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Ken Guest

Episode 58: Manufacturing Sales: The Systems You Need to Implement Into Your Sales Process Now, with Ken Guest

Manufacturing Sales | The Systems You Need to Implement Into Your Sales Process NowKen is the co-author of the recent manufacturing sales book, entitled “Selling in Manufacturing and Logistics.” Ken and his co-author are experienced Sandler trainers who play very important roles in the Sandler’s worldwide organization. They advise organizations and individuals on how to help discover their true potential and develop innovative solutions that create sustainable change. Ken is currently head of Sandler Training Consultancy in Akron, Ohio, and he and his co-author have really focused in on selling in manufacturing and logistics.


What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The systematic approach to manufacturing sales that led Ken to Sandler Training
  • “Selling in Manufacturing and Logistics”: Ken’s book with Mike Jones
  • The systems that most manufacturing sales people create that are really ineffective (and what can be done about that)
  • Why finding new customers is such an essential part of the sales process
  • Why sales isn’t as much about relationship building as it was in the past
  • Prospecting the right clients and not trying to sell to everyone
  • The questions salespeople should ask leads to make the best proposal
  • Why many salespeople are afraid to ask these questions (and why they shouldn’t be)
  • The importance of having a conversation with prospects instead of telling them what they need
  • How the internet has opened up what we know about prospects before talking to them
  • Looking for prospects that have a lot in common with your best customers
  • Why cold calling is not as effective as it used to be (and what methods you should use to talk to prospects)
  • A2ikfrom people you both know
  • Making sales a science and not an art by scripting out whatever possible
  • How to avoid the most common pitfalls sales people face

Ways to contact Ken:

Podcast eBooks:

The Power of Two

Episodes 1, 2 and 3 collide to bring you summary of lessons learned and systems created around Vision and Key Initiatives that help drive success to companies and businesses.

The Transition to Automation

In Episode 25, Vera talks with Heidi Rasmussen, CEO and Co-Founder of one of Inc 5000’s fastest growing companies in America – freshbenies. This eBook highlights part of the conversation to bring out the best lesson in automation and on-boarding for startups.

Using IT Strategically

In Episode 29, Vera talks with Tom Grooms, Vice President, Information Technology, and Chief Information Officer for CF Industries. This eBook is your guide for seeing IT as more than just a faster way to do your accounting.

The ZFactor Methodology

In Episode 35, Vera talks with Cindy Goldsberry, founder and partner of ZFactor Group. This eBook shows you how to take your business from vendor to value creator.


Welcome to System Execution. The strategy and system behind today’s successful companies. Systems can make or break your company, but here we’ll solve your physical, technological and psychological systems issues by connecting you with experts that have succeeded in overcoming those challenges in their own business and providing you the guidelines and tools you need to implement those same strategies for immediate results. Now, here’s your host, Vera Fisher.

Vera: Welcome to System Execution, a podcast devoted to using processes and systems to drive to a better outcome for your business. I’m Vera Fisher, your host. All businesses, no matter the size relies on systems. Some of these are physical systems, such as a factory. Some are technological, like project management software. And others are psychological systems, such as checklists, organizational charts and a lot of these systems are going to overlap in your business.

I’m really honored to have today, Ken Guest, the co-author of Selling in Manufacturing and Logistics. So, Ken and his co-author are experienced Sandler trainers who play very important roles in the Sandler’s worldwide organization. What they do is they advise organizations and individuals on how to help them discover their true potential and develop innovative solutions that create sustainable change. Ken is currently head of Sandler Training Consultancy in Akron, Ohio and he and his co-author have really focused in on selling in manufacturing and logistics.

Welcome to System Execution, Ken.

Ken: Very, thanks for having me on today. I’ve listened to several of your other podcasts and you’ve got a place near and dear to my heart with having systems in all types of businesses, certainly I look forward to spending time with you.

Vera: I’m so glad to hear that, Ken. So, before we get started on your manufacturing sales process, let’s hear a little bit more about you and your history and your background.


