Why Didn’t I Call You Back?


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“I get plenty of voicemails, and I actually return lots of those calls,” explained the anonymous executive. “When I don’t return a call, it’s often for reasons like these:

  • “You called four times without leaving a message. Each time you called, you disrupted the call I was on as my phone prompted me to choose between your call and my current call. To keep you from disrupting more calls, I blocked your number.
  • “I called back, but you screen your calls, so you didn’t answer. Your next message to me was, ‘Sorry, I didn’t recognize your number, so I didn’t answer.’ You only get to waste my time once. Number blocked.
  • “I called back and left a voicemail. Your return voicemail to me starts, ‘I see you called, but I didn’t listen to your message.’ You called me, but you are too busy to listen to my voicemail? Number blocked.
  • “I called back. Your voicemail answers robotically, “You have reached 312-555-1212. Leave a message.” If I don’t hear your name, maybe I misdialed. Suddenly it became just too much work to return this stranger’s call. Never mind.
  • “You called me from 312-555-1212, but your voicemail asks me to call you back at 708-555-7834. Call me from the number you want me to call back, and I can return your call with one tap. I was already on the fence about returning your call, and you made me write down your number. Never mind.
  • “The voicemail you left for me is a mumbled name and a phone number spoken too quickly for me to write down. I don’t have time to listen to a message over and over to capture the digits.
  • “The number you asked me to call is answered by a call screening app. I am supposed to wait while Nomorobo decides whether or not to put my call through? Never mind.

“If I didn’t return your call,” concludes the executive, “now you know why.”

Speed Is My Secret Weapon


“I feel the need, the need for speed.”
— Maverick, Top Gun

It happens every time someone sends you an email. It happens every time someone leaves you a voicemail. It happens every time someone sends you a text.

Every time someone reaches out to you, that sender’s internal clock starts ticking.

  • Reply quickly, and what the sender hears is, “Impressive response time, I must be a VIP.”
  • Reply soon enough, and the sender hears, “Pretty good, I am among this person’s valued clients.”
  • Reply eventually, and the sender hears, “I am not a priority. Maybe I can find a
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Where and How to Find Rep Salespeople


“When I start thinking about adding someone to my agency, I know I’m in for a rough ride. Just about everyone working in my industry right now is in the 50- to 70-year-old range. It’s more difficult now than ever before to find someone younger who might be interested in carving out a career as a rep.”

“I was so desperate the last time I had to hire someone that I developed a flyer describing the position and ran around town dropping it off in the hopes someone would be interested. I don’t think it’s a surprise to me or … Read the rest

Growing the Family Business Through Multiple Generations


In the following article James Loy Jr., president, Scout Metals, Charlotte, North Carolina, recounts his beginnings in the rep profession leading to the establishment of his own agency last year.

One of my earliest childhood memories was pulling through a bay door of the Alpha Tube plant in Toledo, Ohio. Our semi-reliable 1975 Buick Skyhawk made another trek through the winter weather to pick-up Jim Sr. My dad walked from the tube mill to the car with a smile, but clearly he was worn out from his 10-hour shift. Both my grandfathers were investors in that tube business. It was … Read the rest

Check the Boxes!


Things everyone who sells for a rep agency should do. A check list for every rep firm owner/manager.

Selling as an independent representative salesperson for a manufacturers’ representative agency is not an easy job. Success demands great organizational skills and discipline.

Here is a review of essential elements: See how many boxes you can check if you are a territory salesperson. If you are the boss, how many boxes are the members of your team checking off?

1. Line Card Review — Territory Results Analysis

In your line card, how many of the lines do you actually sell productively?

Which … Read the rest

Do You Have a Brain for Sales — and Success in Life?


Last month my article was on motivation when it comes to selling. This month we’re digging into another psychological aspect that once you understand it, you may find it easier to make prospecting calls, do other difficult parts of the job, and maybe even make some significant changes in your life.

Here are some facts about the human brain and human nature that may shed some light on some areas where you seem to be stuck. Because this is a relatively short article, I’m not going to go into all the psychology and background.

  • The brain’s primary focus is survival.
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30 Days to Improving Your Sales Skills


This month, I’m sharing 10 ways to improve your selling skills in just 30 days.

1. Discipline

You have to be disciplined in how you use your time and what you spend your effort on. You cannot allow yourself to be caught up in the shiny objects. You have to be disciplined to know exactly what you are going to achieve, and then be actively achieving it.

