Archive for the ‘Outsourced Sales’ Category

April, My Favorite Month of the Year
April 7, 2011

April is my favorite month of the year. Spring is finally in the air (and hopefully the snow is finished for Chicago), baseball season has started, we’ve had our first softball practice of the spring, and there are two very important birthdays coming up: mine and Randolph Sterling, Inc.’s.

My long time friends will tell you that I generally begin celebrating my birthday sometime around April 1 (even though it is not until the 25th) so as much as I act like a 5 year old when it comes to my own birthday, I think I am even more excited about the company’s birthday.

On April 22, 2003, I officially incorporated Randolph Sterling, Inc. Back then, it was just me and an idea that I could help some local Chicagoland companies by acting as a part time sales manager, although I had always had the idea that I could grow the company into something more than that, which is one of the reasons why the company is named Randolph Sterling, Inc. and not Rich Burghgraef Incorporated (although as a baseball fan, I guess I could have called us RBI).

Our goal has always been to help our clients grow. Over the years, we have added additional people, additional offices, and additional services to be able to help more companies in more ways. We still provide sales management services which include the work I originally did when the company first started out, but we now do so much more including:

Thank you to our clients, friends, and supporters for eight great years, we look forward to many many more helping you grow because right from the beginning one thing has remained constant—YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR BUSINESS!

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Happy Birthday to Randolph Sterling!
April 22, 2010

Seven years ago today, April 22, 2003, the papers were approved and Randolph Sterling, Inc. was born. In some ways it seems like yesterday while in others, it seems like a million years ago!

I started the company because I thought we could do something different, something better than I saw out on the market. Sure there were tons of sales training companies out there, but that wasn’t what we strove to be. Our goal was to provide real time assistance to the people who were sitting right on the front lines of a company’s success. We started out as a “sales consulting company” and went through the typical growing pains that any small company went through. We defined ourselves by what we thought the market wanted (in comparison with the skills I, who at the time was the only employee, brought to the table) found our first clients and first “big” client to prove that we did know what we were doing, just a little bit! Next came our first big disappointment when I walked into our biggest client at the time to pick up payment of a few invoices and I was greeted with “Yeah…we’re not going to pay you!” As I later learned, if you talk to any entrepreneur, 99% of them will tell you a similar story—although it still burns me that I could have stayed home watching daytime TV for six months and had been in a better financial situation than I was by working with this client!

It is a lesson we all live and learn…the true strength of a man is measured not in his level of success, but how he handles things when they go wrong.

I learned from that experience and along the way, we found new and different ways to help our clients. The original “sales consulting” has grown into our outsourced sales management department, where we will help growing companies with their overall sales process. Our ideal clients are ones that are growing and need to keep up with their growth. We help them by not only working with them to provide a plan, but also in implementing that plan.

We then started our outsourced sales department when we noticed that many of our clients had the same problem…their salespeople were victims of their own success. That is they got to a point where the bulk of their day was spent working with current clients and growing current business, causing the task of developing new relationships to take a back seat. There was a tremendous need for professional inside salespeople to work with them to develop those new relationships for them with the right prospects.

Finally, we developed our SAM Peer Advisory Groups. So many times a CEO will have his advisory board where he will discuss operational issues and the overall vision of the company, but very seldom do the salespeople—the people directly responsible for the growth of the company—have this same opportunity to learn from their peers.

Seven years from the start and we are still looking for new ways to continue to help our target market grow. But let’s face it, the life of an entrepreneur isn’t always 100% fun. To endure the 12-14 hour days, wondering if I could be making more money working these same hours as a Wal-Mart greeter or at least thinking that I would have half as much to do if I “just sold for someone else.”

