Sales by the living dead
Illustration: Phil Couzens

Vendor manage this!

Ever watch a scary movie and think, how are zombies able to get so far into buildings and chase people despite being slow and brain-dead?

Ever watch sales people and think the same thing?

As both a vendor manager consultant and sales trainer, I sometimes have a 360º viewpoint into what “really” goes on between clients and their sales people, and oh my goodness, what damage I could do with some duct-tape, a machete and a flare gun.

To the sales managers out there, please read below for some monster-irritations your clients have with your salespeople, causing them to board-up windows and stock up on shotgun shells.

1. Focusing on your own “internal processes” and not needs of the customer.

Telling the client that certain things “can’t be done” because of a “process” on your side, is about as effective as telling a zombie-mob they got the wrong house.

2. Ignoring history and a possible future together in both “boom times” and downturns.

Keep in mind who is paying your salary, your CLIENT, not your boss. Give all of your client’s consistent follow up and contact, be sincere.

3. Overly aggressive emails.

USE THE PHONE. Don’t be right, be helpful. No flamo'grams, email is forever.

4. Ignorant that we vendor managers have a job to do too, not just answer your messages and close your deals.

Have you taught your sales people about clients' daily lives?

5. Super annoying, insincere, calls/emails/visits at the end of the month or end of the quarter.

Hello, sales managers. Hear that one? Maybe cut-off dates like the ones you have, ain't such a good idea after all. Let your sales team worry about deals, not your deadlines!

6. No direct line of communication to the salesperson’s boss for feedback or complaints.

Do your customers know who you are and how to reach you when there is a problem? If the answer is no, then don’t be surprised when your CEO invites in for a chat after getting a flamo'gram of his own!

7. Throwing out a much-higher-than-market rate for a service/product, just to “try” to get more money on a quickie sale.

You are not impressing your client, or your boss, when you close one deal that is overpriced, then lose 10 deals at the same client to a competitor who charged fairly.

If you are charging more than others, be able to defend your pricing by showing added value.

8. Over-selling, under-delivering and a lack of attention to details.

As in life, people generalize on specifics. Poor attention to details creates doubt and additional administrative tasks, double check your work before sending it out.

Sales managers who are not close to their sales teams and their clients, can create zombie mobs. Aimless, arms outstretched, mouths wide-open, seeking only easy business and infecting your market image.

And when you promote zombies without integrating CLIENT input into the promotion process, you do nothing more than spread the virus to others.

Then, when results really suffer, you fire your zombie-members to save your job.

Instead, get more involved with your sales team’s business, before they turn into zombies and chew on your margins.

Other posts by Jason de Luca:


Yet another winner. Truly most of the sales people I deal with in a day desperately need "BRAINS" whether they know it or not. Sadly though the epicenter of zombie infection is usually flying the fat desk in the corner office. Keep knocking sense into the zombie hoards. Great piece.