April Showers Bring May Flowers
May 11, 2011

As they say, April showers bring May flowers. That always reminds me of when I first started selling right out of college. I worked for a company that expected their salespeople to literally walk the streets and cold call companies. My favorite days were the rainy ones because there were fewer people out there knocking on doors, so there was a better chance of me actually seeing a decision maker. It also helped that as a kid in my early 20s walking in with a wet overcoat on, many a receptionist took pity on me and helped me to see a decision maker—heck, whatever helps get you in the door!

You don’t see as many salespeople canvassing industrial parks anymore. It is an art that has lost favor in lieu of the phone, email and social media. It does remind us however, that no matter how you find that new prospect, you do need to continue to cultivate the relationship and allow it to grow much like the April rain that helps the flowers to grow and bloom in May.

What have you been doing to help cultivate and bloom your own flowers (or prized accounts?)

Don’t worry, we can help you. Whether it is reaching out to the prospects that your sales team just never seems to have time to reach, following up with prospects from a trade show that your team went to, or covering an open territory while a sales rep is being hired, we can work with you to cultivate those relationships that will give you the flower garden you always wanted.

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!

The Luck of the Irish or the Luck of Having Lisa Pickens
March 9, 2011

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner I tend to hear a lot this time of year about “The Luck Of The Irish!” I never thought that it was the 1/4 of me that is Irish that made me particularly lucky, and not specifically during March. I had thought it was hard and smart work.

Trust me, I have had my share of good luck as well as bad. One of the strokes of good luck for Randolph Sterling was hiring our inside sales manager, Lisa Pickens almost 6 years ago. Lisa is an incredibly valuable member of the team who not only does a fantastic job with the clients she works with directly, but has also helped us to find some other very talented members of our team, as well as manage them so they continue to grow.

The running joke in the office is that no matter what opportunity comes up, Lisa has experience in that industry. Between having a varied work experience before joining Randolph Sterling (ask her one day about her days as a professional billiards player) and having the opportunity to work on so many projects for us over the past 6 years, she brings so much to the table both for the team at Randolph Sterling and for our clients.

Lisa has been so successful in working with clients that many times she is requested specifically to work on their project. Unfortunately, she can only work so many hours in a day so we can’t always accommodate that request. The bright side of that is that Lisa is also an accomplished manager and has done a fantastic job in showing the rest of the staff the “Randolph Sterling Way.” We found this to be just as effective and a lot less expensive than investing in human cloning!

Big Whale Accounts Are Great, But Developing Relationships with Referral Sources Can pay the Bills
March 7, 2011

When you work in sales one of your primary goals is to get big accounts and yearly contracts: “the big whale accounts.” However, it is also important to keep an eye open for smaller, regular, everyday opportunities because many times these are the ones that pay the bills.

While working as part of Randolph Sterling’s outsourced inside sales team for a plumbing company, I was having a slow day searching for prospects in all the usual places one would think of for that industry. But then I came up with this idea of calling insurance offices and trying to get our client’s number and information on their recommended vendor lists.

At first, I wasn’t even sure insurance offices kept such lists, so I called my own insurance company, asking for a referral for plumbing companies, just to see how it worked, or if they even gave referrals. Sure enough, they did. While on the phone, I asked to see how they got those numbers and why they recommended them. Most of them came through referrals and good customer feedback. They then even offered to send me an email with a list of good plumbing companies in my area.

The next step was to begin working to get our client onto the referral lists of the insurance offices in their area. Now, no, getting our client onto these lists is admittedly not the same as winning the big account or yearly contract, but when you do work that people need to have done every day, you cannot deny the value of having your name and contact information being given out by the those first contacted by the people who need your help. These insurance agents get to provide an even better service for their clients by researching and recommending service providers, thus differentiating them from their competitors who don’t do more than just collect premiums every year. Our client gets another sales team (in addition to us, of course) who is keeping their name top of mind when people need them.

It may not be “the big whale account,” but developing relationships with strong referral sources can definitely positively assist your bottom line.