More on Ken’s Background

Ken: Okay. I got into sales way back in my early 20’s and I got into sales like most people get into sales, you know how to talk to people, why don’t you go sell something. Nobody certainly nobody grows up wanting to be a salesperson. And I jumped in the manufacturing sector and was a salesperson for many, many years and then eventually ran the sales force for a company for many years in manufacturing. From there, I branched out on my own and ran my own company for three years and found a buyer for it. During that whole process of being in sales and sales management, I kind of fell in love with Sandler. Part of the thing that really resonated with me with Sandler is it’s a very systematic approach to sales and that was always my nature anyway. Anytime I can have a system in place in the selling side, I always felt like it made me more efficient.

About six and a half years ago, I sold my business and decided to jump in and become a Sandler trainer after having been a client for many years.

Vera: So, Ken, your co-author, what drove you guys to start writing this book together? Because I will say that manufacturing and logistics is a very specific industry.

Ken: Yeah, our collective background, my background, my whole life was in manufacturing sales and I think there’s some unique challenges in that that you don’t necessarily see in other verticals like professional services and things like that. Mike’s background, my co-author, also was in manufacturing sales and he had a unique perspective having sold manufacturing in the Bronx, New York for awhile so there was a different dynamic there for him that he experienced and then both of us when we were in this business that we’re currently in, we tended to gravitate toward working with clients that are in that space as well as the logistic space.

Logistics, we’ve trained a lot of people including a market leader in logistics and there’s also very unique challenges there that are similar to manufacturing so it kind of made sense for us to start to put these thoughts together in a book.


What is a Manufacturing Company?

Vera: So, Ken, just for my listener’s sake, would you give me some examples of what a manufacturing company is? So, give me some names so we can get our heads visually wrapped around manufacturing.

Ken: Well, a manufacturing is really anyone that produces a widget or a product that they’re selling to someone else as opposed to a service of some sort. It could be Goodyear is a manufacturing company that’s local to us up here in Ohio. There’s lots of different manufacturers around with all different types of products so that’s who would fall into this bucket.


Ken’s Insights From a Manufacturing Sales Perspective

Vera: Okay. And earlier when you and I were getting to know each other a little bit before our interview, you were giving me some insight into what’s going on from a sales perspective in manufacturing. So, if you could go over that with me again, that would be great.

Ken: Yeah. One of the things that we see a lot of when we go to work with companies is in particular, in manufacturing and logistics, typically sales people that get into those sectors, they stay in those sectors their whole lives. They don’t branch out and suddenly become a financial advisor or something like that. They’re pretty much are manufacturing sales people their entire life so they develop their own form of a system, if you will and if you want to call it a system. I don’t think it’s a very effective system. It tends to be very reactionary in nature and inefficient. We jokingly tend to call it gerbil selling and it’s almost like the sales people are gerbils running on the wheel that never goes anywhere. I can kind of describe what we see what that looks like.

Vera: That would be great.

Ken: Sales people tend to look for companies that they could sell their product or service to at the front end and they start calling them or they start emailing them and sometimes their system is, I’m going to call them three times in a week and leave messages. And we know that does to the buyer. That puts up the red flag that they’re a sales person, number one and number two, they’re a desperate salesperson, so that’s not effective. Or the opposite, which is then tend to make a call and then they forget to make a second call or they just try one time. Equally inefficient. That’s on the front end.

Now in the middle, let’s say they actually get past that and get in front of somebody, what they tend to seek out and this isn’t the right thought process but what they tend to seek out is the opportunity to propose or submit a bid or price. And that tends to put them in a bad position. They shouldn’t look at it that. What they really should be looking at it is more, you know, does this client actually need me? A lot of times they don’t have that mindset. They come back to the office and they tell their vice president of sales, I’ve got one. They’re interested. They want a proposal, then they run around to do a proposal and submit it and then the last part of their system, which is my least favorite part I would say, is they tend to submit those proposals by an email and then they start chasing, or my least favorite phrase in sales, they start following up. And following up really does mean chase, you know?

