Supernova Success Equals Organizational Skills
Time to spill a few more sales secrets, kids! And these secrets are organizational in nature …
This past week, I once again sat down with a multi-million-dollar producer and interviewed her, trying to uncover attributes, work habits and her secrets of success. Just call me Bernstein from The Washington Post. Wait, maybe I should be the other one. Which one was Robert Redford? I want to be him. Or wait, the Dustin Hoffman one ended up with Mrs. Robinson, and she was smoldering! Goo goo g'joob, Mrs. Robinson! Plastics. Elaine!
You know what? Let me take my medication and begin again in the next paragraph.
This past week, I once again sat down with a multimillion-dollar producer and interviewed her, trying to uncover attributes, work habits and her secrets of success. And, as with the previous two heavy-hitter interviews I conducted, this third salesperson had completely different answers to the eternal question, “What is your secret?”
Here is her brief industry bio: She has been in the promotional products industry since the year 2000—first with a large, programs-focused distributor, where she focused on and landed a large account, which she built up to $4 million in annual sales. She was unhappy at that company, so she came to HALO Branded Solutions, Sterling, Ill., and had to leave behind this book of business until a contract ran out! After a year of rebuilding, she won back the business of this large account and has exceeded her previous sales totals here at HALO Branded Solutions. She’s a supernova.
When I asked for her secret, the companies she targets and works with, and what does she do every day that contributes to her success, it quickly became clear to me that her super power is organization.
She said, “I am here to seek out and win big customers. And, by that, I mean the Fortune 1000 clients. I size them up and decide if I want to work with them. As I was trained as a programs-focused distributor, I look for large clients with the potential for large programs. It’s a ton of up-front work, pricing and website building, but when it’s set up, it perks along smoothly for years at a clip. I don’t sit back and cash checks, I’m involved with the program and keep it fresh by changing things up every year.”
Her large account is 85 percent of her $5 million book of business, and while she knows it’s an "eggs in one basket" situation—well, it’s a damn big basket!
She lands her clients by referrals and cold calling. She quickly realized that belonging to lead groups or chambers is not where the large clients are.
“If you live in Cleveland, put together a list of the Fortune 1000 companies that are in Cleveland. This is your target list,” she said.
That makes sense.
“I keep a written to-do list at my side every day. I write everything down that I need to do—do not trust your memory!" she said. "When I accomplish something, I cross it off with a big bold Sharpie slash! I am constantly reprioritizing the list throughout the day, and I always begin the day with the big, ugly thing and get that done first. Get it done and cross it off! It feels good!”
That makes sense, too! I love it when they make sense!
“I also keep an ongoing spreadsheet of every order I write with all the important details about that order open on my laptop," she continued. "I add each new order to the spreadsheet as I write them. I know at any given time where each order is in the process, how much I’ve booked and what my commission is—everything!”
She does a monthly marketing flier at the beginning of the month, 12 months out of the year. When she gets an "out of office" notification that refers her to someone else, she adds that person to her monthly e-blast. She keeps this list up-to-date and accurate. Each month, the blast yields orders and referrals result. She also refers to last year’s order list, follows up with each and every customer on those orders from 12 previous months, and asks if she can get a reorder going. That results in a 50 percent reorder rate and requests for new projects.
The secret of her success is clearly organization—good, accurate data; written lists; monthly e-blasts; a methodical way of identifying and pursuing large bull's-eye accounts; a methodical way of asking for and receiving annual reorders. She knows how to land and keep large accounts, and brings great value by being part of her clients' marketing teams.
That wraps this one up, and the timing is good, as my medication is just wearing off, which reminds me of a story so dirty I’m ashamed to think of it myself. You had better get moving, I hear they’re going to tear you down in the morning and put up an office building where you’re standing. You can leave in a huff. If that’s too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven’t stopped talking since I got here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.
Be bold. Be different. Be memorable. Rick Greene, MAS, is the Western Regional vice president of HALO Branded Solutions, a past president at SAAC and a PromoKitchen advisor. He also steals material from the one, the only Groucho Marx at every opportunity. His comic fantasy novels “Boofalo!” and “Shroom!” are available on Amazon.com. Buy one! Or Both! Or all three, even!