A famous art collector, while walking through the city, noticed a mangy cat lapping milk from a saucer in the doorway of a store, causing him to stop and do a double take.
The art collector immediately recognized that the saucer is extremely old and very valuable, so he casually walked into the store and offers to buy the cat for two dollars.
The storeowner replies “I’m sorry, but the cat isn’t for sale.”
The collector says, “Please, I need a hungry cat around my house to catch mice. What if I offered you twenty-five dollars for that cat?”
With a lucrative offer now on the table, the store owner says “Sold,” and he then promptly hands over the cat.
The collector continues, “Hey, for the twenty-five bucks, I wonder if you could throw in that old saucer. The cat has used it and it will save me from having to get a dish.”
The savvy storeowner owner replies, “Sorry buddy, but that’s my lucky saucer.
So far this week, I’ve sold sixty-eight cats.”
It is a lot easier to file down the claws of a tiger than to teach a sheep to attack.
Private Jones was assigned to the Army induction center, where he was to advise new recruits about their government benefits, especially their Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI). It wasn’t long before the center’s Lieutenant noticed that Private Jones had almost a 100% record for insurance sales, which had never happened before. Rather than ask about this, the Lt. stood in the back of the room and listened to Jones’s sales pitch.
Jones explained the basics of the SGLI to the new recruits, and then said, "If you have SGLI and go into battle and are killed, the government has to pay $200,000 to your beneficiaries. If you don’t have SGLI, and you go into battle and get killed, the government only has to pay the minimum benefit of $6,000." "Now," he concluded, "which bunch of soldiers do you think they are going to send into battle first?"
A husband was just entering the shower as his wife was getting out. Unexpectedly, the front doorbell rings. So, the wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and goes to the door. Bob, their next-door neighbor is innocently standing there.
When he sees that she is wearing only a towel, Bob says, “I will give you $800 right now to drop that towel.” She thinks for a moment and realizes that $800 is a lot of money. Sure enough, she drops the towel and presents herself to him. “Nice,” he says and then hands her the $800 he had promised.
Back in the bathroom, hubby gets out of the shower and inquires, “Who was at the door?” “Bob, from next door,” she replies. “Great!” he says. “Did he bring over the $800 he owes me?”
The moral to this metaphor: Know the whole story before you act on partial information.
Why is it that deals forecasted with a 50% probability of closing rarely happen before the end of the month, while deals that are forecasted with a 90% probability, only close 50% of the time?
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand new Jeep Cherokee appeared out of a dust cloud heading toward him. The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and a YSL tie leaned out of the window and asked our shepherd: "If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?" The shepherd looks at the yuppie, then at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, "Sure!" The yuppie parks the car, whips out his cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the Internet where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system, scans the area, opens up a database along with some 60 Excel spreadsheets with complex formulas.
Finally, he prints out a 15 page report on his hi-tech miniaturized printer, turns around to the shepherd and says: "You have here exactly 1,586 sheep!" "That is correct. You may take one of the sheep" says the shepherd. He watches the young man select an animal and bundle it in his Cherokee.
Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what business you are in will you give me my sheep back?" "Okay, why not!" answers the young man. "You are a consultant," says the shepherd.
"That is correct" says the yuppie. "How did you guess that?" "Easy," answers the shepherd. "You turn up here unannounced, you wanted to be paid for the answer a question I already knew the answer to, and you don’t know anything about my business…because you took my dog."
Selling continues to be the least taught profession in the world! Does anyone think that’s strange? Sales drives every company, yet most of the top business schools in the world don’t offer a sales curriculum. Somehow we rely on the thought that salespeople inherently already know “how” to sell. Maybe it’s supposed to be in our DNA?
Consider the amount of training necessary to become an architect, attorney, doctor, engineer, teacher, nurse, pharmacist or city planner. There is a minimum scholastic requirement followed by rigorous testing and continuing education. Whew! To say that you are a sales professional only requires that you print business cards.
Case in point: In the state of Georgia (my home state), you have to have a license to catch a fish, or own a dog, but you can sell many things including sophisticated products and services without any required training whatsoever. Note that I am NOT speaking out for more legislation. Just wanted to point out the parallel between skills development and your probability of success in sales.
Relationship building has always been an important aspect of selling. But, just because an eager salesperson comes calling doesn’t necessarily mean key decision makers in target accounts will want to spend quality time with them.
What’s the key to building effective relationships? Great Question! Unfortunately, however, the notion of establishing relationships has traditionally revolved around the idea of building rapport–befriending people in the hopes that they will be more likely to purchase your product or service.
The problem is most customers are already being pursued by tons of vendors who all want to become ‘buddies’ in order to make a sale. If you are selling to your best friend, then your relationship may help make them more comfortable. If not, then projecting a false sense of ‘friendliness’ actually causes people to be even more standoffish.
For example, here’s a simple exercise I often do with students in our LIVE QBS training courses. Just for fun, hold your index fingers up to your two eyebrows. Now, raise your eyebrows up and down and you will feel movement under your fingers. Alas, you have eyebrow muscles!
Next time you meet with a customer, or if you are the customer, the next time you come in contact with a salesperson, watch what happens to their eyebrows. For some mysterious reason, they shoot up into the rafters as the salesperson’s face instantly lights up, clearly excited about the possibility of making a sale.
Compare that ‘raised eyebrow’ phenomenon to your normal facial expression when you are helping someone or talking with them about a potential problem. You will notice that when a salesperson is truly adding value, their eyebrows are square on their face, and not elevated to the edge of their hairline.
The lesson is simply this. Next time you come in contact with a customer, and you are super-excited to meet them, there is a high probability that you will come off as fake, insincere, or even worse, commission-hungry.
Think about it this way. That super-enthusiastic person is NOT really you. "Hello, Mr. Customer, I am so so happy to meet you!!!" You might as well add, "but this is not really me, because my face has exploded into a giant fake smile, and if you give me a minute my eyebrows will come down to Earth and we can have a real discussion."
If you naturally have a super-charged, highly enthusiastic personality, that’s fine–be yourself. If not, then projecting a fake smile and seeming commission hungry might not create the best first impression, especially for those customers who may already be cautious of dealing with a disingenuous salesperson.
Note that it’s perfectly okay to be pleasant and cordial, but when first meeting potential customers, it’s much more important to be purposeful, relevant, credible, and valuable.
Let me guess, the company you represent is the leading provider of blah, blah, blah, with a long-standing track record and a commitment to excellence that is second to none. If so, join the club, as competitors have been trying to out-describe each other for years.
Everyone claims to have the best products, REALLY. In fact, our offerings are not only BETTER than the competion, we TRULY are the leader in the industry. Especially if you like adjectives, these three (Really, Truly, & Better) have become staples of corporate mediocrity, to the point where these words are generally discounted by potential customers as hype and fluff.
ABC Company Press Release: Our products and services are truly the world’s best. In fact, our new launch offers better features and experts say they will really change the way customers do business.
…a few days later…
XYZ Company Press Release: Truly, we can now say that our products and services are the world’s finest. Our product offerings are better and they really will change the way customers do business.
Other words and phrases that should be stricken from the sales vernacular include paradigm-shift, industry-leading, cutting-edge, groundbreaking, touching-base, game-changer, and “coffee is for closers.”