After a recent seminar, I was approached by one of the attendees. Normally, people will come up and tell me what a great time they had or how much of an impact I made. But this time, a seasoned sales veteran named TJ Carr smiled at me and said, “I have two things to add to your repertoire of ideas.”
With a sparkle in his eye he said, “For years I’ve told my prospects if you want to save money, you’re probably better off going someplace else. But if you want to make money, then I’m your best bet.”
Wow, what a cool thought.
For years I’ve been refining the concept of giving value first and talking about profit and productivity rather than price in order to create a buying atmosphere. Along comes TJ Carr, and he adds yet another dimension to that sales concept. It was simple and powerful.
Still smiling, TJ said, “Over the years I’ve found when the customer says ‘yes,’ there’s not much need for a salesperson. It’s only when the customer says ‘no’ that a salesperson begins to earn his money.”
Cool concept, I thought.
Another sales gem is: They don’t buy what it is; they buy what it does. Convert all your is statements to does statements and your sales will soar.
Here’s a gem I’ve been thinking about: It’s not the bank; it’s the banker. The reason this statement is so powerful is that it points out, yet again, that the salesperson (in most instances) is more powerful than the company he or she works for.
I’ve been banking with the same bank for 15 years. I love my bank, so if my banker called to tell me he was switching banks and asked if he could take my business with him, the answer would be yes.
It’s true that my bank has helped me and has financed me, but it has been through the efforts of the banker. The human element of person-to-person played a major role in building my relationship with the bank.
It’s not the bank; it’s the banker is also the basis behind every noncompete contract in America — if not the world. The reason for this contract? Companies are paranoid that when their salespeople leave, the salespeople will take their existing customer base with them. I daresay that if you’ve been in sales, or have worked for a big company for some time, that you’ve signed a contract that includes a noncompete clause.
And how about those statements that are partially true? For example, most companies think their people set them apart. That’s partially true. It’s their friendly people. Think of how good you feel when you’re in a transaction with a company and the person on the other end is friendly. Somehow friendly automatically leads to helpful, while unfriendly seems to lean toward “policy.”
A few weeks back I wrote “It costs no more to be friendly.” That’s a pretty profound statement when you consider how many companies employ people who are not friendly. Friendliness, or the lack thereof, is typically the result of internal circumstances: bad boss, poor internal communication, negative policies, poor work environment — you get my drift. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
And finally, I’d like you to consider one simple phrase that can change your entire selling process, including your focus during a sales appointment. In fact, this statement is so powerful, that if used properly, you can double your sales in less than 30 days.
The concept is: “It’s not the close; it’s the open.”
The way you open the sale, the way you initially engage the prospect, the way you create rapport, the way you communicate, and the way you transfer your message, predetermine your fate at the end of that meeting.
Salespeople are always asking me how to close sales. Never in the same context have I been asked how to open sales. Now that I’ve explained the open, doesn’t it seem logical that if you have an incredible opening, it will lead to a sale faster than all of your closing techniques?
Do you think closing techniques actually work? Would they work on you? Ever go to a car dealership? They’re using the A-B-C method of “always be closing.” What the heck does that mean? Shouldn’t it be “always be engaging”? “Always be providing value”? “Always be friendly”?
How do you feel when you go into a car dealership? Always be on guard? Always be leery? Always be prepared with the Internet research you did the night before? There’s good and bad in these sales concepts and sales strategies. As the salesperson, you have to determine which feel comfortable to you. Just because someone tells you about sales, doesn’t mean it’s true. If you’re looking for guidance, pick up Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and adopt the underlying theme of the book: Be yourself.
What kind of sales ideas, strategies or gems do you live by? What concepts have you been carrying around for years that others would be inspired by (other than your competition, of course)? I’ll guarantee that everyone reading this has one or two sales gems that would help everybody else get better, and I’m asking you for them right now.
E-mail me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and put SALES GEM in the subject line. Look for the list in a future column.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail