Sales Philosophy #7 – Establish Habits That Will Help You Become More Successful

Sales Philosophy #7 – Establish habits that will help you become more successful. 

I am your greatest companion.

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half the things you do you just might as well turn over to me

  and I will do them – quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done

  and, after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great people; and, alas, of

  all failures as well.

Those who are great, I have made great.

Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the

  precision of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin —

  it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will

  place the world at your feet.

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am Habit!

It’s your choice.  What do you want to be?

Adopt the right attitude.  Learn and study and become a true professional.  Make it habit, and you will put yourself among the elite.

But the sad reality is that very few people will take the time or work to change their habits.  Very, very sad.  We all have the power to make the most out of life; why do most of us settle for far less than what we could realize?

Why don’t you make habit your partner in a happier more successful life?

Philosophy #6 – Deep Down Inside of All of us Is the Power to Accomplish What we Want…if We’ll Just Stop Looking Elsewhere

Philosophy #6 – Deep down inside of all of us is the power to accomplish what we want…if we’ll just stop looking elsewhere.

You have the power right now to be happier, to be more successful, to generate higher sales and higher commissions.  Attitude is the key.

Have a great attitude.  And try to always be positive

A glass of water sits on a table with water filled to the halfway point.  Some see that as “half empty.”  The creative person sees a glass twice as big as it needs to be.  The positive person sees it as “half full.” 

Questions create a vacuum that the mind must fill with an answer.  Try this.  Try not to think of this article.  (You can’t.  Your mind automatically has to focus.)  When the mind focuses on a thought, realize that it happens very quickly, and it is the main message that gets through.

The mind remembers a fraction of what it receives.  It has been proven that the unconscious mind often deletes negatives.  Our words are very powerful, and we get what we ask for, and when we use negative language, we get what we don’t want.  So, be positive, and remember to ask for what you want. 

When you speak to others, whatever words you utter must be mentally processed by the other person.  By speaking in positive terms, you are constantly moving toward what you want as opposed to what you don’t want.

A study was done with disbelievers in the power of the positive.  The disbelievers were told up front that the purpose of the study was to prove that positive messages work.  Various messages were conveyed to these people – both positive (remember something) and negative (don’t forget to do something).

The result: the forewarned disbelievers remembered that which they were told positively and failed to do what they were asked to do in a negative manner.  (They remembered to do what they were told to remember, and they forgot what they were told “Don’t forget.”)

This isn’t hocus pocus mumbo jumbo.  It’s real.  Your mind can hold only one thought at a time; make it a positive and constructive one.

Positive thinking won’t let you do “anything.”  But positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.  Positive thinking will let you use the ability you have while negative thinking prevents you from fully using your ability.

And when you are positive, you will find that it rubs off on other people, and you will be happier and more enthusiastic.

Personality, enthusiasm.  Show your personality!  People remember positive, friendly people.  People like to buy from people they like, so be likable.  Talk to people; strike up conversations; get to know people; care about people.  Build friendships; it will sell more than all of the sales techniques in the world.

Be as friendly to the janitor as you are to the CEO.  Don’t limit your personality to a select few.  Be nice to everyone. 

Treat your fellow workers with the same respect you show your clients.

Act with courtesy and fairness regardless of how others treat you.

Take charge of your attitude; don’t let someone else choose it for you.

Avoid negative people.  Don’t be a SNIOP. (Don’t be Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People.)

Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

Learn to show enthusiasm, even when you don’t feel like it.

To be a successful magazine advertising salesperson, you must have the right attitude.  You must believe that you are doing your prospects a real favor by helping them purchase advertising.  You must believe that the value a prospect gets from buying advertising is vastly greater than the money he invests.  If you do your best to get a prospect to purchase advertising and you just cannot sell him, you should feel genuinely sorry for the prospect.

The right attitude will increase your sales today.

Sales Philosophy #5 – Information is Power.

Sales Philosophy #5 – Information is power.

Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product.

The greatest weapon you can have is superior information.

On our holiday in Italy, I wanted to buy a leather briefcase.  I had heard you could bargain at the markets.  So, I used my son to do a little reconnaissance; he determined that the asking price was 300,000 lire (about 135 pounds – $200).  I divided 200,000 lire (90 pounds) into four different pockets.  I started negotiating pocket by pocket.

