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On the fence...

I could really use some insight from other sales professionals. Appreciate it.

I work for a great company. The people are exceptional. The future looks pretty bright. It's a real, right-place-at-the-right-time sort of gig. I sell what I know and I am passionate about my industry. There is just one problem.

Despite inordinate amount of progress being made with the business on the back end - increased traffic for a pittance of the old marketing budget, for example - we are on-hold with a good third of our suppliers. These suppliers represent what I estimate as being more than 70% of our most popular items. I don't think I need to tell you what happens when you make 50-100 sales in a month and, at the end of the following month, more than three quarters of those orders remain un-shipped.

So, the question is, you are tasked with moving product, keeping up the lines per transaction, and sticking to your guns on margin, but you have next to no faith that any order you close will ship within a month. You call to check stock on items and your suppliers tell you, "I wouldn't bother, if I were you."

To make matters worse, you've heard upper management comment that the sales department has "degraded to mere order-takers" and that he is considering replacement with "new talent."

We go back and forth between desire to press on, regardless, and make this venture flourish, and being outraged that we're being thrown under the bus despite management using funds for a flashy new website rather than giving us the ability to establish rapport and generate any kind of repeat or referral business.

I'm hoping that reading this book, "The Gap," will help me to make my decision, but my father-in-law, who has been in sales for more than 30 years told me that, were "That sort of amateur hour bull**** happen where I worked, I would be outta there so fast their heads would spin."

Appreciate the replies. This industry isn't the easiest to get into, so bailing would have me back to a mindless 9-5. Don't want that either. :P - by D.M055
Failing to meet customer's expectations erodes trust and market share. Continue to do so at your own risk. - by AZBroker
Failing to meet customer's expectations erodes trust and market share. Continue to do so at your own risk.
Exactly. There is no doubt about that.

What we have been doing in the meantime is work to switch existing customers into product lines which we know are shipping. Likewise with prospects on the phone. They may call for Brand A, but we talk them into Brand B, since neither really makes any difference. We sell what we know we can deliver. This really annoys management.

It would be a shame to see this place go out. We're trying so hard, but I don't have much hope left. Maybe I'll end up working nights and weekends at the local Mitsubishi dealership or something... - by D.M055
Look, it might be even easier to sum up than customer confidence or trust. The reality is; you can't sell what you don't have.

It is the same as sales people that sell a future model, one that is not released yet. The end result is the same. If you don't move product you have no income (bonuses or whatever).

It is kind of hard to understand what is going on there, as you are obviously being a little vague to protect what company image remains, not to mention your own dealings with your employer, both understandable. But in the end, it comes down to your time and expectation to benefit. If that is being hurt you cannot get it back. And if your company plays games or is under funded or whatever, you can bet that is likely to happen again.

Start your own business is my advice but get out of where you are first. Good luck. - by Gold Calling
DM, management needs to keep it simple: they do the "managing" and sales does the "selling". You should be able to go out there and sell with confidence whatever the company carries.

It sounds like there are some fundamental issues at the core of the business. If you're determined to stay, you need to put it on the line with someone in management whom you trust. After all, shooting the soldiers isn't the answer (especially when the problem is that the soldiers have NO bullets)!

Arrange for a one-on-one and before anything else is said, put on the table the supplier's comment (about, "...I wouldn't bother..."). If you've genuinely got the numbers but the company cannot deliver, then, it's time for a "come to Jesus" meeting. Management needs to bare their souls about what's going on (to protect their sales team) or get serious about their stocking program.

Be prepared as you might find yourself on the street, so, get the resume out there first!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Pat is right - have that resume ready. I would even start putting your feelers out before the meeting too. - by Gold Calling
Thanks, gents. Much appreciated.

We're supposed to resume our weekly sales meeting tomorrow. In the meantime, I've been spending the last few days brushing up the resie. He likes to think we're lazy order-takers, but such is not the case. Since you can't sell what you don't have, we simply don't bother. I don't close people on items which haven't shipped in six weeks for the same reason I don't try to sell them a TV. We don't have it.

In the past, when things have been better and looking up, we've been tasked with tapping into our individual markets to find new suppliers with the hot items and using our social networking resources to attract prospects. We're fine with that. In fact, we're all really attracted to the idea of being able to develop our own sort of business within a business. We see those areas as being our invaluable strengths. They are sources of our greatest potential, but I'll be damned if I'm going to go out and trash the good name I've made for myself in the North American Mitsubishi enthusiast community over the past six plus years by publicly supporting a venture which consistently disappoints.

We shall see. I took 47 inbound calls yesterday. 40 were people complaining about delays or otherwise concerned about the status of their order. 7 were potential sales. I had no time to pursue any leads. It was a waste of a day. Between myself and the other sales guy who was in (we've got one out sick), customer service calls outnumbered sales calls 5 to 1, and my associate wasn't even keeping track until after lunch! - by D.M055
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