And what that tends to look like is they leave five to ten messages, emails, over the course of time, just checking on the status and they know intellectually, if they haven’t got a call back from the buyer after the first call, they’re probably not going to get it.

Vera: Right.

Ken: But their mindset is I’d rather call on that because I’m close on that and I got a shot than actually have to go prospect. I can illustrate with an example of a client that I worked with and sometimes it tends to be generational as well.

Vera: Yeah and you know, that’s a good point, Ken. I’d really like to hear where the generational aspect fits into it, so any examples, we’d love to hear them.

Ken: Sure. I had a company that I trained that’s a very mature company in the manufacturing space and I first got introduced to the CEO and he was frustrated with the sales people having been doing it for 25 years. All five of his sales people were veterans in the industry and they were taught 25 years ago that this, they didn’t call it gerbil selling, but that’s what they’re supposed to do. You know, they drive by a building and they say oh maybe they need my service so they pick up the phone and they start calling and pestering them and hopefully getting an opportunity to bid and going through this process.

I kind of put the sales team through an exercise when I first met them. I came in and asked, the first question I asked them was how much prospecting do you do? How much hunting for new business and going out and looking for new customers do you do and all five of them said to me, we’re so busy we really don’t have time to do that very much. And I said, “Hm, that’s interesting. Wonder what you’re busy on. Do you guys happen to have a report that would show me all the open proposals that are out there that you have submitted to prospects or clients and you haven’t got a decision on?” They said, “Sure, we can print that out.” And they brought it in. It was about 250 proposals and then I asked the question, on average, and I know some of these you probably don’t even follow up on because they’re small. Some of them they’re big, you probably follow up multiple times. What do you think the average number of outbound attempts that you make communication attempts, either by phone or by email, on each of these proposals.

And for right or for wrong, they told me five. Per proposal. And a lot of people laugh when they hear that but that’s what we see in the industry, and in particular in manufacturing we see a lot of that. That’s kind of the process that sales people go through. And then I said well let’s do a little math exercise. I said, if you are doing that five times on each proposal, that’s 1,250 outbound communication attempts just to find out if you’re getting it. How long do you think it takes you to write that email or leave that voicemail? We agreed on about three minutes and then I just added up the hours per month that that added up to and I said, now I know why you don’t have time to prospect.

They kind of, it was a pause for them because they never looked at it that way. And so, we kind of helped them develop a system on how do we flip that dynamic, because that is, in today’s digital age, I call it with, you know, all of the technological communication, the texting and everything else that goes on, the constant interruptions we get, every minute that you have to actually go sell something is vital. If you’re wasting your time, and that’s really what I call it, your wasting your time making five, six, seven attempts just to find out about a proposal. Sales people don’t take the time and make the time to go find new customers.


Generation of Sales People

Vera: Exactly. And Ken, let me ask you this. In this example of a recent client that you’re working with, how would you describe the generation that these sales folks are in? Are they older, are they younger?

Ken: They’re older. They’ve all been I would say, I don’t want to call anybody old because I’m not young either, but I would say they’re all in at least their 50’s. They tend to have a way that they were taught 25, 30 years ago when they got into sales that kind of sounds like what I described and they’ve never taken the time to re-evaluate their process and say, is this system working? And it clearly wasn’t as their closing percentage in that particular company, their closing percentage meaning the amount of proposals they sent out versus the ones that actually turned into orders was under 10%.

Vera: Oh wow.

Ken: And that is, I’ll be honest, that is the norm in the industry that I see a lot of, especially in these particular spaces, manufacturing and logistics both.

Buying Journey

Vera: Now, Ken, I think there might be some listeners out there that are maybe thinking what I’m thinking but is the buying journey changed so much that it’s rendered their processes moot or have they just not learned other strategies?

