When in Doubt Prospect


What to do go out and Prospect two of the greatest quotes from one of the greatest leaders, when you think about great quotes from great leaders, you might be thinking about FDR JFK MLK or maybe Gandhi and Churchill. I'm sure they all said some good things. But what the heck did they know about selling the farmer's livestock producers and agribusinesses and exactly not very much. That's why I like to reflect back on some of the great leaders and sales people. I had the privilege to be around. They provided some great inspiration this particular quote resonated stuck with me and has served me well for over twenty years and I want to share that with you. It just shows the power of what you might say as a leader and what you might take away from your next sales meeting. Well the 35 or so sales people. Eating for the first time as part of a newly merged business unit. Now this merger and acquisition brought three different business units together. The newly-appointed general manager was giving his an introductory speech on the first day of a three-day monthly sales meeting. Yes, there was a time when we had monthly sales meetings the teams were a Motley Crue some old-school some were cutting edge Tech package and there was a completely separate division that wasn't related to the group that all one of the main reasons for the merger was of course performance sales had stagnated for the old school team gross margin had slipped for the techie group in general. The three separate teams had fallen into a pattern of relying on current customers to provide their results. The struggle was that Kirk customer base was dwindling or the margins were dwindling and some cases both were joined billing. The sled of profitability was pointed down hill and picking up speed to get this units to merge. That's where we were dead. At that September morning as we gathered to hear the new manager give his rah-rah speech my thought at the time was let's get this over with as fast as we can so I can get back out there and sell something. I mean, isn't that what all of us and sales think when sitting in a meeting we don't want to be in well little did I know that this opening speech would bring a one liner to me that has helped me in many times over the years for the office new manager of this Motley Crue. This wasn't his first leadership challenge. He had been through some of the toughest business units in the company and turned them around the primary tool in all of these turnarounds was prospecting in agribusiness sales. We get busy very busy. We serve our customers well and during peak season. It's all we can do to keep our current customers in product which leaves a little time to go out Prospect for new customers the challenges that when we fail to pick back up after the busy season is over and get our prospecting back online. Well, this would all be fine if customers never quit or wage. He didn't retire or they didn't switch to competitors or they didn't die. But that's what all of them do. They do all these things and without a solid prospecting program our territory slowly kind of spiral down a little gradually just drifts away. Well after a short explanation of the most recent p&l the profit-and-loss statement the new manager began his one step process for getting us back on a track off of profitability and that included prospecting he ended his presentation with this one line when in doubt about what to do go out and Prospect now as a new sales person. I had a lot of doubt about my skills about what how I was going to be able to sell. Where do I go in my large territory? Who do I call and how do I plan my time? Well, this quote would often pop back into my mind as I tried to figure out how to spend my time as an egg sales professionals who office out of our homes. It can be a challenging task to figure out where to go each and every day when we fail to plan it out. We'd default by going to current customer. In particular we go to those closest to us or that we like the most so today as you start planning where you're going to go tomorrow next week or next month. Remember when in doubt Prospect month as Paul Harvey used to say and now the rest of the story will in little less than a year after this meeting. We went from being a moderately profitable business unit to being in the top running for business of the year. And am currently we grew sales and our margins and the impact of this growth was that it allowed for more financial resources in our business. This included new facilities upgraded equipment hiring more people in purchasing some other companies these successes required more than just new customers. It took sound financial management actively collecting on our accounts receivables and changing some of the business practices. I did. However, the one thing that was needed was a steady cash flow to finance at all prospecting and selling new accounts were the fuel for that engine of growth will join me

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