He shook his head back and forth each time.  Three no’s.

I emptied my fourth and final pocket.  As I stood there with empty pockets waving the lire, I told the seller it was all I had left.  If I didn’t catch the taxi that was waiting and get back to the pier, my ship would sail without me.

“We’re just here for two hours.  Just long enough to do a little shopping and get back to the boat.  You’ll never see me again.  I’ll get in the taxi and be gone.  And you won’t have the sale.  There may not be another buyer for ages.”

A fourth shake of his head, “No.”

I started walking toward the taxi.

If he lets me get into the taxi, then I know absolutely for sure he will not change his price to 90 pounds, but with each step toward the taxi I have a chance that he will holler and say, “Mister, I will give take your offer.”

I go to the taxi.  I open the door.  He never called me back.

I had the taxi drive around the block and then walked back to his stand and said, “Okay, you win.  I want the briefcase; here’s the 300,000 lire.”

He nodded solemnly, took the money, and counted it very slowly.  The he said, “Maybe you want me to deliver it to your hotel?”

“Hotel?  But I’m on the ship….”

He held up his hand to stop me and shook his head no for the last time.  “I waited on the table next to you at the hotel last night.  My brother, Maurizio, has been your waiter all week.  He says you take real good care of him, signor.  We check out all the tourists.  That’s our business, you know.  Thank you.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy the briefcase.”

Moral to the story: It’s one thing to be a moderately successful amateur bargain hunter, but when your livelihood depends on knowing more than the other guy, then don’t play amateur games.  You make it your business to know.

Mackay 66.  Windsor 44.  Computer 9.

Harvey Mackay is the author of the best-selling book Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.  One of his major philosophies (and an important factor in the success of his business dealings) is knowing a lot about each person you are selling.  The Mackay 66 is a list of 66 questions/topics that will give you tremendous power as you build and maintain your relationship with your key customers.  Begin to develop this information on your Top 20 accounts.  Then use that information to build your relationship and generate more sales.

I believe strongly in the importance of information about the company you are selling.  I have developed a list of 44 questions that, once answered, will enable you to become a marketing consultant for your clients.

Four of the 44 deserve special attention: 

41.  What do you want from ________?

42.  And what would having ____________ (the answer to question 41) do for you?

The answers to these questions will provide some of the most important information you can gather.  You will learn why what you are selling is important to the company and the specific benefits to the buyer or his/her company.  With this information, you can emphasize the appropriate features while selling these benefits!

43.  What will our company have to do to justify that we can provide an important service to you?

This is the ultimate bottom line question in my mind.  Okay, what do we have to do?  What do we have to prove?  I know if you knew all that I know about my great magazine, you would advertise; what have I failed to make clear; what do you question; what do I have to prove, or what do we have to do?

How often we dance around and make call after call, and never ask such questions

44.  How can we help you?

What a powerful question!  Most buyers have salespeople trying to sell them something.  What a refreshing approach to simply ask, “How can we help you?”  It’s a great opening question with a new prospect, and it’s a question you can and should use with customers you’ve had forever.  It’s a great comeback to “No” or to many objections.  Besides, it’s what we want to be – consultative salespeople who act as marketing consultants to our customers.  When we help our customers, we get what we really want.

Your sales contact management computer system should contain a specific place for the brief answers to 9 questions – data drawn from the “Windsor 44” and your observations.  Get the answers to these questions, and summarize the data in the computer.

Asking the right questions and gathering worthwhile information will enable you to close more and more sales.  It will also establish you as a professional and will set you apart from the average salesperson.  You can have the power, if you focus on what’s important and remain hungry for information.

Sales Philosophy #4 – Success is a Journey…Not a Destination.

Sales Philosophy #4 – Success is a journey…not a destination.

Most people will make careful plans for small trips and none for their longest trip, that is, for their entire life.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect to get there?

Set goals.  Establish objectives.  Formulate strategies.  Make it happen!

Just out of college, I read a book that had a profound influence on my life.  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  My daughter has just finished reading it, and my son will read it.  While the book teaches many valuable lessons, the main message is:

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Set goals.  Believe you can accomplish those goals.  Work toward your goals.

In 1950, Harvard and the Ivy League colleges began studies of graduating classes.  In answer to the question whether they had established goals for their lives, 87 percent of the graduates said they had not.  Ten percent said they had established mental goals but had not written them down.  Only three percent said they had developed written goals for their lives.

