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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019 The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same When I first heard that the theme for this issue was successful sales strategies, my ini- tial thought was, "Nice! Writing this column should be a piece of cake." After all, I have been in sales in this industry for most of my ca- reer, so I should have an opinion or two about successful sales strategies. But as I started to think this through it in more detail, I realized that a successful sales strategy in this industry can be defined in ma- ny different ways. To some, both sales- people and the fab- ricators they sell for, transactional sales and the thrill of chas- ing that next hot pro- totype order is their definition of success. The higher the num- ber of new customers, the better. To others, doing a deep dive into a customer's business and building a long- term sales model is considered successful. I have an opinion on which method I find most successful, but it is just that—an opinion. I am fortunate to know many highly skilled, successful salespeople in our industry. I thought it would be interesting to reach out and ask them for their best advice and thoughts on what strategies they have found to be most successful. Here a few of the com- ments I received. Strategy #1 "There are no problems—only opportunities. All suppliers occasionally make a mistake, and how you deal with it separates the 'men from the boys.' If a customer receives bad boards, jump in the car, meet the customer, and let them know how con- cerned you are and what you are going to do to get it fixed. Don't hide from the problem; face it." I happen to know this advice was given about 25 years ago, and still holds true today. Some of the strongest relationships built come from fac- ing a difficult situation and working through it together. Strategy #2 "When you are meeting customers and ex- hibiting at a trade show, give every impres- sion that this is important to you and you are excited to be there. Dress in something nicer than your everyday business attire; this is a special occasion. Make direct eye contact, say hello, and ask genuine questions. Engage the Flex Talk by Tara Dunn, OMNI PCB

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