Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Post-Sales Remorse - April 25, 2015

The term “post-sales remorse” is nothing new to me. I have read this term in many a sales training book, motivational presentation hand-out, and have heard it preached by a variety of sales trainers. In almost all cases it relates to or is defined as the timeframe when a client, just immediately after the signature to begin a project or release of a PO for a product purchase, begins to question their decision. They are wondering if they made the right choice in a new vendor or partner. They continue, even though they’ve now made a purchase, to look at the options in the market. They are second guessing themselves.

Any ‘A’ level sales person knows the signs & symptoms, and more specifically, knows how to head them off before they become a real concern. We all experience “post-sales remorse” at some time in our lives. Think about these questions that I’m sure you’ve asked yourself: does this shirt I just bought really look good on me? Should I have upgraded the options on my new car? Did I really need to spend the extra money on the hotel room for vacation? These are personal scenarios, but similar questions creep in during buying decisions in our professional lives as well. And again, as the sales person, you should be aware that this is a rather common occurrence and you should be prepared to deal with it.

A few steps I take when dealing with clients in “post-sales remorse” stage are simple. I remind them of the reasons why they chose me and/or my firm in the first place. I also remind them of our excitement to have them as a new client. And, I restate all of the plans for their project (or if you are in product sales – what expectations they should have for quality and on-time delivery, etc.). You must put their mind at ease. A signature or PO is not the close. It is knowing your new client is engaged and feels assured that they made the right decision.

Every company has a different process and every sales person has a different style. To prepare for the “post-sales remorse” stage, simply keep a list of the common concerns your clients address with you immediately following the signature or release of the PO. Trust me, they’re there. Put this list in your journal or someplace handy that you can view in quick reference. Second, next to each concern, write your response or description of heading off the concern. These will become second nature and eventually you will no longer need to look back into your journal each time, but more as a reminder from time-to-time.

Where do you see yourself in... - April 18, 2015

Here we are in almost mid-2015 and yet there are still HR folks, department heads and sales managers asking a very old-school question when interviewing: Where do you see yourself in 2 years, 3 years or 5 years from now? I’ve been in my career for over 20 years now and someone even asked me the same question recently. My reply was “hell I don’t even know where I’ll be a week from now”. I call it the beauty of being in sales.


I am by no means trying to be sarcastic. In fact, at one time, I would often ask the question to candidates as well as myself. “Kev, where are you gonna be in a couple of years?” It was, at least at the time, my way of taking inventory of my life, or so I thought. And then, one day, I came to the realization that today was nowhere near like yesterday, and this week has thrown many more challenges my way than last week. I was not in a typical 9am-5pm job. I chose sales as my career because I wanted to experience unknowns from day-to-day. More than anything else, I never wanted to be bored, or have the feeling that I never knew when or how to climb the corporate ranks; I wanted to trek through a constantly changing professional landscape. And so it goes with choosing sales as my career.


It was the last time I asked myself or anyone else where they wanted to be in any specific period of time. Instead, I began to ask myself and others, what their dreams were. Is there a place you’d like to travel to? Do you want to do something special with someone special? Do you have an interest in learning a new sport or how to play a musical instrument? How can you have a positive influence on someone else?


In other words, I wanted to set my sights on goals that made me a better person, and I would ask the same of others. I have a firm belief, as you may have noticed through previous posts, that sales is not for the faint of heart, but a chosen career for someone that wants to make an impact for a company and for themselves. And so, I write this week to the children of a few friends who will be graduating from college in a matter of weeks, and for the ones that have an interest in a sales career.


Sales is neither easy nor overwhelmingly difficult, it simply requires more discipline than any course you’ve studied for or sport you’ve played. There are great rewards, especially financial, but can be a financially rough journey along the way too. Most importantly, a career in sales may allow you to become a person of influence, and in a manner that you and others can be proud of. You can become a mentor, a volunteer, and a leader, as long as you stay true to the values you set for yourself and to the values set for you by your employer. Remember, when you meet and/or exceed expectations you and your manager have set, the flexibility of your chosen career kicks in and then you can give back. It is then that you will have become an ‘A’ level sales person.

