Shrewd Salespeople Don’t Play by Rules But still Close

While the bank insists that all documentation must be in order before an account is opened, the salesperson gets all the documentation and has account opened but not necessarily in that order. The order is dependent on the situation at hand. Like a soldier, he adapts

Progressive salespeople don’t acquiesce to authority and cut corners in the field that would make the employer cringe.

When a sale is brought to the office for processing, it is assumed that what the company theory says should happen in the field, did. But the progressive salesman is not the king of wishful thinking. He learnt long ago that being a salesman is much akin to being a soldier. Whereas months of training and anticipating every conceivable scenario in class is important, following the model exercise when under heavy gunfire in the field is suicidal.

Navigating gatekeepers

Consider the mild case of the bank sales rep. The askari manning the gate gets him to jump the queue oftentimes because the sales person buys him lunch and once gave him a T-shirt branded with the bank’s logo. Can’t pitch in office? No problem. He completes the account opening form in the ladies washroom. Why? Because it’s the only place the lady prospect can be free from her boss’s eye during working hours.

What about letter from employer? If, for the account to be opened, this is required, no problem. The progressive salesperson will have standard copies of the drafted letter as part of his arsenal. It will have gaps for name and employee number which, once obtained, he will input and give the employee to sign. Unlike those doing as they are told, he will not wait for the employee to take the letter to HR for signing. No. He will do it himself and cajole the HR officer to doing it ahead of the work on her desk.

Builds relationships

Also, copies of ID and pay slip are needed, No problem. While the rest dutifully await the prospect to make the copies himself (and in the process wasting precious time), the progressive salesperson doesn’t. You see, he long ago developed a rapport with the person manning the photocopier. Therefore he (again) gets his unauthorized copies to take precedence over authorized company work. Further, the bank insists that all documentation must be in order before an account is opened. OK. The salesperson gets all the documentation and has account opened but not necessarily in that order. The order is dependent on the situation at hand.

Adapt like a soldier

You see, like a soldier, he adapts. If the prospect needed the account before payroll closed and the paper work was incomplete but forth coming, then the account opening takes precedence over paperwork. He is able to bend (he doesn’t see it as breaking) all these rules because he has invested in relationships that see him through them. These actions gall many who do not understand his world. They see the actions as indiscipline. Yet when the chips fall, these spectators become like complaining passengers in a matatu that was cutting corners. Now they jubilate that they successfully beat the traffic and arrived at work ahead of time.


The foregoing does not imply carelessness on recklessness on the part of the progressive sales person; far from it. He understands the gravity of his responsibility. He stretches the rules to the point of snapping, but just about there.. On occasion, though, the stretch does snap and a reprimand may follow. Possibly he gets kicked out of a prospects office for being a nuisance, or gets a memo from his employer for cutting corners. Again, the progressive salesperson knows just how far he can stretch the reprimand. If three memos mean he is fired, he will strive not to get any, but won’t hide in a cocoon if one shows.

Progressive sales people are not sticklers for rules, and the more they get ahead, the more the spectators` irritation veers to admiration, and what were once examples of how the progressive salesperson got the memo, now are stories of how he became a legend.

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