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Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Inc. | Southfield, Michigan

Sales Tactics

It was now 4:30 on Friday afternoon, and it was the last day of the month. Tim had been trying to close the sale for the past two hours. If he closed, he’d not only meet his monthly quota, but earn a bonus. Tim was under a lot of pressure.

“This is a waste of time.” Exclaimed Greg late Wednesday afternoon.

I don’t think he was talking to anyone in particular, but I just happened to be in the office at the time.

He looked up to find me staring at him.

“Oh,” he said, “I thought everyone had gone. Trying to get referrals is a waste of time. I’ve been on the phone the past two days and you want to know just how successful this has been?”

I nodded “yes,” not quite sure that I really wanted to know.

“Well, I’ve gotten two. Two lousy referrals after calling every last customer I have. I was supposed to get 20 referrals. What a gigantic waste of time this has been. I suppose you did better.”

Now that was the last question I wanted to answer. I had. Out of the goal of 20, I had gotten 14. Needless to say, telling Greg this only added to his frustration.

“How did you do it?” he wanted to know.

I was going to suggest a couple of things for him to try but before I could, he continued.

Nick was having a real string of successful closes. The experienced salespeople were jealous. But then Nick started having a problem.

The last three sales were canceled within days of being made. In one instance, the color was all wrong. In another, the customer said that she couldn’t wait two weeks. Finally, although the quality of the product was first rate, the customer decided she couldn’t afford it. In every instance, none of the folks wanted to have any further discussion – the orders were canceled. Period.

Nick decided that he really needed to attend the company sales training program.

Later that same day, a young couple came in and chose the highest- quality and most expensive product in the store.

“This is the one we want. We’ll order it now.”

As Nick was writing up he order, he stopped and stared at the couple. He could not believe the words coming out of his mouth.

“I hope you don’t change your mind, but let me ask you something. When you first came in, you were looking for a moderately priced item, and you’ve selected the most expensive item in the store. Are you sure you really want to do this?”

“You’re right,” replied the woman, “I’d probably think that tomorrow, but looking at it now, I know the price is worth it. Yes. We want it. No doubts.”

Tim ignored three chances handed to him by the prospect that would have led to the prospect believing that what he said matter. The prospect was in pain, Tim ignored the pain, and now the prospect is going to ignore Tim.

Despite what customers and prospects say, they buy from you to get rid of some pain that either is present or will be present without your product/services. They do not buy the product/service because you are a wonderful person. Of course, this does not mean that you should be anything less than wonderful. The point is that your customers and prospects can buy when you are selling from any number of other vendors at any time. So why do they buy from you?

Nick was climbing the wall because he could not figure out how to close the prospect. The prospect had spent the last hour with Nick and appeared to want to buy. But he didn’t know what to do. If only he could remember what the experienced salespeople had told him to do.

"I really like this model,” she said, “it will fit in perfectly with my décor.”

Almost every salesperson in the world has some method of keeping track of appointments; most often it’s a calendar app of some sort or another. And, while it should come as no surprise, so do most people who make appointments with sales people. Fortunately, Nick was reminded of this by his prospect.

Nick had cold-called Mary and had gotten through the secretarial screen. But Nick was having a problem with Mary. He wanted to make an appointment to see her but wasn’t sure how to go about it.

Whenever I think about my first days in sales, I always remember my second sales meeting. The meeting began with the usual pep talk by the management. If you have attempted more than two sales meetings in your life, you know exactly what was said. “Sales are good…but they could be better. Our competition has a new product, but we can sell around it.” And so on for the next 30 minutes.

Jim knew his product information and enjoyed prospects who asked a lot of questions. In fact, he thought, the more questions they ask, the better. An in-depth answer for every question.

“Excuse me,” a male voice asked from behind him.

Jim turned to find Mike Swaing, a prospect who had been in for five visits and had not yet bought anything.

“Hey, Mike, good to see you again,” said Jim, offering his hand for a firm handshake. “What questions do you need answered…I’ve got the rest of the day for you.”

Nick knew that the prospect was close to making a buying decision. Her eyes darted back and forth between her left hand and the window looking out into the parking lot. Just a little more pushing and he knew she’d close.
“If you decide to buy today, I think I can talk the sales manager into an additional amount off.”
Good, he thought, she’s looking at me now instead of the parking lot. I’m not going to let her get away.
“Oh,” she asked, “how much off?”

Nick had just been hired and as of yet, had not been sent out to the sales training seminars. If it were not for the fact that two of the salespeople called in sick, Nick would never have been on the floor. But there he was, with only the most basic information about the products he was supposed to sell.

“Hi,” said the prospect coming up to Nick, “I’m interested in the grey one over there.”