Ken: Well, that’s a great question and I think the answer is it’s both. I heard a statistic recently, I don’t know how accurate this is but I would think it’s fairly accurate. A buyer can learn 70% of everything there is to know about a company that’s trying to sell them something before they ever pick the phone up because of social media, because of the internet and so the buying, the educated buyer is at a much higher level than they ever used to be. It used to be in the old days, much more about what I would call relationship selling. Just like I described how I got into sales was, you know, my boss says you can talk to people and you have this gift of conversation, go sell something. That’s how most of these people got into it too and they think that’s still what they’re supposed to do.

Unfortunately, with the education of the buyer being so much higher, they don’t really need that relationship per say that they used to have. Now, doesn’t mean relationship building is not critically important because if you can’t connect with somebody on a relationship level, they’re likely not going to buy from you. But, it isn’t about who takes me to lunch the most and who stops by with donuts for my office and who takes me to ball games and things like that. It isn’t as much about that as it was 25 years ago.


Ken’s Manufacturing Sales Team Process

Vera: So, with your unique experience in manufacturing and logistics and coupled with your Sandler training, how do you approach moving the sales team into the next chapter of sales? What’s that process look like?

Ken: The company I described, along with most every company that we see in manufacturing and logistics, the way they get out of that gerbil selling, it really starts much sooner on the front end and there’s a system that we touch on in the book about a more efficient way to prospect to the right potential clients and not just everybody. I won’t get into details on that one, but once they get in front of somebody, if we were to go back and revisit this discussion we’ve had about this proposal process, one thing we really work with them on is they have to do a much better job of asking straight forward, honest, sometimes difficult questions to a buyer that is asking them for a proposal before they should even agree to do the proposal and that’s something that’s difficult for people.

A couple examples. If I were in front of a buyer and they said let me let you bid on this product, it would probably be really helpful for me to know, number one, how long have you been working with the current supplier that you’re using? Number two, are you even unhappy with them? And if so, what are you unhappy with because I’d like to know that to make sure something that I can perform better. Number three, what is the ballpark price range that you’re used to paying for this? Because a lot of times we’ll see manufacturers that sub-contract some manufacturing and thus become more of a distributor.

Well, they might be 20 or 30% higher than if they’re working with a manufacturing direct. Wouldn’t I like to know that before I go do a proposal and number four, is there something that you’ve seen in our company that stands out to you that would make you really want to make a switch to us? A lot of times sale people are either A, caught up in the moment and they’re afraid to ask those questions or they don’t think to ask them or B, they know what they’re supposed to ask but they truly are afraid to ask because it’s kind of, it’s a little too direct sometimes. Or at least they think it’s a little too direct.

And so, as a result they take the proposal and go back and go in a little bit more blind if you will. And so, that’s one system we have to fix, which is the mindset of the sales person that they want a quote. The mindset should be we got to ask the right questions to know if this makes sense for us to propose and if it doesn’t, we need to have the courage to tell the buyer that. That this probably isn’t a good match for us right now.


Pre-Call Plan System

Vera: Ken, what kind of push back do you get from sales folks that have to start asking these questions? I mean, if they’re all willing to, not that they’re being forced. Are they nervous?

Ken: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a nervous, it’s a fear thing.

Vera: Really?

Ken: Yeah. And it’s strange. I mean, you wouldn’t think, when I bring these questions up in our discussion right now, it seems like well that’s not really that difficult to ask, but you know there was probably some time in their 25 year sales career when they asked who else are you bidding to or who are you currently working with or what are you unhappy with that the buyer said I’m not going to tell you that and gave them a really terse response if you will that scared them. And so, now they have this in their head that I can’t ask that question. And so, it’s all fear.

One of the systems that we tell them to put in to place is do a pre-call plan when you’re going on a meeting and document a pre-call plan to the point that you’re actually documenting out these are the five or six questions that I need to be sure to ask on this meeting. And that really helps and I tell salespeople don’t be afraid to walk in with your list. It just shows you prepared and from the buyer’s perspective, it doesn’t show that you don’t know what you’re talking about and so you have to write everything down. What it really shows is I took the time to prepare and come up with thoughtful, provoking questions to know if I can help.

