Bad Sales Call? Three Tips to Save the Sale

Bad sales calls happen to everyone; follow these three tips and next time you might just save the sale.


This summer, my colleague Javier Aldrete sourced some expert advice on how to conduct a sales call that is not only successful, but enhances your relationship with the customer. In it, he shared an experience I had in which a sales person left a horrible, albeit hilarious, message for me.

Take a glance at the post, but suffice it to say that this person did not earn my business. Wondering why? No, it wasn’t the coughing or his confession that it was the worst message ever (it was). It was that he committed the cardinal sin of bad sales calls: He never called me back! Perhaps if he had, we could have laughed about it and he could have recovered the sale.

Bad sales calls happen, but the next time they do, these three tips might help you save the sale:

No. 1: Do something when the conversation goes south.

Did you just leave an embarrassing message? Or maybe you just tripped over your words. Yes, it’s a hit to your pride, but don’t make it worse by doing nothing to recover. Clearly, doing nothing can’t save your sale. Call back, make a joke, or just find a way to move on with the conversation.

We are all human. Buyers are people, sellers are people and people understand that stuff happens. When something unexpected does happen, leverage those interpersonal skills that make you a great sales rep to begin with. Acknowledge what happened, apologize and move on. You can even reset the conversation by saying, “hey, I messed up there, let me start over.” Don’t be afraid to add a touch of self-deprecation; being able to laugh at yourself is a quality not to be underestimated!

Whatever you do, think on your feet and always be prepared to do something when calls go badly. [Read more...]

A New Formula for Profitable Growth

As stated in Tuesday’s blog post on news and happenings in the specialty chemical industry, the global specialty chemicals market is to continue its growth through 2015. Growth is always a harbinger of good times ahead, yet those well-versed in the industry know that growing the business while reducing vulnerability to volatile costs remains key to profitability.

formula for profitable growth

Holding the line on margins in the face of cost volatility, while capitalizing on the growth in the industry to win more share continues to be a strategic focus for specialty chemical manufacturers. However, that’s easier said than done. Sales reps face a massively complex environment, typified by tens of thousands of products and customers and a highly competitive and cyclical market. How do manufacturers ensure that margin and share goals are executed upon in the field through each and every decision?

Sales people need guidance about where to find opportunities to expand share, and once they find them, how to quote a price that will hit profit goals and still win the business. In this whitepaper, we will discuss the factors in chemical manufacturing that make effective pricing difficult, the challenges inherent with gaining more share profitably, and how companies can use the data they already have to align sales reps’ decisions with financial priorities.

Cyclical Resiliency: A Zero-Sum Game?

For specialty chemical manufacturers, industry cyclicality and cost volatility are ever-present margin threats and difficult to overcome. But is it a zero-sum game? According to the Journal of Business Chemistry:
“The basic assumption here, is that measures to reduce cyclicality are a zero-sum game, that is, the expected average wins from higher profitability during the downturns are compensated by corresponding lower profitability in the market peaks. Measures to reduce cyclicality are thus seen as an insurance to smoothen the business cycle, not as a tool to earn additional profit within the cycle. However, in reality there may be ways to profit from cyclicality … if increasing raw material prices are passed on to the customers very quickly while lower prices are not passed on, or only after substantial pressure from customers.”

We couldn’t agree more, the cyclical nature and complexity of the market provides a unique opportunity to capture more profits. To truly optimize prices and profit margins, the entire company should be comfortable with more variable target margins for different products and customer types, and with shifting those margin targets to respond appropriately to changes in underlying commodity costs. Let’s take a look how this approach contrasts with the traditional method of setting prices.

Download the full report on strategies for profitable growth in specialty chemical manufacturing.

Industry Beat: Specialty Chemical Manufacturers

Good news is on the horizon for specialty chemical manufacturers:  The global market is projected to grow significantly by next year. According to a 2014 research report from TechNavio, the global specialty chemicals market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6 percent by 2015. The forecast attributes growth to increased demand in the APAC region and increasing acquisitions, and cautions against the effects of environmental and health regulations.


Growth isn’t the only trend in this rich and diverse industry vertical. To help you get a handle on the trends and news shaping the industry, take a look at the articles below.

FMC Buys Cheminova for $1.8 Billion and Revises Breakup | September 8, 2014

“FMC Corp. (FMC:US) agreed to acquire Danish pesticide maker Cheminova for $1.8 billion, including debt, as Chief Executive Officer Pierre Brondeau builds up the crop chemicals division and reduces the scale of a planned breakup.”

Eastman Chemical Creates Odor-Free, Styrene-Free 3D Bio-Polymer | September 7, 2014

“Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymers will provide makers of 3D filaments with a consistent, high-quality product. It will empower consumers to create strong, functional 3D products through desktop printing, while ensuring good air quality and dimensional stability with a material that complies with FDA regulations. Looking to the future, Eastman is considering tailoring options — like color and texture — for additional solutions.”

Chevron Phillips Chemical Sells Manufacturing Unit for $220 Million | September 5, 2014 [Read more...]