Salespeople who work their way up the chain of command at a customer's company may have to field increasingly harder questions about specific capabilities. "We said we were experts, but we weren't," admits Tom Patrevito, co-owner of Booklet Binding, in Broadview, Ill. His solution: Have salespeople give team presentations in front of peers and in-house experts. Salespeople at Booklet Binding teamed up and spent eight weeks becoming experts in a topic area--saddle stitching, perfect binding, mailing, cutting, customer service, scheduling, estimating, and so on--then prepared a two- to three-hour presentation, complete with handouts.

One team created a takeoff on Reader's Digest, teaching about customer service under such familiar headings as "Laughter, the Best Medicine" and "Points to Ponder." A group studying pricing came up with a Jeopardy-style game. The program, which lasted over the course of a year, helped bring the sales representatives--who work on individual commission--together with other employees in the company. In addition, several sales reps have been invited to customers' sites to lecture on such topics as label personalization and postage tactics.

Copyright 1998 G+J USA Publishing