Re: And Now - The Rest of the Story



On 29 Apr 2007 19:42:05 GMT, D Murphy <spamto154@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Joe788 <joemama788@xxxxxxx> wrote in news:1177861048.504218.111460
@n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com:

Ha! Great story. There's nothing worse than a salesman who knows less
about his product than the person he's selling too!

I disagree Joe. The two best machine tool salesman I know aren't very
technical but they are professional salesman. You don't have to know the
product very well. It helps but in the end it hardly matters.

In 1992 Tornos opened a new office/showroom in Whittier, CA. We wound
up hiring 2 salesmen. The one guy didn't know too much about machines,
but worked hard and was as honest as the days is long. Would show up
almost every morning with a print or two from the day before, asking
if it was something we could do, what tooling/accessories were needed,
have me do a quick time study, and off he'd go with a quote. Never
told the potential buyer anything without talking to me first. Many
times he called me from a customers conference room, and even put the
customer on the phone at times. He was a great guy. A genuinely nice
person. But one of those who, when you talked to him, didn't impress
you as being one of the brightest bulbs in the pack (although, when
you got to know him, you found that he just had a little trouble
talking in a group setting and got *really* nervous when talking to
the powers that be)

The other guy was a bullshit artist. One of those salesmen you can't
stand. Told the customers whatever they wanted to hear. Rarely got me
involved in any of his sales, and most every sale of his resulted in
one of those disaster installations where I had to be the bad guy who
came in and told the customer he needed to buy another $20k worth of
options in order to get the machine to do what the salesman told him
it would do. This idiot went so far as to recommend tooling and give
customers approximate cycle times!! On potential sales where he did
get me involved, I wound up having to telling the potential customer
all the things that this clown had intentionally (IMO) not told them,
usually resulting in no sale. He was constantly trying to make me look
bad for screwing up his sales.

This was back in 1993, when machine tool sales out here on the West
coast were minimal. Things were just picking up and the East coast,
and management was having trouble understanding why sales were so
sorely lacking out here. Had they been paying any attention at all for
the last 20 years or so that I've been involved in the business, they
would know that it always seems to work that way. It's like a slow
moving bubble that works it's way across the US. They start selling
machines like hotcake's on the East coast, and it takes about 6 to 8
months for the sales bubble to work it's way to the West coast. About
3 months or so into the bubble out here, things start to slow down out
there.

We were in the down side of the bubble at the time, and not selling
any machines. A lot of people *thinking* about buying because business
was picking up, but not many people taking the plunge. I was even
beginning to worry about my job being in jeopardy. Management blamed
it on the salesmen.

The one salesman had a wife (and young kids I believe), and didn't
drink, AFAIK. He didn't take customers out to party all night, get
them into a drunken stupor and try to get them to commit to a sale.
That's not how he operated.

The class clown, on the other hand, was a party animal. Constantly
went out with customers, their supervisors, set-up guys, or basic shop
rats. Anybody he thought might swing the vote his way. Same scenario
whenever there were sales meetings, or machine tool shows. He was the
life of the party and basically kept management entertained.

When it came time to cut costs because of lacking sales, the class
clown stayed, and the family man lost his job. Too bad, because as
luck would have it, sales began to pick up shortly thereafter. All the
hard work the family man had done started to pay off and many of his
"dead leads" bought machines. The class clown stayed there for about
another 6 months or so until he pissed off most of the
applications/service staff, and enough customers complained about him
that management had no choice but to let him go.

The bottom line, after all that BS, is that it isn't necessary for a
salesman to have technical expertise in what he's trying to sell. He
just needs to be honest and know where to get the answers to his
customers questions. Salesmen, IMO, are just there to do the ground
work. Get the leads, find out what the customer needs, and bring in
the applications and service guru's when they're ready to talk about
details.

I agree with you Dan. The best salesmen I've ever known were those who
knew very little about the machines they were selling. They were
professional salesmen who treated their customers with respect, knew
where to find the answers to their questions, and who to get involved
in the sale.

A little knowledge in the hands of the wrong person, can mean
embarrassment and a lot of headaches for the applications and service
personnel. Unless the salesman is an ex-machinist who really does know
the equipment, ie. programmed and set up the machines himself (and
I've known a few), he needs to keep his big mouth shut and do what
they all do best.......Hand out business cards!

Matt
.



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