Last week, I was already ‘rejected’ by one of my buyers (let’s just call her Ms. L) but keeping in mind the saying ‘salesmanship begins when the customer says no’, I showed up again after a week more confident because I was able to address all her concerns on our previous meetings.
I have brought with me Frabelle Foods product samples (which are so heavy) and I have prepared a proposal and a lay-out plan of possible locations of our products in EACH of their stores which I based on my trade checks in ALL of their stores. And I still got the same reply.
They no longer entertain new products because they are already busy preparing for Q4 and the Christmas season. And even if she wants to carry our products, the purchaser of that category just died and she was just appointed to handle the existing ones in the meantime. She can’t afford to have new products yet so she told me to come back next year. NEXT YEAR.
I know I should have insisted to have a third call and a fourth call and a fifth call and so on and so forth but this time, I just chose to LISTEN and really UNDERSTAND what my customer is telling me. And when I did that, a tiny tiny ‘sweet spot’ has been formed between us.
Ms. L is so special for me. My first call last week as a real salesman in my salesman career is with her and almost all the other salespeople I talked to about her said the same thing – she’s nice and easy to talk to. And she really is. But I had a hard time with her.
I started my call with her, I was there an hour earlier, and with the outcome of that call, I tried to improve on the next call and the next call after that and right now I am trying my very best to continuously improve on my every call.
I don’t mind being called a beginner. I am. But every time the veterans say my accounts are easy, I beg to disagree. If they are that easy, why are we not yet being carried in that account up to now? Why weren’t they manage to penetrate them?
I cried. And it’s not because of the rejection but because I really have high hopes for the account and I am confident that our products will make a BIG difference to them, to the competition in the trade industry and to the lives of the people.
And then Ms. L asked me why I want to handle their account and I told her exactly that. I also added that when I visited their stores, I know they still have a very high potential. I saw lots of lost sales when I saw a lot of empty shelves that we could have maximized the sales potential if only there were items on display.
She gave me tissue and she said she would have offered me water if only she has one. She asked for my number. I got hers. She gave me the best day to call her. She said she will consider and will really think through it. She signed my contact reports. She kept with her the layout plan I made. We shook hands.
She didn’t get the samples I brought all the way from our Plant which I handcarried commuting, risking literally my life because of that drunk passenger incident and of being followed by a scary man, but I didn’t lose hope. I know that wouldn’t be my last call with her.
After all, my salesmanship has just officially begun.
And my bosses, when I consulted them about this, got my back and told me I did the right thing no longer insisting but we have high hopes that come next year, Ms. L will surely accommodate us, if not prioritize us.
And my tears, they don’t see it as a weakness, they saw it as a tear of unmet challenges, a fuel for more challenging sales experience and as a tear of passionate salesmanship. And so I love my job and my bosses all the more.