OK, truth be known, when I think these things, it is usually my ex-wife’s voice I hear saying them…I wonder why 🙂

Anyway, you have to have a little fun along the way. One of my goals each year is to make sure that I do certain things that I would not have had a chance to do if I was not CEO of Randolph Sterling, Inc. Some of them have included:

  • Getting paid to go on a cruise
  • Playing golf with former major league baseball player Tony Womack
  • Co-hosting a small business radio talk show on an Atlanta radio station (that was simulcast over the Internet all around the world)
  • Writing a book—“Closing the Deal,” available on Amazon and at other fine retailers!
  • Meeting Miss North Carolina
  • Getting paid to ride the Spiderman ride at Universal Studios
  • In one day, being a resident sales expert for a plumbing company, used equipment manufacturer, accounting firm, marketing firm, and event planner…and that was just a normal Wednesday
  • Having the opportunity to work with some of the greatest minds and best people I have ever had a chance to meet

Thank you to all of the people who have made the past seven years possible, from our fantastic staff to our business partners to our referral partners to our clients. You have made every day great and I can’t thank you enough for all helping to make the dream I had as a high school kid a reality.

…now let’s see what the next 7 years brings us!

You Don’t Have to be a Basketball Superpower to be Successful
March 24, 2010

Well, it’s that time of year again.  March Madness, to many sports fans, is the best season of them all.  Numerous games over a three week period, every game means something, loser leaves town, the highest high and the lowest low, and players shedding tears, some for joy, most for sorrow.  If you like sports, it’s hard not to get a lot of enjoyment out of the tournament.

Everyone has their favorite team, but I always enjoy watching a mid size school, where kids go to get an education, beating one of the powerhouses.  If your favorite team is Kentucky, Kansas (too bad), or Duke (which is mine), you know that they are going to have a pretty good year and be in the tournament.  But imagine what it is like to be a Cornell or a Northern Iowa fan.  The excitement because not only are they are there, but they are winning games.  My daughter was in Iowa over the weekend and she said the whole state is going crazy.  All you heard about was Northern Iowa.

Now, you may be asking yourself where am I going with this?  How does this relate to business?  Go with me on this…..

These other schools are proving that you don’t have to be a basketball superpower to be successful.  These smaller schools may not have the biggest recruiting budget or the best facilities in the world or are able to attract a player that only plans on being in school for one year before moving on to the NBA.  Yet, the Cornell’s of the world can be successful.  Maybe you have to think a little more and do things in a smaller scale, but do it right and you can come out on top.

Not every company can be AT&T, Shell Oil, or Microsoft.  These are the powerhouses.  Most companies are like Cornell and Northern Iowa.  They may not have the largest budgets or the newest manufacturing facility or office building, but they can certainly compete with the big boys, even beating them from time to time.  It may not be easy, but it is done every day.  Take a good product/service, team it with a modest budget, good management from the top and a top effort by the employees and you have yourself a winner.

I have found that to be successful you have to think that way.  Just because you are a smaller company doesn’t mean that you don’t do things the right way.  Your marketing, product, approach all have to be first class.  The difference might be that you don’t do as much as the AT&T’s of the world.  Cut back on quantity, not quality.  That goes from the product, to the packaging, to how we interact with our customers.

How do you interact with your current and potential customers?  I don’t mean your top 10 customers, but all of the others.   Do you interact with them as much as you should?  The Pfizer Pharmaceuticals of the world have two sales forces that call on the same doctor, just to get that much more selling time with the physicians.  I don’t know too many companies that can do that.

If your sales force is you, if it is small, if it is too busy to meet new clients, if you don’t really know what your sales people are doing, you may need a little assistance in getting in front of your customers and potential clients as often as you should.  Many companies are now outsourcing in a number of departments.  You can outsource your HR department.  I know of companies that don’t even touch the product they sell.  The manufacturing, packaging and shipping are all outsourced.  That goes for your sales efforts as well.  At Randolph Sterling, we can be the added sales force, interacting with your potential customers that you don’t have the time to see.  We can relieve you of the stress of doing lead generation.  We will report to you exactly what we do each week so you would know exactly what is going on.

If you have sales people with little guidance, we offer our sales management services as well.

You may not be Kentucky, or Duke or Kansas.  Few of us are.  However, if your goal is to become a Cornell or St. Mary’s, we can certainly assist your company in reaching that level.