Somebody put a copy of [Larry Lewis' article, "That's a good question," SBN, July 2000] in my mail slot and it caught my eye, which is no surprise. I have been in sales my entire career (18 years) and have worked solo as a sales representative but mostly in management, training people how to sell mostly by getting the appointment first.
Without the appointment, there is no sale. I believe that knocking on doors is also a valuable way of getting business, but you reach more people via the phone. It's more cost effective for everybody.
I will get to the point now. I just wanted you to know a tiny bit about my background so that you would take my thoughts/comments seriously. [His] article really hit home. I loved the question, "What caused you to invite me in?" Just excellent. That's one I haven't used.
I have a suggestion for The Initial Phone Call, Question 3. I would ask, "What types of similar concerns do you face?" It's an open-ended question. If I state, "I don't suppose you share any of those concerns," it's more likely for them to answer, "No, I don't." The open-ended question encourages them to open up a bit more.
Did you phrase it that way just in case they didn't have similar concerns and you feel that it is too presumptuous?
Terri L. Prokorym
inside sales department
Editor's note: Larry Lewis tells us he'll answer that question in an upcoming Selling Solutions column, so watch for it.
Doing things the Wright way
Thanks so much for the wonderful and quite honest article you put together on F.B. Wright Co. of Pittsburgh (SBN, July 2000). I so enjoyed meeting with all of you, and felt particularly flattered that you wanted to put our story to print.
We have received many comments and have heard from people from the past. The beginning of the story was quite clever and showed F.B. Wright as it actually exists.
I also was very appreciative of your description of me. Thank you. Also, the story was written in a very positive mode, no negativity.
F.B. Wright Co. of Pittsburgh
Editor's note: Hers is the kind of story we like to share with our readers because we believe it paints a more realistic, if not painful, picture of the struggles of the region's companies. Our hope is that such stories -- and the lessons they convey -- will educate and motivate others to make the right choices and move in the right direction as they try to grow. That's what SBN magazine is all about. If you've got lessons to share with others from your personal business experiences, please contact Editor Daniel Bates at (412) 321-6050 or drop him a note by mail or e-mail at email@example.com.
A Movers & shakers item (SBN, July 2000) about attorney Michael Martin had his law firm's name misspelled. It should have been spelled Pietragallo, Bosick & Gordon.