The schools followed the progress of their graduates for 25 years.  In 1975, they found that the 87 percent who had not established goals had performed in an average manner in the intervening years.  The 10 percent with mental goals outperformed the 87 percent  But the three percent who had developed written goals had clearly outperformed the other 97 percent of their classmates.

We all have wants and needs.  As with the prospects we meet, we aren’t always sure exactly what those wants and needs are.   Instead of trying to suppress your wants, put them in writing as goals, and then work toward your goals.  Control your life; don’t let life control you.

Goal setting is a conscious effort of regularly and systematically determining what you want, determining the obstacles that you perceive to be in your way and how they will be overcome.

An effective goal setting program allows you to DEFINE, DESCRIBE and DESIGN the person you would like to become, in all areas of your life; spiritual, family, financial or any other area which you target for personal growth.

A goal is a self-imposed challenge.  It is a benchmark for achievement.  It is a way to give your life meaning and to keep you striving to be the individual you want to be.  Living without purpose and without direction makes the achievement of anything an accident, rather than by design.  When you don’t have goals and don’t know where you want to go or how you want to get there, you’ll end up going nowhere.

It has been proven that goals affect your performance level.  A documented characteristic of high-performance people is not only that they set goals regularly, but they carry their goal sheets with them AT ALL TIMES for constant review.  High achievers do not believe in luck.  They recognize that luck is… that which happens when preparation meets opportunity.  When opportunities are created, high-performance people who goal set always seem to be the first in line.

The ultimate importance of goal setting is that it provides you a BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS!  The goals serve as a reminder of where you want to be so you remain more directed.  Remember that SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION.  Success is the continuous journey towards the achievement of predetermined, worthwhile goals.  The secret to goal setting is to continuously upgrade your goals and to never become satisfied with the status quo. 

You have the ability to achieve a great deal, if you establish goals and are willing to work hard.  If you really want something badly enough, you will sacrifice for it.  But you won’t sacrifice for mere wishes.  You must reduce your wants and needs to written goals.

It is important to set both long-term and short-term goals.  A major weakness of many people is that they do not concentrate their daily efforts on the most important tasks to be accomplished.  The best way to be sure you accomplish the most important things each day is to spend a few minutes each evening, and write down the six most important things you need to accomplish the next day.  (You should do this for both business and personal things to do.)  Write them down every night, and you will immediately become more productive.

And in terms of your major goals, remember that there is nothing wrong with setting goals too high and coming up a little short; it’s much worse to set goals too low and hit them.  Goals should be something you really have to work to achieve.  That’s why we will have quotas, but we will also have aggressive goals.

Each of you is to set business goals for the next year.  These goals will include the following areas: customer satisfaction, personal earnings, sales, attitude, self-improvement, and sales skills.  

Success is a journey…not a destination, and we must all chart our course so we can enjoy all that success has to offer.

Sales Philosophy #3 – It’s Fine to Play at Ping-Pong, but Be a Professional Salesperson

Sales Philosophy #3 – It’s fine to play at ping-pong, but be a professional salesperson.

Visualize me on a cruise ship as I become involved in a ping-pong tournament.  The score is 20-20, and it is my serve.  If I make the shot, I win fame and glory.  So I toss the ball and hit it with all my might in an attempt to get a grand slam, but the ball flies right into my opponent’s forehead.  Shame,  Embarrassment.  Laughter from the crowd.  I lose.

Later, a ping-pong professional approaches me and comments that at the key shot, my wrist was bent during the serve and this caused the ball to have an upward spin, beaning my opponent right between the eyes.  “Your wrist needs to be straight and the paddle held like this” is the pro’s final comment.

“I’ll never do that again!” I think and go about my business.  Two days later, another game.  The score is 20-20.  My serve.  Toss the ball into the air, hit it with all my might…directly into my opponent.  I lose again.

If I were a professional, I would have been practicing nothing but my grand-slam serves during the interim.  As a professional, I would have made sure my wrist was straight even if I had to tape a board to it.

But as an amateur, I merely thought about it and did not practice.

What do you want to be… an amateur?  Or a professional?  Sales professionals study and practice.

