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Others' sales questions can help your technique

Rochester Business Journal
June 20, 2003
The economic downturn has brought about an interesting situation. My mailbox is now twice as full of sales questions as it has ever been. Salespeople want answers that will give them sales now.

The questions below give both specific and general answers. The key word is "answers." Your job is to interpret them as they relate to your selling situations, your prospect's needs and your wallet.

Jeffrey, I have a client that has money, says he loves me, but won't commit to an ongoing contract. He has yet to honor an appointment or any deadlines, but he is a decent guy. What should I do? Scott

Scott, find another lover. Saying "I love you" is one thing, proving it with deeds and actions is quite another.

What you need is a heart-to-heart meeting with your customer to explain how this relationship will work best if there is mutual consideration rather than just one way. Explain what you need from him and explain how this will value and help him.

Too many salespeople are chicken to get real with a customer because they are afraid they will lose the business. Big mistake. You're going to lose it anyway. Get real, and you'll make sales.

Jeffrey, Can you give me an example of an effective premise statement or a trust-building statement? Terry

Terry, a trust-building statement is one where you tie in the name of another customer as a loyal user of your product or service. For example, "The reason Coca-Cola has been our loyal customer for 6 years is ..." and whatever you say next will begin to solidify the trust factor.

Jeffrey, what do I say to a prospect during a telephone follow-up on a direct-mail piece to keep them from saying they never received it? Dennis

Dennis, don't ask them if they received it. Say something like, "We sent you a piece in the mail but it wasn't self explanatory and I'm calling to give you a few answers to an idea that will help you build your business."

Jeffrey, in your material you say to follow up within 24 hours of making the initial contact. You also state that it takes about seven contacts before you get any results. My question is after that initial contact or after a cold call, what is the frequency of your callbacks so that you would not be a pain in the butt. Your seminar on Long Island was great! Thank you. Jim

Jim, if you have information the customer can use to build his business, do it all night long. If it's sell, sell, sell, puke-save your energy.

Jeffrey, I love your TrainOne product and use it in my weekly sales meetings. Last week we pulled one from the archives, "Just Plain How to Make a Sale." In that lesson, you recommend using testimonials to close the sale and not to open the door. I'd love to hear your thought process on that. Sometimes the most difficult sale I make is selling the appointment. Testimonials can help pry open a door to someone who is reluctant to grant me an appointment. Your thoughts? Jenifer

Jenifer, testimonials can open the door. Use one (on video) that says, "I kept putting her off thinking she was just another vendor-it was almost a huge mistake. Finally I gave her the appointment and it has been a great relationship. I urge you to make an appointment with Jenifer." Get a few of those and you will win big time.

Jeffrey, why are you so opposed to cold calls? Harry

Harry, you interrupt someone else's day.

They don't know you.

They probably already have what you are selling.

It pisses off the prospect (like it does when someone calls you at home).

It's the lowest-percentage sales call of all available options and types. It's the most frustrating, demoralizing strategy to give to a salesperson.

It's the worst-trained skill by companies.

It creates an atmosphere of repeated rejection.

It's the single biggest cause of salespeople quitting.

It's the biggest reason for sales call reluctance.

If, in the 1 in 25 chance you do get through to a decision maker, you probably make some kind of introduction or value statement-both of which are the stupidest things you could do. The prospect could care less who you are, and the "value statement" has zero value to the prospect.

So why do they do it? Easy answer. Salespeople are lazy, and cold calling is the easiest way to do it. No preparation, just go "dial for dollars" or "pound on doors." There is only one category of people actually lazier than salespeople. That would be sales managers, the people who insist on salespeople making cold calls but who couldn't make a successful one themselves.

Last point: would you rather have 100 people to cold call or two referrals?

Jeffrey, I loved your response. So a cold call is never a good idea? Harry

Harry, here's a thought to keep: A cold call is a lousy place to make a sale but it's a great place to learn how to sell. Jeffrey

That's all the answers I have space for. But I know you, you want more. Every week I answer a bunch of questions in my weekly newsletter called Sales Caffeine. For free. Is free a good enough price?

Send me your sales questions, and you'll get answers. If your question (or sales tip) is answered in print, you get a free coffee mug from my e-zine and some coffee. The mug says "Coffee is for Closers." Go to, find "Sales Help-I need Jeffrey's help-I have a question" and ask away. Before you leave my site, subscribe to Sales Caffeine.

(Jeffrey Gitomer, author of "The Sales Bible" and "Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless" and president of Charlotte, N.C.-based BuyGitomer Inc., gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or his e-mail address,

06/20/03 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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