As I have progressed through my selling career watched and taught many salespeople, I can attest that many of us, including me, do not always know when to stop and listen during the selling process. Many times, I have watched the entire sale unfold favorably and unfavorably, due to not listening. I spent many years trying to train myself to SCRL – slow down, stay calm, relax, and listen as the sale unfolds.
Here is an example:
Immediately after purchasing my first company in July 1997, Photo Etch Company, I found myself in my first big sale, watching and learning from the quotes department and salespeople on how they thought sales worked.
We had secured a large quote from a company about a hundred miles from us in Waco, Texas. Our estimators worked on it and trying extremely hard to be accurate and show me they knew their job. It was discussed that this would be an extremely competitive quote and we needed to go in with aggressive pricing, which to me meant low margins. It was determined that we need to go in at $23K and we would have a good chance to win.
The lead salesman and I drove down to Waco to present our quote. After introductions and telling everyone I was the new owner of the company and assuring them of our continuation and future growth, we settled into the particulars of the quote.
There were two of us and four people from the customer company. We had not discussed price but one of the engineers did want to know if we had really dug in and understood the requirements of the job. We asked what this meant and what were they exactly looking for. One engineer said in the past people quoting similar jobs, missed some critical aspects and he was sure this would be over their budget and would cost in excess of $85,000.
I then told them we could probably do the job at a lower price because we are a small business with lower overhead. We told them we needed to go back and review the quote to make sure we did not miss anything. I asked if we could come in around $45,000 could we have the job. They in unison said yes. We took them to lunch. We drove home and submitted a winning bid the next day for twice the price we had taken with us.
This provided our sales department a good lesson in selling. Both companies were happy. We did produce on time and continued doing business with this company for many years.
SCRL — Slowdown, calm, relax, and listen. Good selling!
As always give me your thoughts.
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