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Sales Executive Interview – Scot Smith
By James Rothaar
Scot Smith’s expertise is in retail sales and in showing clients how to build B2B relationships with retailers. His sales course, The Retail Crash Course, has helped thousands of wholesalers get their products on shelves of numerous retailers. Mr. Smith shows clients how to put a plan of action together that sells their products.
Scot Smith also is the cofounder of RetailPropeller.com, a website that features weekly podcasts of original content that assists and educates both entrepreneurs and wholesalers how to effectively and efficiently sell to retailers. Scot’s wholesale to retails sales program, The Retail Crash Course has helped thousands of wholesalers get their product into the retail stores.
Scot sells to numerous retailers throughout Georgia and the southeast region of the U.S. He has used his network of retail buyers to successfully place many new products for his clients.
How did you get into sales, Scot?
I started selling professionally when I graduated from high school. My first job was at Circuit City; I was the guy who could sell you a $500 extended warranty on a $300 laptop. I started taking it more seriously a few years later … when I picked up my first Brian Tracy book and realized that there is a lot of wealth to be had out there if I could demonstrate value for my products and services in the marketplace.
Could you briefly tell us what you are selling?
We sell across a few verticals all in the same niche. We sell to wholesalers who want to get their product into retail stores. We sell to retail stores that want exciting and new products that will perform well.
How did you find your current position?
I connected with a company that was selling licensed merchandise in wholesale quantities to retail stores. Since then I’ve become an independent representative and broker of wholesale transactions to my network of retail buyers. I also help other wholesalers that do the same thing through our website and podcast on RetailPropeller.com. We have a toolkit for wholesalers on RetailCrashCourse.com.
What are some of the rewards or benefits you gain from being able to sell well?
Selling professionally has given me the opportunity to be rewarded based on my performance and on the value I can add to the marketplace I serve.
Whether your glass is half-full or half-empty, it is best to provide a balanced perspective about the profession. What do you see as drawbacks?
Some of the biggest challenges come when you are also running the marketing operation for your sales efforts. Marketing and sales are two very different things. To be a super marketer on the front end of the sale and the back end after the sale, there is a lot to stay on top of. Being a top performer also means that you’re managing high-level partnerships, which can be a challenge at times.
What characteristics or personality traits make a great salesperson?
A true passion for their product or service is first and foremost. If you don’t believe what you’re doing is changing lives, you’ll never get through the hardships that come along with being a sales professional. It also takes someone who hates losing more than they love winning.
How are sales territories established at your firm?
The companies I represent have geographical territories and national/key accounts for the most part.
How are you compensated for your generating sales?
I’m paid a negotiated percentage of the wholesale volume on deals I broker to retailers.
What type of sales training do you have?
I read a lot of books; I also have some of the best mentors in the world.
Has it been helpful, if so, please tell how you have benefited from it?
The best sales training for me is practicing my craft and surrounding myself with mentors who have been where I am, peers who are where I am, and apprentices who want to be where I am now. If you can surround yourself with those three social groups, you will accelerate your success in sales and business, tremendously.
Does your position involve finding and selling new prospects, or handling existing accounts?
Our business is a mix of adding new business and nurturing the business we have, on both ends: retail stores and wholesale suppliers.
What percentage of each, just a ballpark, if you could?
We try to grow our business by 10 percent every 30 days.
What do you look for in a prospect?
Someone who is qualified to work with us is the first thing. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in sales is not speaking to your perfect customer. Our ideal prospect has to be at the right stage in their process, have the budget, and the willingness to move forward.
What types of research do you perform prior to meeting with a client or a prospect?
We do and we don’t research prospects. We have an application that wholesalers complete that tells us if they’re a good fit or not. Our marketing funnels tell us a lot about a prospect before they reach out to work with us. Retail accounts take a little more research, but I like to do the majority of that side-by-side with my prospects like the business partners that we are. It’s a mistake to go into a meeting with too much research, because you never really know what pieces and parts are truly applicable.
Could you describe the typical selling process in front of one of your clients or prospects?
We determine if working together could be a good fit. If it is then we lay out the conditions of working together. If it’s agreeable we send an invoice and get to work. The selling process really isn’t a big deal if you have the right inbound and content marketing strategies in place.
What are some of the more common concerns that you encounter in the sales process?
Retail store buyers want to envision how the product you’re pitching will sell in their store. If you’re pitching to a big retail buyer you should definitely have marketing and display plan put together. Wholesalers who work with us sometimes don’t have a timeline concept for the amount of time it takes to put together wholesale to retail deals, so they’re anxious to get orders quickly when it often doesn’t happen so fast.
How do you handle those issues?
We bring the retailer on board and show them how buying from us is the next logical step to move their business forward in the “big picture” that we’ve painted together. They can’t get the big picture we’ve put together for them without taking the next logical step, so it’s a no-brainer.
What do you feel is the hardest part of the sales process?
The hardest part of selling is speaking directly to your prospect in the language that resonates with them personally. You overcome this by listening to them first as much as humanly possible.
If you can narrow it down to just one, what was your most satisfying selling experience?
My most satisfying experiences usually come in the validation stages. Since we make a lot of our own products, there’s tons of testing and validating always going on behind the scenes. It’s always satisfying when something works.
Has the selling environment changed in your market?
Retailers can go to websites like Alibaba and cut out the middleman now. A lot of buyers are going online.
How do you keep yourself updated on the changes in your industry and product line?
Industry publications, Facebook groups, newsletters, trade shows, and just practicing in the field myself every single week.
Perhaps even more important than industry savvy is personal maintenance. So, how do you keep yourself motivated, Scot?
I stay motivated by reminding myself why I do what I do. There are too many entrepreneurs out there that need our help. If I gave up I would be letting them down too. Behind every great man is a greater woman, I owe a lot to my beautiful and amazingly supportive wife Mallory. I probably would have given up a long time ago if it wasn’t for her support and encouragement.
“Go the extra mile” is the response I got recently when asking this question. I get variants of that response regularly from great sales professionals. Do you have any advice or a last-add to close on?
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Sir John Templeton: “Never forget: the secret of creating riches for oneself is to create them for others.”
To read more of the Sales Executive Interview series visit: SalesFish Telemarketing Services Blog
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