Vacation Is Over - Get Back To Work - April 11, 2015

Vacation was a success! You’ve spent time with your family and friends. You went to a special resort. You played a round or two of golf. You hit the slopes for a little spring skiing. Or, you had a quiet staycation, and got caught up on some chores around the house. No matter how or where you spent time away from the office, it is now time to get back to work. Your team had your back and everything was covered, so now what?


Planning to leave for vacation, ensuring that you had a back-up plan and person in place, is a major part for a sales person being able to leave the office and enjoy some needed time off. However, there are a few additional steps that need to take place, both before you leave and immediately upon your return.


First, let’s review the pre-vacation planning process. As mentioned in last week’s post, you let your clients and prospects know in advance that you’d be gone, and you had someone from your team covering for you. That is great. And, if all went as planned, most issues have been dealt with and resolved before you even returned. So what do you need to plan for upon your return?


In advance of leaving the office for vacation, you should have your entire first week back in the office planned and scheduled, including client and internal meetings. Being efficient with time management before you leave will mean you can avoid a scattershot approach to time management upon your return. Planning ahead with your clients and prospects shows them you are interested, consider business with them to be of the upmost importance, and it’s always good to lock in commitments from them ahead of time. Planning your internal meeting time too allows you to show your team and/or managers that you want to hit the ground running immediately upon your return.


On the first day back, I’ve always sent an email to the clients and prospects I notified prior to leaving, and I let them know I am back and available. I want to confirm all of my meetings. It is good to get in early and review, mostly before others arrive, so you are prepared to get right back into the thick of it.


As a note of caution, I have watched sales people over the years skip the pre-vacation planning steps, and they become quickly overwhelmed upon their return. I’ve never witnessed anyone skip the pre-vacation planning steps and have an easy time getting back to work. Inevitably these sales folks feel overwhelmed. You’ll hear them say, “If I knew I’d have to deal with all of this, I wouldn’t have even bothered going on vacation”. I say, “You have no one to blame but yourself”.


A little planning and preparation goes a long way, especially when it comes time to be away from the office. Don’t fool yourself into believing everything will be OK, instead convince yourself everything will be OK because you planned accordingly, and ahead of time.

Vacation Back-up Plan - April 4, 2015

It is April 4th and I am on vacation with my family for Easter Break. I woke up this morning before everyone else, sat by the water, and began to check on a few emails and clean up my inbox. Today is actually my third day on vacation, and while I’ve been keeping an eye on email, I wanted to double check to make sure nothing slipped past me. This may sound funny, but a great feeling came over me as I checked on things from the office, while on vacation. You see, my back-ups at the office, well they have everything under control.


It really is a great feeling to be able to enjoy some time away from work, with the family, knowing that your fellow team members at the office have your back. But, here is the point to this week’s post – it doesn’t just happen – you have to have a plan in place before you leave.


As a sales person, you know you are not in a traditional 9-5 job, and your clients and prospects know this too. Before you leave for vacation you should take the following actions and then you will have peace of mind.


First of all, for a period of about 2 weeks ahead of your vacation you should make sure you reference your time away from the office to your clients and prospects every chance you get. You will not sound like a broken record, but rather, sincere that you care that your clients know your whereabouts. Second, make your clients and prospects are aware of the person they can contact while you are gone, and begin to Cc this person on your email correspondence. Then, with a few days remaining before your departure from the office, send emails to your clients and prospects reminding them of your time away, ask if they have any immediate needs for you, and again Cc your back-up. Lastly, make sure your Out of Office message and your voicemail message are detailed and very clear on who to contact in your absence and when you will return.


All of this may seem obvious, but in my experience, sales people always miss a step or two in this process, and then have to handle situations while on vacation. You deserve a break and can enjoy yourself even more knowing your team has your back. Plan carefully and everything will be fine in your absence.