Lost Your Way to the Sales Goal?


The Situation

Sean is an account executive for a company that distributes smoked meats to supermarkets. One of his past clients, Carlos, was purchasing manager for a supermarket chain. Sean wrote sizeable orders with Carlos, and the two enjoyed a good rapport. They even played golf on occasion.

But Carlos changed jobs and is now working for a food store chain that doesn’t buy from Sean’s company. Sean has been trying to change that for months. One day, Sean’s boss, Andrea, is reviewing Sean’s accounts and questions him about Carlos:

Andrea: Sean, you’ve been turning in receipts for lunches, a dinner, a ball game . . . you’ve been trying to land this account for four months. I’ve asked this before — are you getting anywhere?
Sean: Andrea, Carlos says he wants to do business with us, but he’s still working on his boss.
Andrea: He was your customer when he bought for the Grangerford chain, right?
Sean: Yes, and we did a boatload of business. Just give me time. You can’t rush Carlos.
Andrea: That’s all well and good, but you still haven’t told me: Are you getting anywhere?

Being Appropriately Social, or Being Strung Along?

Sean feels that Andrea is badgering him. He believes the expenses he has accumulated are an investment, and will be well worth it when Carlos becomes a customer. Besides, Carlos has a Q3, gregarious demeanor and needs to like the people he does business with.

Is Sean right? In terms of a Q4 collaborative selling strategy, is Sean showing appropriate sociability in trying to influence Carlos?

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Corralling Your Customers to Get Down to Business

The Situation Bridget is in a position to land a hefty contract with Builtwell Industries. She has a good working relationship with Dave, the company’s purchasing agent. That’s helpful, because