Vera: Well, and I agree with that. As a business owner myself, I don’t like when sales people come in and start telling me what they think I need. They haven’t asked me any questions. They don’t know what my pain points are. They don’t know why they’re even being asked to have a conversation with me. So, but it could be my generation as well. You know, I’m a gen x’er. I’m used to having conversations. I appreciate those. So, in manufacturing sometimes it’s getting that all elusive purchase order or you’re getting nuts and bolts or pieces and parts of something so it’s really price driven. There’s the absence of those questions.

Ken: Yeah, that’s very true and it’s, you brought up a couple of really good points there. Being price driven, you know, one of the reasons you want to ask those questions is to get off of being price driven and be more focused on why it makes sense for us to potentially do business or not. And what we like to say and this is so true, sales people are the ones that create price pressure. Buyers don’t create price pressure. Buyers invite you in and if you asked a lot of really intelligent questions and created an emotional reason on the buyer’s side that they want to work with you, it becomes much, much less about price. But when sales people go in with the mindset of let me get a bid opportunity and I’m going up against four other bidders, who’s the one that’s really creating the price pressure in that relationship? It’s the seller.

Vera: Absolutely. So, Ken, I’m going to throw you a curve ball.

Ken: Okay.


Prospect Process: How to Identify Your Ideal Target

Vera: On the beginning of the interview, you had mentioned that when you went into this particular client that you’re working with, you asked the question how much time are you spending prospecting. And prospecting is one of the most difficult things, I think, to do from a sales perspective. Do you have any processes around prospecting?

Ken: Yes. Absolutely.

Vera: Oh good. Oh good, I’d love to hear some of those.

Ken: Sure. So, there’s a couple of things that we point out to clients when we work with them and number one, is you cannot go in and this is a generational thing again, tends to be, is the mindset when the older salespeople in particular in these sectors, would go out to look for is everybody is potential prospect and that’s a poor mindset to have. There are so few hours in the day for sales people to actually have the time to prospect and as you just mentioned, very accurately, it’s also a very difficult thing to do, yet it’s the lifeblood of any business. It’s the life blood of any sales career. Without it, your business will go away over time.

One of the things we teach them is you absolutely must identify who your ideal target is and you need to understand that and just like there’s 70% of the information buyers can learn about sales people and their companies, the opposite is true. We as sales people have the opportunity to learn a whole lot more about the buyer in today’s world, about their company, about how their structured, then we ever did before thanks to social media and the internet. What we’ll tell them to do in terms of a system is go out and look at the common characteristics of your top 20 or 30 clients that do business with you. Why do they keep doing business with you? Why do they love working with you? What are the differentiators? And also, what are the common characteristics on their end? Is it the type of industry that they’re in? Is it the number of employees they have? Is it the size of the company? What is it?

I always tell people you will find three to four to five common denominators if you will in those best clients. Now, once you identify that, how do we replicate that? How do we go out and find more of those? That’s where the internet and doing your homework comes into play and there’s an opportunity to go out and look for more companies like that. And so, we’ll teach them to go do that. Now, take it a step further. What’s the level of position that you typically call on that you have the most success with? A lot of times we’ll see salespeople call on a lower position in the buyer’s company that they really should. If you were to ask them, when do you have the best success? Well, I happen to know the CEO here or I happen to know some higher level position there and that really helped me win that business. Well, let’s go find more of those.

We really help them identify who are your best potential prospects first before you’re going to call on them. Now, the second part to the system is do I want to make a cold call? Which we touch on this in the book and this is whole other topic but cold calling is not as effective as it used to be. A lot of people don’t even have office phones anymore and a lot of people are moving around all the time and a lot of people don’t like to be interrupted. We have a belief that in most industries but in manufacturing in particular, we see a lot more success using email because the buyer has the opportunity to respond in their own time and when they’re, you know, have a minute to do that.

