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Closing the deal

After submitting a lead, the work just begins

Rio Grande District Business Development Specialist John Beal helps USPS turn employee leads into sales.

John Beal knows the key to signing new business for the Postal Service: understanding what customers want and need.

Beal, a business development specialist for Southern Area’s Rio Grande District, works on a team that receives sales leads submitted by postal workers through programs like Clerks Care, Customer Connect and Rural Reach.

After a lead is submitted, it is vetted to see if it should be handled by the field sales team or a local business development specialist like Beal.

“If it comes to me, that means it’s a strong lead and it’s time to contact the customer. We have 24 hours to call and offer assistance,” he said.

Employee leads are increasingly important to USPS, which is working to attract new business customers and grow revenue.

In 2020, the organization is conducting Race for a $Billion, an initiative that aims to raise $1 billion through employee-provided sales leads before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

“The Postal Service relies on employees to be its eyes and ears in the community and identify sales leads that can help us grow our business. But we also rely on our sales workforce, including business development specialists like John Beal, to help us close those deals,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

Once Beal contacts a prospect, he tries to find out how the Postal Service can help.

“I tell them that I’m here to help with their shipping, advertising and mailing services,” he said. “Some people think I just want to sell something to make a bonus. I tell them I work for USPS and my job is to sell you what you need — not just any product.”

He added: “It’s a great icebreaker and they then begin to listen closely.”

The sales approach depends on the type of business, whether the customer has checked competitors’ prices, specific shipping needs and anticipated weekly or monthly volume.

Beal typically signs customers whose shipments will bring in as much as $50,000 in new USPS revenue.

“If it’s above $50,000, we normally send it to Sales, which may do more research and onboarding to sell the account,” he said. “If it’s someone who needs a shipping solution right away, however, I will go ahead and sell it.”

Beal recently signed the owner of a new fashion line who anticipated shipping 50 pairs of shoes a week.

“She had 28 pairs of shoes waiting to be shipped,” he said. “I told her how she could start saving time and money right away by using one of our third-party approved vendors for her postage and shipping label services.”

Beal — who has worked for USPS for 31 years, including six in his current role — relies on employee-submitted leads to do his job and provide recognition to those who help bring in revenue.

“Our job is to ensure that leadership is engaged and supports us, and that all employees know about the programs and how they can find leads to bring revenue to the Postal Service,” he said.