Philie Group Blog

A Resilient Sales Rep
By Mike Philie

Why are you in sales? No, this isn’t a trick question, why are you in sales? I know, you like to help people right? Or is it about the money you can make or perhaps the freedom of not being tethered to a desk or operating a machine? For every sales rep there’s a slightly different answer to this simple, straight forward question. As you’ve chosen a career in sales, selling during a health crisis can certainly make you second guess the choices you’ve made. As difficult as it can be, good sales reps are resilient, are gritty, and somehow find ways to make the best of virtually any situation, including this one. What’s different about the top performers and how do they stand out from the others?


Believe in what you do

These folks are believers. They embrace their company and the team that supports them. These reps believe in the products and services they sell and they believe in themselves. Top performers get that rush from earning the “at-bats” and the wins but also know that they shouldn’t stop selling internally as they work with their support teams. They are driven not only by being in the game, but by leading the pack. Through their success, new opportunities are created.


Top performers are great story tellers

They have the uncanny ability to ask great questions that unveil strategic opportunities for their company. They are confidently able to explain how their company is uniquely qualified to help resolve the customer’s situation. And, they do it all in a casual, non-threatening tone that makes it seem like two old friends having a conversation.


How well do you tell your story? No matter how long you’ve been selling, you can always work at improving your game. There are many important parts to telling a good story. Of course there’s the content, and how well you can weave it into areas that matter for your audience. Then it’s how you present it—your tone, the pace of your speech, and how you add a timely “pause” throughout the story. Also, don’t forget to listen for clues along the way. Lastly, don’t forget to observe body language—yours and theirs.


What do you bring to the table?

There are plenty of reps selling printing. There aren’t that many business people who happen to sell print. This difference can impact margins, revenue, access to influencers and where you sit at the table. Take an objective view of the business contribution you make to your clients’ success. For example, if you provide data driven campaigns that include response data and analytics, you probably have access to some hard numbers and can provide an ROI and business case. What if you provide print and print related services that don’t include any data? How do you know what the impact is vs. your competition? Ask your clients! Their feedback, particularly, what have they been able to achieve through working with you that they might not have by working with another firm can help you in many ways. These can be informal conversations, all the way through using a survey tool to calculate how likely they are to recommend you. The answers you get may not always be as clear cut as you’d like, but there will be some home runs in the mix. Learn from them.


There’s no magic

There are no shortcuts here. It’s about putting in the time, and doing the work. Work harder today to be better than you were yesterday. It’s about not taking no for an answer. Be resilient, be gritty. Have good street smarts as well as being able to think strategically. Wake up every day wanting to be the best at what you do. That’s how winners win, and how top performing sales reps continually lead the pack.


If you’re looking to improve your success, it begins by asking yourself why you do what you do — why are you in sales. The easier it is to answer this question, the easier it will be to begin getting better at what you do. Make a commitment to learning something new — read a book, listen to a podcast, or find a coach or mentor to work with. Create your 30-60-90 day goals of the things you’ll do to either become, or remain, a top performer. Take a positive step towards propelling yourself to the lead lap.


If you’re working on these things now or have tried in the past, let me know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for you. Maybe I can shed a little light on your efforts and provide some feedback to you. Good luck and stay at it.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at


This blog originally published in Printing Impressions



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