If you've ever seen the movie Tommy Boy with Chris Farley, there's a scene where Tommy Boy takes over the family business after his father passes. He suddenly becomes the company sales rep and goes on a road trip. And while his intentions are good, he gets turned down every time he makes a sales pitch. In fact, he is so terrified, that he's trying to escape from the office before the potential customer even answers.
I thought that scene was hilarious until I started my own business. Now, I can relate.
Being in sales is humbling. But being in sales can also be uplifting.
As a newspaper editor for the past 35 years, I worked with sales people. In fact, righteous editorial people always referred to the sales side of the business as the "dark side", doing anything and promising anything for a sale. They were the people who brought in the money, but editorial people spoke the truth and were holier than thou.
Wow, the last few months have been an eyeopener. After moving to Cobourg, I decided I would try my hand in the business world. I opened Coffee's On (damn, that's a great name for a business, isn't it?), a business where I bring coffee, tea, milk, etc. to your company. I also provide coffee machines free of charge as an incentive to get you to become a customer. Brilliant idea, right? I thought so, but no matter how good the idea, product or service may be, you have to have the ability to get your foot in the door and make the sale.
I remember the first business I approached. Actually, I really don't remember the first business I approached. Sitting in my vehicle afterwards to regroup, I realized that I didn't even mention my name to the receptionist.
Oh and that's another thing, do you drop off your business card, do you phone to see who is responsible for decisions on coffee, or do you just wait at home in your bathrobe hoping for the phone to ring?
I've tried all three and the answer is that there is no answer. Sales is a real talent and I take my hat off to those brave souls who do it and do it right. For me, the business world has been trying. It has also been rewarding. I have developed a client base of good people and in return I treat my clients with respect and admiration.
Everyday is a challenge in sales and you can't take anything for granted.
In fact, the "dark side" of sales has become a whole lot brighter. For more information, visit www.coffeeson.ca or firstname.lastname@example.org