The difference between two professionals or two salespeople can be very small in the level of skill, but very big in the degree of success and reward.  One year on the professional golf circuit, after 30 tournaments, two top golfers averaged 70.94 and 71.34 per round.  After 2,160 holes of golf, the difference between the two was less than half a stroke per 18 holes.  Yet one earned over twice as much money.

In baseball, the difference between a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter is one more hit every 20 times at bat.  (And that probably means the difference between earning many million dollars per year and not making it as a professional.)

In the Olympics, the downhill was won by 27/100 of a second!  So, even a slight professional edge can make a big difference in the success and rewards for an athlete – or for a salesperson.

Just as professional athletes constantly practice and strive to improve their games, professional salespeople must do the same.

Selling is at its highest level when the salesperson takes on the relationship of a consultant and advisor to his client, the prospect.

To be successful in his/her career, the professional salesperson must develop knowledge, skills, and standards.  The purpose of on-going training material provided by your company will be to provide basic information to help salespeople be more competent in these areas, but this is only a starting point.  Development in these areas will come from self-improvement through study and reading, observing other salespeople, studying people, and intelligent analysis.


Product knowledge is vital.  You must know your product.  You must thoroughly understand everything about your products and your company.  And you must know your customers.  Product and customer knowledge is vital, but studies show that selling is only 15% product knowledge and 85% people skills.

So, learning the advantages and benefits for the customer is more important than the actual features of the product.  Customers are more concerned with what products will do for them.  To convey this, the salesperson must be very aware of everything the prospect does and says.  This means the salesperson must know his product backwards and forwards.  The sales presentation must be so well known that the salesperson can concentrate on the feedback he is getting from his prospects.

Studies tell us that our subconscious mind will allow us to do any over-learned skill without even thinking about it.  The professional golfer doesn’t worry about every aspect of his stroke each time he addresses the ball; the professional is thinking about strategy.  The same should be true of a professional salesperson.


85% of selling is skills, especially people skills.  How the knowledge is used by the salesperson when he faces (or talks on the phone with) the prospect is vital. 

Success in selling depends greatly on the skill of the salesperson in establishing trust, understanding what keeps people from buying, understanding what motivates people to buy, identifying the different types of people and how to deal with them, planning the presentation, approaching the prospect, making the presentation, handling objections, gaining commitment, and maintaining trust and building goodwill.


A proper attitude is vital if a salesperson is to do a successful selling job.  This means how a salesperson feels about selling as a career, his current job, his company, his product, his associates, his customers.  Some of these attitudes are affected by outside influences over which the salesperson has little or no control.  But the salesperson must realize that his own mental attitude toward being a successful salesperson is as important as his knowledge and skills, and he must adjust to his environment.

Good training and successful experience can work magic with the attitude of a salesperson.  When comfortable with the product and confident of the skills, the salesperson should be eager and willing to put this competency to work.  Success then becomes more frequent; minor frictions tend to be ignored; and the salesperson’s attitude becomes even better.  Again, it is our hope that our training material will increase your comfort, confidence, and competence, so you may have the best possible attitude about your career as a professional salesperson.

Professionalism.  Quality.

Perform your job better than anyone else can.

Every day, look for some way to improve the way you do your job.

If you will decide that you are going to make a commitment and start this very second to learn how to become the best possible salesperson you can be, and if you commit to studying available information – now and forever, you will become a true professional, and you will earn much more money as a result.

Sales Philosophy #2 – The Shortest Pencil in the World is Better Than the Longest Memory.

Sales Philosophy #2 – The shortest pencil in the world is better than the longest memory. (So, write it down.) 

It’s probably no surprise to you that I like to see things in writing.  Researchers say that people generally fall into one of three categories – they prefer to see things, hear things, or feel things.  I guess that makes me a see-er.

Researchers have also proven that people learn more and retain more when they involve more of the senses.  So, in my case, I sincerely feel that I absorb more when I hear something or see something and also take notes and write something at the same time.  In addition, my notes become powerful information that I retain and use as needed.  People see that I am listening and involved; they also see that I have a record of what takes place.  I often dazzle people with my “memory.”

I’m a list person, so I naturally feel other people should consider becoming list people, too.  I keep ongoing lists of “Things To Do.”  I encourage you to keep a running list!

