This blog is inspired by a true story of a little boy who went to the zoo with his 1st grade class and managed to entice a penguin into his backpack, zip it up, conceal the wiggling backpack on the bus and bring it home. I’m sure, as this enterprising little boy’s mother packed his lunch and sent him off to school, it never occurred to her to say, ” And honey, when you go to the zoo today, don’t put a penguin in your backpack.” The story reminds me of my experiences as a mom and all of the things I should have said, but never dreamed I would need to say. Here are some examples:
- “Don’t put the fire truck in the toilet.”
- “Don’t sit in the toilet.”
- “When you need to go to the bathroom, don’t use the empty sippee cup in your closet.” (My kids clearly had some potty issues.)
- “Don’t eat the mushroom you picked out of the backyard.” (This resulted in my only experience with syrup of ipecac.–Why would a kid eat a backyard mushroom, when he gags over the ones on his dinner plate?)
- “Don’t shoot your brother with an arrow.”
- “Don’t eat a worm.”
- “Never use your sister as a paint ball target. It doesn’t matter if she’s wearing a helmet”.
- “Don’t run outside in the snow when you’re naked.”
- “That is supposed to be on the INSIDE of your fly. Put it up, it’s time for dinner.”
- “Are you sure going to the grocery store dressed like Peter Pan is a good idea?”
- “Don’t tell the docent at the museum that the teepee smells like your underwear. Don’t tell anybody that anything smells like your underwear.”
- “It’s bad form to complain that we are out of cream cheese while you’re wearing your SAVE DARFUR shirt.”
All of these statements come from my real life. This trip down memory lane got me thinking about all of the things that my sales strategy consulting teaches you to say, but most people never think need to be said. Here are my top five:
- “Is $360,000 a lot of money to your company?”
OK, I know this sounds ridiculous. However, without asking the question, the sales person is making an assumption. A problem that costs a company $30,000 each month may be a lot of money (depending on their profits) or it may be a drop in the bucket. If it’s a drop in the bucket, the company may or may not be willing to pay money to solve the problem. Don’t make the assumption that an amount which seems like a lot to you is a lot to the company you are meeting with.
SELLect Sales Tip: Assumption is the enemy of the sales person.
- “When you say you want to move forward, what does that mean?”
Again, we could be playing in Assumption Land. It’s the absolute opposite of that fun kid’s game, Candy Land—mainly because the salesperson usually loses. Optimistic sales people (as most of us are) take the statement “I’m pretty sure we will move forward” as a sure sign that the deal is closed. If I had a nickel for every story about a “verbal commitment” that didn’t turn into money…..
SELLect Sales Tip: Verbal Commitments should be tested with more questions.
- “I don’t want to stalk you.”
If you are thinking I’ve just gone too far, stay with me. This phrase is magic when trying to get the prospect to agree that no one (including them) wants to get stuck on the Follow-Up-Merry-Go-Round. Everyone has been on this ride. It’s lots of fun: Sales person leaves a message, prospect avoids the call, sales person leaves a message, prospect avoids the call, sales person leaves a message, prospect gives a lame excuse and promises to get back with the salesperson soon, salesperson leaves a message… Anybody dizzy yet?
SELLect Sales Tip: Quit following up! Get clear agreements for decisions or next steps after every meeting. If you are already on the ride and can’t get off, try this: I don’t want to stalk you with phone calls and emails, but I am trying to follow-up professionally. What do you suggest I do?
- “It’s fine to tell me NO.”
If the prospect isn’t going to work with you, when would you like to know? ‘Nuff said.
SELLect Sales Tip: YES is better than NO, but NO is better than MAYBE.
- “Before we meet, you need to look at your checkbook.”
One of the largest mistakes I see is allowing the prospect to think that you will have a sales meeting without discussing money. The second largest mistake is not preparing the prospect for that conversation.
SELLect Sales Tip: If you can’t talk money, you won’t make money.Posted by