Is it time for a new sales strategy?

June 4, 2013

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

At one point in my career in the secure destruction industry, before NAID, I made my living as a consultant. One of the proudest moments in my life came when the largest company in the industry at that time, Document Services, Inc. (DSI), in Detroit, Mich., hired me for a turnaround in their Atlanta, Ga., facility. Founded in 1961 and operating in six cities, DSI was a direct competitor of mine before I struck out on my own so they had firsthand experience of my work ethic and effectiveness. They also knew that I did not compete on price. Therefore, I considered it a badge of honor when they sent me into a tough situation.

However, there was another reason I was excited to work with DSI. As the largest secure destruction company in the U.S. at that time, I was expecting to see behind the curtain. After all, I thought, they must have some secret sauce after 30 years in the business (this was 1991). Imagine my surprise when I learned that they had no sales training or sales methodology at all. On the first day of work, the salesperson was issued a telephone book, a call report sheet and a handshake. They relied solely on eight hours of smiling and dialing. It was at that moment I started writing a sales training manual specifically for the secure destruction industry.

As I sit here today, I can’t help but wonder how many NAID members are operating under that same sales strategy. Or worse, having given up on outbound sales, they wait for the phone to ring or buy leads from an Internet marketing firm. With the right perspective, outbound sales efforts are still very important but they need to be nested in an environment constructed to support that activity and to drive traffic to the organization. Incoming service inquiries are great if they are specifically looking for your services but they are a waste of time if they are just calling for a price.

I am really looking forward to the upcoming NAID Shred School workshops. Though they will not focus on sales and marketing exclusively, every bit of the information conveyed in the workshops plays a role in an organization’s success. I sincerely hope readers take advantage of this program. If one is not currently scheduled for a city near you or if the workshop near you is sold out, please be patient. More are dates and locations are coming soon.