50/10 Rule:  We hear only 50% and remember only 10% of what we hear; that means we retain only 5% of what is said.  This applies to each of us and to our customers and prospects.  We can beat the 50/10 Rule by taking notes and writing things down.  We can compensate for the 50/10 Rule with our customers and prospects through repetition and by involving more of their senses when we make personal or telephone sales calls.  Using visuals will definitely increase retention of our messages.

Do you know who Herman Ebbinghaus is?  The Ebbinghaus Curve?  Dr. Ebbinghaus is the authority who has documented how quickly the mind forgets new information.  His studies are used to enforce the importance of repetition because repetition is the key to learning and is one of the keys to effective advertising.  When selling, use repetition.

Don’t trust your memory; write it down.  The shortest pencil in the world is better than the longest memory.


Sales Philosophy #1 – The Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.

Sales Philosophy #1 – The Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.

As you conduct your business, remember that most people are primarily interested in THEMSELVES.  Your customers are not particularly interested in you, other salespeople, or your fellow employees.  They are interested in themselves.  Everyone must remember this at all times because making the customer happy is a key to success.

Many people try to live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  This certainly is a wonderful sentiment, but I feel there is a rule which is more important as it relates to selling and business.

When I first conceived this overriding philosophy of selling and doing business, it took a long time to explain what I meant.  Over the years, I managed to reduce the text.  I ultimately condensed the philosophy to the simple statement; Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.  I realized that was similar, yet significantly different from the Golden Rule.  But it got me to thinking about a catchy title for the philosophy.

For some reason, my mind zeroed in on American Express.  As you probably know, there is the green card.  Then there is the gold card.  And now there is the platinum card — a step up from the gold card.  Well, I believe this philosophy is a step up from the Golden Rule, and I began calling it the “Platinum Rule.”  Once again, the Rule is: “Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.”

The philosophy of the Platinum Rule means that salespeople and other employees should always be most concerned with the customer.  Totally concentrate on the needs and desires of the customer.  This means pulling from the toolbox of your mind the appropriate knowledge and skills necessary to convey that what you are selling will solve the problems and needs of your customer.  Try to treat your customers not as you want to be treated, but the way they want to be treated.  Ask questions to find out the needs of your customers; they will usually tell you how to sell them if you ask good, open-ended questions.

The Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.”  I wholeheartedly encourage you to adopt this rule.  By simply applying the Rule, your sales will increase.

Closing – Six Basic Buying Motives

In addition to the primary desire to survive, there are six basic buying motives that are popularly accepted.  These buying motives should be in the back of every salesperson’s mind during every sales effort.  These buying motives are what drive the benefits that salespeople must emphasize in their sales efforts.  The six basic buying motives are:

Profit or the Desire for Gain. (Save money; make money; economical; profit; thrift; getting a bargain; have money for other things; education.)

Fear of Loss. (Safety; protect property; protect health; ability to provide for loved ones; future security; save time; fear of not being able to afford things in the future; fear of not being able to keep up with inflation; prevent loss; long use.)

Pleasure. (Enjoyment; relaxation; convenience; comfort; ease; admiration from others; provide more for loved ones; luxury; good health; peace of mind; contentment; affection; become more attractive; beauty; save time; good food and drink; good housing; recreation.)

Avoidance of Pain. (Protection; relief of pain; security; less work; safety; good health; no worry.)

Pride. (Desire to possess; advance in skill; self-improvement; desire to succeed; ambition; style; high quality; latest fashion; prestige; status.)

Desire for Approval. (Social acceptance; affection; vanity; envy; learning; admiration; prestige; peer pressure; imitation.)

But, understanding the benefit is not enough.  Sometimes the prospect will weigh all the satisfactions he will get from your product against all the satisfactions he will get from the same money spent in another way.  Or several motives may compete in the prospect’s mind, and the strongest ones at the moment will win out.  A prospect may agree that your product or service will help him, but the fear that the money spent will force him to cancel or postpone something else may overrule his willingness to buy.  Yet at another time, that same prospect’s desire for pride can overrule his fear of loss.

If a salesperson can discover what the prospect really wants, and can direct his sales presentation accordingly, he has the key to the sale.  We all know about the Golden Rule.  But in sales, there is a more important rule – the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have done unto them.  By whatever means he can, a salesperson must determine which buying motives will have the greatest effect on the prospect’s decision to make the purchase, and which are strongest at the moment.  Then he should stress the features, advantages, and benefits which will best encourage those motives.