Do not waste your effort; if salespeople would simply be more disciplined in how to use their time, it is amazing how much more successful they would be.

2. Consistency

This means consistency … Read the rest

What Do Billionaires and Top Sales Reps Have in Common?


Forbes has a fascinating feature called “The Real-Time Billionaires List,” an up-to-the-minute listing of the world’s richest people and their current net worth.

Remember all that talk about Elon Musk passing up Jeff Bezos as the richest person? Well, it didn’t last. Bezos is back on top with $192.8 billion as of the morning of February 5, 2021. But Musk is still getting by; his net worth as $185.4 billion. Bill Gates is fourth richest. Zuck is fifth. Warren Buffett is 9th. The richest member of the Walton family is 17th. China’s Jack Ma comes in at 20th.

But each … Read the rest

Sales Is a Noble Career


When we try to not sound “salesy,” we are more “salesy” than ever. Being genuine is the most important part of being a great salesperson.

We Don’t Want Our People to Sound “Salesy”

Unfortunately, I have this conversation more than I would like in my current career. This request is made by many organizations who believe “sales” is a bad word or something dishonest. Recently I had a potential client call me and ask me if I would do a keynote for them. They said they loved my energy and message about sales and sales practice. Then they asked, “Can … Read the rest

Will Employers or Workers Have the Upper Hand After the Pandemic?


It’s been over a year now since we came under the relentless domination of the coronavirus. After all this time, the picture isn’t pleasant. The end is uncertain and the implications for the future are far from clear.

McKinsey reports that “Seventy-five percent of employees in the United States and close to a third in the Asia-Pacific region report symptoms of burnout. European nations are reporting increasing levels of pandemic fatigue in their populations. The number of those who rate their mental health as ‘very poor’ is more than three times higher than before the crisis, and mental health issues … Read the rest

Time and Territory Management — The Quickest Way to Impact Sales Performance


Over the more than 30 years that I have been working with B2B sales forces, I’m often asked this question: “If you could improve a salesperson in just one thing that would bring the quickest and biggest change, what would it be?”

My answer: Time and territory management. Here’s why.

Time and Territory Management Is Easily and Quickly Implemented

Every other sales competency takes time and practice before it begins to show up in the salesperson’s behavior and therefore in the customers’ actions. Take a fundamental sales competency like asking better sales questions. I can train a salesperson to ask … Read the rest

Tips for Getting — and Keeping — the Rep’s Time


Getting and keeping a fair share — if not more — of the rep’s time in the field remains a challenge for manufacturers. At least that was the consensus of half a dozen manufacturers who were queried in telephone and email interviews. To follow are some of the typical responses to the question: “What’s your major concern with working with reps?”

  • “If we’re going to represent 25 percent of the rep’s income, then I want a quarter of his time in the field.”
  • “We want to know that we’re high on the rep’s line card and that he spends the
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Contract Terms Matter — a Refresher


A sound example of a small business that exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit is the independent sales representative (referred to in this article as the “sales representative”).

Sales representatives work hard, at their own expense, in soliciting and developing business for a principal. They are skilled at developing relationships and promoting a principal’s product. Regrettably, in some situations, a sales representative only takes a cursory look when a principal presents the sales representative with a Sales Representative Agreement (referred to in this article as the “SRA”). A sound SRA can benefit the sales representative in the midst of and after its … Read the rest

What Key Estate Planning Tools Should I Know About?


By taking steps in advance, you have a greater say in how questions regarding your estate are answered. And isn’t that how it should be?

Wills and trusts are two of the most popular estate planning tools. Both allow you to spell out how you would like your property to be distributed, but they also go far beyond that.

Just about everyone needs a will. Besides enabling you to determine the distribution of your property, a will gives you the opportunity to nominate your executor and guardians for your minor children. If you fail to make such designations through your … Read the rest

ERA Elects New Officers for the 2021-2023 Term

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) has announced that its board of directors elected new national officers for the 2021-2023 term during its March 4, 2021, meeting. They are:

  • Chairman of the board — Chuck Tanzola, CPMR, of the Fusion Sourcing Group
  • President — John O’Brien, CPMR, of Coakley, Boyd and Abbett
  • Senior vice president / fiscal and legal — Tom Griffin, CPMR, of Catalyst Unity Solutions
  • Senior vice president / membership — David Fitzgerald, CPMR, of WESCO Sales Group, Inc.
  • Senior vice president / education — Ellen Coan, CPMR, of C C Electro Sales, Inc.
  • Senior vice president / industry
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