Pick up the phone to make your quarterly number

I had my first sales role in Stavanger in Norway in 1996. We were selling high-end graphical software to Oil and Gas companies.

There were three salespeople in the team, all new to sales, reporting to the Norway country and sales manager Lars Wiborg. Lars was Swedish and a larger than life character, life of the party (and instigator of a great many of those parties).

It was end of quarter and Lars called us all into his office with its magnificent views across Stavanger harbour to the Lysefiord in the distance. As we sat around his meeting table Lars explained that he was going on vacation and needed to know how we were progressing against our quarterly sales targets.


"Mike, what have you got? "


"Not much, it looks like Amoco will drag to next quarter, Shell already purchased last quarter, I'm not going to make my target"




"Conoco won't be buying this month and I don't have any other prospects that will close this quarter"




"Same story, I've got nothing"

Silence and a dark look from Lars. He then reached for the telephone in the middle of the table, started an animated call in Norwegian.

After a few minutes ...


" Ok, Five Charisma 3D licenses and and two 2D licenses for Statoil

Rings again, more animated and jovial discussion in Norwegian.


"Three Stratlog licenses and a Charisma Data Loader for Norsk Hydro. How much does that make?"


Yes we got the number but don't stop now! Stay on the phone and we can get our annual target.

It was a fascinating lesson. There was a reason that Lars had us all in his office to observe that performance. Sometimes you can (and must) ask for the business. At that stage none of us had developed the necessary level of customer relationship but we also would not have thought to just pick up the phone and ask.



: Schlumberger


: Mike Adams experience



Story Type

: Teaching


For Story Students

The Setting

: 1996, Stavanger Norway

The Complications

: Sales Manager was taking vacation but there were no orders for the quarter

The Turning Point

: Lars called his major customers and requested and received some orders

The Resolution

: The quarterly number was achieved

The Point of the Story

: The quarterly number was achieved

How to use this story

: When teaching sales people about making the number adn asking for the business