Now, your scripting in those has to be effective to want them to respond to you, but that’s a whole other topic that we could touch on at some other point. Once you’ve identified your targets and once you’ve identified who you’re going to go after in terms of the level of position and we’ve identified how we’re going to pursue them through maybe an email versus a cold call. Now, the next thing to ask yourself is there an opportunity for me to get an introduction into this company as opposed to going in cold, if you will. Best way to do that from the way we see it, if we’ve identified a target prospect, let’s go to LinkedIn and let’s take a look at LinkedIn and say is there somebody that might know somebody, somebody that I’m connected to that might know somebody in that company that might be willing to make an introduction?

I ask this question in training all the time with clients, I’ll say does everybody have a lot of happy customers and they always nod their head yes. What’s your systematic approach to asking them to introduce you to others and invariably, most don’t have one. It’s either they’re afraid to ask for the introduction or they just don’t have a systematic approach on how to do it and so we’ll teach them hey, if I’m connected to Vera on LinkedIn and Vera happens to know the CEO of a target prospect for me, why wouldn’t I send Vera a quick note and ask her how well do you know, I see you know Joe Smith, how well do you know him and would you be comfortable ever introducing me?

And when we get our clients to start to adopt this type of process as opposed to going in cold, well I can give you some statistics. Every 10 people on average that we’ve seen that you’ve asked for an introduction to, four of those people were willing to sit down and have a face to face first meeting with that sales person. And that’s a warm meeting because they were introduced as opposed to a cold meeting and vice versa, you know, most statistics will tell you cold calling or cold emailing, you’re going to have less than a 10% chance of even getting somebody to respond to you, let along have a meeting with you.


Prospecting System: Working with Clients

Vera: So, Ken, you know, whenever you’re implemented even the prospecting system, which I’m loving that and you’re right, I mean sales people are now having to become researchers just because of the all the information that is available out there. Whenever you’re working with your clients, do you actually physically go with them to a sales meeting? Do you listen to a phone call with them? How hands on do you need to be to really get them to understand how to incorporate this new way of being?

Ken: That’s a great question. On occasion we will go on a meeting with them. More often, we will sit in their office while they’re making a phone call. A lot of sales people, even ones we train that understand the new systematic approach to this and are willing to try it, they’re still really nervous about having the quote coach in the room.

Vera: I would imagine.

Ken: So, I tend to not want to push that and make them uncomfortable but rather here’s, we might, you know, have a discussion, a pre-call discussion ourselves about how this should go and then have a debrief afterward about how it did go. And I will tell you, without fail, the people that take the time to pre-call plan, to document their questions, that script out so to speak and I know a lot of sales people don’t like that word scripts, but to script out their approach, those invariably go way better. Sales people for whatever reason are afraid of that whole philosophy of scripting and our belief system, my belief system is whenever possible, let’s make sales much more of a science than an art.

You know, sales people took a lot of pride, in particular in the old days, they took a lot of pride in being able to go in there and just with their gift of conversation, they could wing it and close business. That just doesn’t work anymore. And if I have a replicable process that every time I ask this question, I get a favorable response, why wouldn’t I document that and repeat that as often as possible?


Roadblocks to Look Out for When Implementing a New Process

Vera: What are some of the road blocks or pitfalls to look out for when you’re implementing a new process such as this from a sales perspective?

Ken: On the prospecting side?

Vera: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ken: So, the road blocks really that we see, in particular in these verticals again, the generational thing. A lot of people are very resistant to leveraging the power of social media and LinkedIn in particular to help get those introductions. A lot of people they’ll tell me, I don’t even have one of those or I’m not into that kind of thing and that’s not my style. We really have to push them out of their comfort zone and say but it’s working. It works much better so you really need to try something new. That’s certainly one thing.

