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In sales, confidence is half the battle

Bill Lee sales & operations

In the game of golf, like so many other sports, players who have a feeling of confidence that they can hit the ball where they are aiming, chip the ball close to the hole, or make a difficult putt are more likely to be successful than the players who are scared half to death their ball is going to end up in the middle of a water hazard. The same is true in the profession of sales.

Believing in yourself and having confidence that you are in control of the direction of your sales call has a way of removing the butterflies from your stomach.

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Before I make a sales call, especially before I call on a large prospect, I pull my car into a safe parking spot and make some notes that I believe will give me the confidence I need when I walk into the prospect’s office. Below is a sample of the kinds of in-depth notes that I recommend my clients make.

Reputation: I know my company has a good reputation for our ability to service builders the size of my prospect. Our yard foreman and dispatcher are both highly competent and have an excellent track record of getting material to our customer’s jobs by the time they are promised.

Sales volume: Our company’s sales have grown from $8.2 million when we opened our doors in 1983 to over $70 million. We have enjoyed this level of sales growth largely because our customer service has earned us a highly loyal client base. We could not have grown at this rate if our prices were out of line. We do high volume every month because our prices are competitive, and our service is dependable.

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Quality: Our delivery equipment is relatively new and well-maintained. We have experienced CDL drivers who are well-trained in how to operate our delivery vehicles. Year-to-date in 2021, we have achieved a 91% fill rate and 94% on-time delivery. We also operate three non CDL trucks that our inside salespeople drive to make emergency deliveries.

Purchasing: Our buyers have been with our company long enough to know our customers and the mills they prefer their material to come from. They also know the market and make it their business to be aware of what is going on, both at the mill level and locally. Our goal is to buy at or below the market, but never to the detriment of quality.

Sales service: I have personally been with this company for 13 years and I am the company’s second highest producing salesperson. I have had the company’s highest customer retention rate for the past six years. My sales coordinator and I have worked together as a team for the past eight years. Our sales team has averaged a 96.7% customer satisfaction level for the past six years, the period of time we have measured customer satisfaction.

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Efficiency: We operate an online sales system that includes inventory, accounts receivable, and all transactions backed up with customer access 24/7.

I am available via my cellphone from 6:15 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. If I am in a meeting or on the telephone with another customer, my sales coordinator or I return calls in an average of 26 minutes.

I bring these notes to our meeting to make sure I document the key advantages we believe we are in a position to provide our customer base.

Bill Lee is a respected sales and business consultant in the LBM industry. For more information, contact Bill at

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