Approach – The Initial Approach

There are five steps involved in the initial approach:

  1. Approach the prospect and shake hands.
  2. Gain immediate control of the prospect.
  3. Arrange proper seating.
  4. Make a three-step introduction.
  5. Maintain control.

Approach the Prospect and Shake Hands

When the salesperson first sees his prospect, he should walk directly to him in a controlled, poised, and confident manner.  When he makes his first greeting, he must be very careful to concentrate and learn everyone’s name.  He should give at least a quick look at every person in the prospect’s party.

The salesperson should shake hands firmly and look each prospect straight in the eye.  His warm, friendly personality must be evidenced from the very beginning.  The first impression is vital.

Never be afraid of the prospect.  Approach him with self-confidence and pride.

The salesperson should never say, “I’m going to be your representative,” or “I’m going to be your salesman,” to a prospect, as the prospect already knows this.  It’s a silly thing to say, and it will do nothing but add to the prospect’s feeling of uneasiness.  Simply project friendship and develop a relationship in which the prospect feels he is an equal.

After the handshake, the most important thing to do is to get the prospect relaxed.

Gain Immediate Control of the Prospect

Immediately after the first handshake, it is very important for the salesperson to assume direct control of the prospect.  The best way to do this is to move the prospect to another location.  This can be another room, or simply another desk.  The prospect is ready and waiting for the salesperson and he has decided where he will stand or sit.  This is the prospect’s territory and he feels secure there.  When he is moved to a new location, his game plan is thrown off balance.  This disorients the prospect for a moment, giving the salesperson the time to assume control.

This little trick can be done politely by saying something like “Let’s find another desk where we won’t be interrupted,” or “This office is not private enough.”  Any excuse that shows concern for the prospect will work.

Once the move is made, the salesperson must make the prospect feel comfortable and relaxed again, or he will be right back where he started with a defensive prospect.

Arrange Proper Seating

For proper control, sit close to the prospects.  All tables and desks are barriers, so sit as close as possible, and, if possible, eliminate that barrier at times by sitting at the side of the desk.  Use a chair that places you slightly above the prospects.  Always use a rectangular table or desk.  Sit with the customers on either side of you at the ends of a rectangular table with your sales materials to be placed on the middle of the table facing away from you (Plan #1); or sit with the two prospects directly across the table from you, with your sales materials to be placed facing away from you and directly at them (Plan #2).  None of your sales materials should be on the table at this time.

Plan #1 is by far the best, for the following reasons:

The salesperson is in a central position where he more or less becomes a part of the group.

The bond is somewhat broken between the two prospects because they are seated at either end of a table, and it weakens any pre-planned sales defenses that the two have prepared.

The salesperson can equally share his presentation with both prospects at the same time.

The salesperson can prevent the two prospects from communicating any secret contact with one another, thus having much greater control and keeping the prospects off balance.

Plan #2 provides better eye contact, but it has the following disadvantages:

The prospects can see what is going on behind the salesperson’s back, whereas the salesperson will always have controlled eye contact in Plan #1.

The prospects can nudge each other and make secret contact, exchanging pre-planned signals.

The prospects can whisper their thoughts to each other without expressing them openly in front of the salesperson.

There is a barrier between the salesperson and the prospects, and there is not the feeling of being a part of the group. A two-against-one environment exists.

Make a Three-Step Introduction.

1.  After the greeting and relocation maneuver, tell the prospects you need to check on something (a phone call, give a message, etc.) and ask them to relax and help themselves to coffee or a soft drink. Then leave them for a few minutes.  Do not get coffee for them, as this puts you in a subservient position giving the prospects a feeling of control.

2.  After you have been away from the prospects for a few minutes, go back and sit down for a minute. Ask a couple of easy, relaxed questions such as: “Where are you from?”  “Is this your whole family?”  “What kind of business are you in?”  Be alert to any common bond that both the prospect and salesperson might relate to.  Listen to the answers with sincere interest, and then excuse yourself again for some believable reason (such as to get yourself some coffee, to try the call again, or whatever) and leave.

