Tuesday, February 6, 2018


....Most Frightening Words in Industrial Sales

Ever wonder what one phrase makes a salesperson’s ears hurt? I cringe from painful past memories every time I hear the words “All you gotta do is”.  Below I’ll tell you a story of how I was first introduced to this simplistic phrase and why I work to avoid hearing it to this day.

After ten years with a large industrial sales corporation, I decided it was time to take my career to the next level.  I accepted an offer to enter the wild and crazy world of selling to the automotive industry.  I started in June of 2015 here at Turner Machine, and after several weeks of training, I hit the ground running.  Eager to bring in new business and prove myself to my new company, I called and visited hundreds of prospective clients.

Thankfully, we won some new business, and most of this work was in machining build-to-print spare parts for many manufacturers in the area.  However, a few of the jobs we won were not as cut and dry. They required design time from our mechanical engineering team.  When quoting jobs of this nature, it is crucial to ask many detailed questions (ex. What is the functionality of the part? Does it require assembly? Does it need a special resistance coating?) . For a high “I”, low “c” personality like mine, this new part of the job proved to be extremely difficult.

Luckily, our applications engineer (whom we’ll call Mr. E) had forty years of experience in this industry. Mr. E treated everyone with a warm genuine smile like a good grandpa would, and he was beyond patient with me.  On this day however, I found out the one phrase that would send him into an angry orbit.

The project we had been awarded did not have a detailed, written scope of work. Our client’s manufacturing engineer (whom we’ll call Mr. L) had limited data and did not have a full set of engineered prints.  This left us with many unanswered questions. Mr. E and I worked to together to figure out what questions would need to be answered so we could provide Mr. L with a successful project.  Later that day, I sent Mr. L this list of questions.  The next day I called Mr. L to see what the status was of our questions.  Mr. L said “I don’t have time for all these questions. All you gotta do is build a table to move these fixtures up and down.”

Even with my limited knowledge, something in my gut told me that this wasn’t right.  I walked into Mr. E’s office to give him the latest news.  The exchange went something like this:

Mr. E:    Did you get my questions answered?

Me:        Not all of them.

Mr. E:    What do you mean?

Me:        Mr. L told me “all you gotta do is build a table to transfer parts up and down”

Mr. E:    (eyebrows raised, face getting red, screams) ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? DON’T EVER TELL ME “ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS” (slammed his fist down onto his desk)

Me:        (hands shaking, staring at the floor) I’m sorry sir.  Why is that such a bad thing to say?

Mr. E:    It’s not just bad, it’s terrifying! I’ve been doing this for forty years, and it’s never as easy as they make it sound. He’s oversimplifying this and that almost guarantees that we don’t have all the details we need to make this project a success.  Let me tell you something son. This is a red flag that I’ve seen numerous times throughout my career.  If they can’t take the time to answer questions and be a true partner, then we may need to re-evaluate whether or not we should be doing business with them.

As uncomfortable as this conversation was, it was a very important lesson for me in my new career.  Not every prospect makes a good fit as a client.  After fighting through all the vagueness and lack of partnership with this client, we decided that this painful job would be our last with them.  Now you know why saying “all you gotta do is” will scare me worse than any grotesque horror movie.

Our salesmen are always just an email away to help execute a successful project. If you have build to print jobs be sure to give me (Mike) a shout out at dedication@turnermc.com
If you have automation jobs you need a quote on reach out to Jay at machines@turnermc.com    We'd love to show you what makes us stand out from the rest. Check us out by following us on Facebook and see our videos on Youtube!  Curious about us? Visit our website at TurnerMC.com and see what our culture is about! 

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