Sales advice 101

I’D rather have no advice than bad advice. I can’t help it. I read some bad sales advice today and gotta say something. I’ll try to keep it positive, but my tongue is already bleeding from biting it. The title read: When sales calls stall. Every salesperson has experienced that barrier in one form or another, so I wondered what this ‘expert’ had to say. Note well: I try not to read current sales material because I don’t want to copy or be accused of copying someone else’s work or ideas. It started with the usual sales dialog; You have a meeting with a prospective customer. They’re hot, hot, hot, for your product or service. They ask for a proposal. You quickly oblige. A week later, you call the hot customer. And they have evaporated and won’t return your calls or emails. What to do? Get ready – here comes this guy’s expert advice. He recommends every manipulative “sales technique”, from implying urgency, to getting creative (whatever that means) to using intrigue to connect. He advises to be prepared like a boy scout, appeal to a higher authority, assume all is well and they are just busy, and a bunch of sales talk mumbo jumbo that any seasoned executive would smell like a skunk that hasn’t bathed, and laugh at you. This is why that approach will never work. First: The prospect is not returning your calls for a reason. Wouldn’t it be important to find out why? If you could discover that, it would help your next 1,000 sales calls. Second: Why did you ever offer a proposal without making a firm face-to-face follow-on sales appointment in the first place? This is one of the most powerful – yet mostly lost – elements of the sales cycle. Third: Stop trying to sell. Stop trying to be cute. Fourth: For goodness sake, stop trying to butter up the assistant. Assistants are loyal to their employers, not you. Fifth: The salesperson (not you, of course) did a lousy job in the presentation, left some holes, never discovered the prospects motive to purchase, was subjected (relegated) to a proposal/bidding process, never followed relationship-based strategies, and was too hungry for the sale and the commission than to uncover what will build a relationship. You didn’t connect – you didn’t engage. Why are you blaming the prospect for not calling you? Why don’t you take responsibility for doing a poor job and take a lesson. Not a sales lesson, a relationship lesson. Five-point-five: Their daddy decides, and you never met daddy, let alone know who he is. Someone else higher up told your prospect ‘no’, and your prospect is embarrassed, or doesn’t care to tell you. Sales reality check: In sales you have one chance. One chance to engage, one chance to build rapport, one chance to connect, one chance to be believable, one chance to be trustworthy, and one chance to meet with the real decision maker. Bad news: If you miss your chance, or blow your chance, recovery chances are slim. OK, none. Not being able to reconnect with a prospect is not a problem. It’s a symptom. Good news: Lost sales and sales gone wrong are the best places to learn. Better news: If you make a firm commitment to meet a few days later – not by phone – to meet face-to-face, you have a better chance of discovering the truth. Best news: Once you get to truth, you have a chance at sale. Or better stated, you will have created the atmosphere where someone wants to buy from you. Sales techniques are increasingly becoming passé. So are the people who stress using them, rather than emphasising the softer side. If you have lost a connection, or if a hot prospect evaporates, or refuses to call you back or respond to you, the worst thing you can do is try a sales technique. Why don’t you try something new? Try being honest. No, not with the customer – with yourself. Want more on how to connect instead of how to sell? Go to, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the word CONNECT in the GitBit box. By: Jeffrey Gitomer

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