Another thing is there are self-doubt in sales people’s head that develops about the uncomfortableness around even asking for that introduction. Well, I don’t want to burdensome or bothersome to my client. And I’ll ask them, but you’ve been doing business with them for 10 years and they love you and they’re happy with your product or service, they would want to introduce you. You just have to have the courage to ask and so, a lot of the pitfalls or roadblocks that I see are all things that are between their ears. You know, it has nothing to do with … You know, the system is in front of them and they know it works and they see other people doing it and it’s just a matter of kind of getting out of their own way and being willing to do it.


Upcoming Market Changes in Manufacturing

Vera: Well, Ken, I know that the book has just got so much information in there and just full transparency, you were so kind to send me a complimentary copy and I literally, I think I’ve read the whole thing. It’s just so insightful and I know that I am implementing even some of those processes and hints and tips into my sales process. As you’re moving on, what’s up for next challenge in this field of manufacturing?

Ken: Well, I think the next challenge for us is to continue to evolve in our understanding of how the business world is changing at a rapid pace. There’s a new buzz phrase out there if you want to call it called social selling and I read something recently that said by 2021, 80% of business will be done through this avenue of social selling. The gist of it is it’s not until step four of your sales process that you even reach out and attempt to contact a prospect. Where in the old days, how I grew up and how the generation before me grew up, I’m a gen x’er as well, is step one is pick the phone up. So, that’s you know, being a gen x’er, I’m not a millennial, so I don’t, social media isn’t quite as ingrained in me as other people. But we’ve had to learn and then be able to communicate with our clients.

Some of the things to watch out for and be prepared for is the market changes. It’s very difficult on the manufacturing and the logistics side in particular because they are such mature industries in most cases. That generational thing tends to get in the way.


Ken’s Final Thoughts and How to Get in Touch with Him

Vera: I would absolutely agree with that. I think it’s definitely going to change more rapidly, especially with the transition of different generations out of the work place and the newer ones into the workplace, especially in buying positions. It’s exciting. I love all of these process, before we go today, let’s close out with any final advice you want to share with our listeners and anything that we may have missed. And then tell us the best way that we can connect with you.

Ken: Okay, great. One thing I’d like to touch on is I mentioned that proposal process quite a bit and sending out proposing and chasing if you will, and one of the pieces of advice I would give, is when you are ready to submit a proposal, call the prospect up and don’t just send it over via email. But call the prospect up and say I’ve got this ready, I’d like to review it with you. Could we have a few minutes to go through it by phone before I send it over and that’s your chance as a sales person to find out, not only when they’re making the decision, but also get an agreement with them that they’ll take your call to give you what that decision is. And be sure to tell them that if it’s a no, that’s okay. Most buyers avoid us and the reason they don’t return those calls is because they’re nice people. They just don’t like to tell people no.

If you give them permission to say no and say, can we have a five minute call next Friday? And on that call, I’m just going to call you up and say how did we do? Did we get it or didn’t we and if we didn’t, that’s okay. You will be surprised how often buyers will welcome that and suddenly you move from the person that’s chasing to the person that’s just getting a decision much faster and moving on. And then that frees up a lot of your time to allow you to move on. That’s one thing I’d like to point out. I know I touched on the proposal process but I didn’t really give anybody a good alternative system if you will on how to fix that.

So, regarding contacting me, the best way to get ahold of me is probably through email at ken.guest. G-U-E-S-T@sandler.com or you can pick up a copy of our manufacturing sales book on Amazon or the Sandler Store, the Sandler website as well.

Vera: System Execution fans, no matter how many notes you took or how often you re-listen to this episode, the key is every successful business uses systems to drive to a better outcome.

Ken, thank you so much for sharing your expertise and insight with our listeners today.

Ken: Vera, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Recording: We hope you found this episode of System Execution enlightening. For free examples, case studies, e-books and more, be sure to visit systemexecution.com/resources. Contribute to the conversation by reaching out to Vera directly on email at vera@systemexecution.com. Until our next episode, thank you for the privilege of your time.




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