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Can you engage the prospect? Can you involve the prospect?

After a bout of listening to a successful New York City copier salesman (see last week’s column), I began to offer up a few ideas that might convert his “selling” to the prospect’s “buying.”

Keep in mind, this guy is selling copiers door-to-door — a tough sale to say the least. You’ve all seen these salespeople. Pushy, trying too hard, begging for a “demo,” asking all the wrong questions, and trying to make their “quota.” Selling. So wrong.

Here is the rest of the interview between the copier salesman (CS) and me (JG). This is my response to the way I think the sales presentation should go. (You can decide for yourself.)

JG: Instead of employing the copier salesman’s opening questions that might not be perceived as sincere (his opener was about their kids or how they got their job — to a total stranger), I would sit down with a prospect and engage him or her with a thought-provoking question. I would ask the prospect a “think” question first — one like, “How does the office machinery that you presently have impact your office productivity and morale?”

Then I would ask, “When your copier goes down, what happens?” I would follow with, “What do you wish would happen?” Then I would take out five pieces of paper that were specifically designed for reproduction and ask, “Before we get started, could you make me a few copies?”

That would allow me to go into the copy room. I don’t have to ask what kind of copy machine they’ve got, I can see it. I can see how old it is. I can see how many copies are on it. I can see what happens in the copy room. I can see what their productivity process is like. I can see everything. From a sales perspective, this is way better than looking at their fishing trophy.

If I see a pile of paper in the trash can, I am going to ask how often they empty the trash can, and then ask how much it costs, how much of people’s time is involved making copies, how long the toner lasts — and try to create their own reality with them.

I can be at the heart of the sale in less than five minutes, and you’re still in the front office asking “Who are you using…?”

Then I would ask, “Can we sit in your office for a couple of minutes and shoot the breeze?”

I’m more in control of the sale because I know what they’re doing, and I know how they’re doing it. Once inside their office I say, “Let me show you the five copies that you just made, and let me show you the same five copies that I made on one of the (insert brand name) copiers that I have. Let’s compare and see which look better or see if you can tell which are yours.” I may make the sale on the spot, but even if I don’t, this dialogue is going to allow me to follow up in a way that will have this person taking my next call. I have engaged the prospect in a manner that makes me look like I know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about.

NOTE WELL: If I’m a builder sending out bids and quotes or a lawyer sending out contracts, I send out lots of copies. So two things are certain:

1. I’m not in the copier business.

2. I need a copier expert to rely on. I don’t know the first thing about copiers. I don’t want to be an expert on copiers. I want my supplier to be an expert on copies and copiers. Let me be their copier expert. Rely on me, because I can come in, fix it, make it perfect, increase your productivity, your office moral, increase your internal happiness, thereby increasing your possibility of serving your customers in a happier and better way.

CS: I am anxious to go out and try it. It sounds like a great way to make more sales. I have to admit, it seems better and easier than what I’m doing.

Flooring the competition

NOTE TO ALL READERS: Take this interview and adapt the interactive and engaging principles and strategies to your sales presentation. The results will stagger you — and floor the competition.

Want the rest of the interview AND both parts of this column?
There’s more on follow-up and sales techniques. Go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time visitor — and enter COPIER in the GitBit box.

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 online training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com.


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