Monday, January 09, 2006

Bill Bell

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Successful Sales Professional Recalls Career Turning Points

Soon after publication of my book—-The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication, Change Your Life!—Bill Bell, a reader from Otto, NC, wrote a very nice letter, saying the book was helpful to him. For awhile, we exchanged e-mails, then decided to meet for lunch—which we do now on a monthly basis. We share mutual interest in sales, communication, motivation and customer service.

Bill Bell had a superb three decade career in advertising sales. So I asked him if there had been any career-changing moments he could report. In his customarily clear writing style, here was his answer:

Bill, you raise a good question about events that enhanced success. In my case there were two: First and most dramatic was when I went in business for myself. I had been employed as an advertising sales representative for a publisher of trade magazines, and was doing quite well. But the company asked me and several others to become independent reps keeping the same magazines, at a higher rate of commission, and being responsible for our own expenses. Though this arrangement sounded a bit intimidating, it turned out to be the luckiest opportunity that I've ever had. Suddenly I was free to make my own decisions, no longer had to try to please a boss, and was totally out of company politics. Sales and commissions increased and with them the joy of being in control of my own destiny. More publisher clients came along too, and then the need to hire office and sales staff to serve my growing business.

The other major upgrade in my sales career came after I read a book called "Conceptual Selling" by Stephen Heiman. I had read several books on salesmanship, from all of which I learned something. But this one opened the doors to ideas that I had never thought of or read about. Suddenly I was a more effective salesman, and person generally, than ever before. More sales and lasting customer relationships were the result. A small anecdote: I no longer "called on people". Instead I "met with prospective clients". In other words, I became a "professional" and with it came a joyous feeling of success, the memories of which I will long cherish.

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