3.  After you have been away for a minute or two, go back to your prospects and start your presentation.

Your prospects are on guard, nervous, and defensive at first.  When the salesperson first excuses himself and offers the prospects coffee, the defensive barrier starts to lower because the expected sales pressure is not present.  After the second short question and answer meeting, the defenses are lowered even more, as the prospects get to know the salesperson and some breathing room is given.  When the third meeting takes place, the prospects have had a chance to observe the salesperson, so they feel they know him much better.  The prospects have also had a chance to see what is going on, and they feel that the salesperson is their representative.

This three-step introduction will relax the prospects, and it gives the salesperson a little time to analyze and observe the prospects and tailor the presentation to fit their personalities and needs.

Maintain Control

The salesperson must know everything that goes on around him and the prospect that might interfere with or help the sale.  Be aware of any distracting factors that might catch the attention of the prospect.  The salesperson must keep an eye on anything and everything, to arrange an atmosphere that will not interfere with the important job at hand.  The prospect must be able to concentrate on the salesperson’s voice and actions.

The salesperson must never let the prospect’s small talk go off on a tangent, or he will lose control.

Approach – 12 Techniques for a Successful Approach

Here are 12 techniques that can be used to make a successful approach:

  1. Identify the purpose of the meeting first.
  2. Ask a question that leads into the prospect’s interest.
  3. Get the prospect to participate.
  4. Promise a benefit.
  5. Offer a survey.
  6. Open with the product.
  7. Use a visual.
  8. Use “shock” treatment
  9. Tell a story.
  10. Use a referral.
  11. Give the prospect something.
  12. Use a gimmick.
  13. Pay a compliment.

Identify the purpose of the meeting first.

Most salespeople start the approach by introducing themselves. Now, if the first few seconds in front of the prospect are so important, isn’t the salesperson wasting them by greeting the prospect with the least interesting of facts? To get attention quickly, wouldn’t it be better to say something like: “Ed and Clara, I want to show you some fabulous new ______ that will generate excellent sales for you. I’m Sam Salesperson.”

Ask a question that leads into the prospect’s interest.

Questions are an excellent tool when used properly. But the salesperson must be very careful not to avoid questions that could be answered “No.”

“What types of ________ does your company use?”

“You probably are always on the alert for ways to get the most for your dollar; that’s right, isn’t it?”

Get the prospect to participate.

A person can pretend to listen, but he can’t continue with one line of thought and participate in another.

Promise a benefit.

“I think we have an idea that will save you money.”

“Ed and Clara, if I could show you how to save money on your ________, would you be interested?”

Remember – people buy benefits and solutions to problems, not products.

Offer a survey.

“Ed and Clara, we have a product that may be able to make you money, but I need to ask you a few questions first. Let’s sit down and go over a brief survey form, and then I will be able to tell you about what we have to offer.”

Open with the product.

______________ can stimulate plenty of interest simply by its appearance, so it can be used for the opener.

Use a visual.

Samples of work you have done for others and art work can all be used as a visual way to get attention.

Use shock treatment.

Open with a startling fact or a strong statistic.

Tell a story.

We all like to hear a story, provided it’s stimulating and told well. The story can be combined with the other approaches that have been mentioned.

Use a referral.

Use the name of another person as an introduction. “I believe you know Ed and Clara Customer. They suggested that you would be interested in hearing what they are doing to increase their sales with our __________ line.”

Give the prospect something.

Giving the prospect something of value can be used as an opener. We all love to get something for free.

This can be an especially good technique if the free gift is something that ties into the product. Then the salesperson can use the gift to stimulate interest.

Use a gimmick.

Salespeople have used thousands of stunts or gimmicks to get the prospects’ attention. While they are planned to lead into the presentation, the gimmick is primarily for attention. In attempting to sell T-shirts to Disney World, I got their attention by sending them a personal letter printed on a T-shirt. I recently used custom fortune cookies as a means to get the attention of prospects.

In using any stunt, remember the purpose must be to gain favorable attention. After gaining attention, the salesperson must quickly move into stimulating the prospect’s interest in satisfying a need.

Pay a compliment.

This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to get attention, yet it is difficult for many.

If you have difficulty giving a sincere compliment, use the What-Why-Question formula.  First, tell the person what it is you like; then tell why you like it; then ask him a question about it.


By planning your words and actions before you meet the prospect, your chances of carrying through a successful sales presentation are dramatically improved.