But when I looked closer, I saw that it said, “No BAD soliciting.” I laughed out loud. The door belonged to a Sandler Sales Training Institute. Although I knew they didn’t ship freight, it was worth a cold call anyways to test my chops. I got directly to the business owner and he immediately granted me a sit down. I spent about 20 minutes in his office just discussing sales and sales processes. It was an interesting conversation and affirmed what I already knew: Be cocky. Be arrogant. Be confident. But be right. KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER BEFORE YOU OFFER IT. If you have a valuable product or service that can indeed benefit a way that a business operates, it should be your mission, your moral imperative and even your right to get that information out there.

This morning I listened to a sales call that made the hairs on my arms stand up. The sales rep, while attempting to open a sales call, said the following three things in less than a minute:

  • “We have a similar system…”
  • “…Pretty much the same as Freightquote…”
  • “…Very similar as…”

All this says to the business owner is that if your system is so similar to my system, what’s the purpose in continuing this call? What he should have opened with:

  • “Our TMS is leading edge and leagues ahead of our competition…”
  • “Our rates are not only very aggressive, but I can study your lanes and distribution habits to optimize your pricing…”
  • “We have a largely robust and constantly increasing carrier base…”

Each one of these followed by a question about the prospects own current processes, needs or problems.

So, Caffeine Up! Get on the phone! And open some sales calls!

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience