Make a joint sales call with a peer

January 1, 1998

Pharmaceutical Representative

With the recent influx of new hires, some experienced sales reps are coaching newcomers by taking them along on sales calls.

With the recent influx of new hires, some experienced sales reps are coaching newcomers by taking them along on sales calls.

They may want to consider following advice recommended by John Koller in his book, The Encyclopedia of Sales and Selling.

According to Koller, "Whenever two or more people make a call together, they must be careful and agree on certain principles before the call.

"First, agree on a lead seller or quarterback. That person starts everything and does all the talking and answering unless both sellers specifically agree that someone else will do some part, the other is questioned directly by the customer or lead seller, or a response is directed by the leader. (For example, the leader might say as a cue: 'That's Jay's field of expertise. He can tell us.')

"Second, never 'gang up' on a customer. Customers should feel like they can talk and disagree without being overwhelmed.

"Third, never disagree in front of the customer. It looks stupid, and it is stupid.

"Four, make sure the customer knows why there two people present on the sales call.

"Five, the second salesperson should not 'jump in' if the lead person falters. Wait to be asked.

"And finally, always explain everything [to one another] before you make the joint call."

The same advice applies, Koller said, when a manager or trainer accompanies a representative in order to observe, coach or sell an important customer on a new product.

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