For 8 years I worked in advertising and marketing sales. It was a grind and it meant lots of cold calling and knocking on doors. The first job in radio I had was in Cincinnati with WGRR Oldies 103.5. I quickly realized I was in the field I was meant to be working in, marketing. I loved helping small business owners create ideas that drove sales and profits, AND fit into their budget. The 1 thing that drove me crazy though was how CRAPPY business owners were when it came to talking to me on the phone, setting and keeping appointments and having a genuine interest in listening to someone about their business. They had this “I know everything” mentality, especially their ad agencies.
Then after 4+ years at WGRR I decided to run the business that my brother, father and I started a few years prior, a retail Boat & RV dealership So I was now that business owner, and I made a pact to my friends in media that I would listen and not be the guy we had all called on. I quickly found out how tough it was to keep up, the phone rang off the hook from sales people in every industry. Someone always had something that was the next best product or the best marketing platform. It was tough, BUT I LISTENED. And it was amazing to sit back a few years ago and look at all the great products we sold that we never would have had the chance if a sales person had not done their job. YES, the credit goes to the sales person for hammering me for a meeting and then showing me WHY to do business with them.
A few weeks ago there was an article in the local business paper about Cappel’s Costumes ( a Cincinnati Business) that talked about how they got into the Halloween Costume business. The owner talked about back a long time ago when a sales person /buyer kept hammering them to put Halloween Masks in their store. They finally put 8 masks in the store (after I’m sure MANY phone calls) and guess what happened….IT WORKED! Today Cappel’s is mainly known for their Halloween business. There is a lot of credit owed to that sales person, Cappel’s as we know it today, may not exist had that buyer from Chicago not done their job.
This is why all business owners and marketing directors owe much of the credit to the sales people that help bring you new ideas and products.
So, I challenge you to look at your business, your sales, your product and your marketing and see who you owe credit to for helping you build your business into what it is today. And then return phone calls and keep appointments with the sales reps that are calling on you. You never know which phone call will have the next idea to make you a few more million$$$
Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org