THE ART OF (KILLING) THE DEAL

A must read for every salesperson, Ben Stein on The Art of (Killing) the Deal. I personally found the following deal killers top of mind with me:

·         You are doing all the talking. I have done hundreds, if not thousands of presentations and to me, nothing is worse than a lack of interactivity. I will often stop and request comments, draw out discussion, get the customer speaking. Nothing is a bigger business killer than a one way conversation.

·         You think you are more important than the customer. This one kills me and I will admit, there are times when I have groaned about the inconvenience of a meeting, but in the end, the customer always comes first. Just the other day, I was unhappy because I need to travel 45 minutes to the same spot, two days in a row and tried to force it into one day. But, in the end, I could not get frustrated with my assistant because I always say ‘Everything else can move, customer first’.

·         Don’t sweat the details. This one kills me and I think that 90% of reps don’t take this seriously. The details are the thank you note, remember names, remembering details about people, birthdays, going that extra mile on holidays, etc. I will blog more on this one soon, but it is one that drives me crazy and I see very few sales reps do it well. Those who do, always have a higher chance of success. Every sales rep should adhere to the MacKay 66, or something like it.

IT ISN’T ABOUT YOU

Had a bad day? Your boss isn’t treating you well? Your wife just ran off with the mailman and your pet ferret? Did some kids egg your house?

Well, if you are in sales, leave it at home. When you walk out that door, check your emotional luggage at the door because it is not about you. In sales, always remember it is about the person you are serving, not you. It is about what is bugging them, not you.

This point was brought home to me by my local vet. He may be great with my dog, but when I speak to him he:

1. Is always grumpy. I have never seen him smile.

2. Takes my questions as personal attacks and responds with indignation, how dare I question HIM?

3. He is rude. All the time.

4. He has a sense of entitlement, like I should be using him to support the local community.

He really ticks me off and so I use him as little as possible and his business is under performing (I have heard him complain about the lack of ‘local support’ and had more than one neighbor say they will not go back). The community votes on his sales skills with the mighty dollar, something that he does not see a lot of.

If you are going to use the vet’s approach, you better have the best product on the planet, more demand than supply and a strong propensity for saving because as soon as this dynamic changes your customers will flee.

Remember: It is not about you.

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT

I don’t gamble, the others in the party where not interested. I have known him a while so I was candid: ‘look, if you want the keys to the Expedition, go ahead and we will all go out for a nice 3 course steak dinner. But if you think that you are going to drag me to some cheese ball casino, your nuts’. Put that way, he said bugger you all, he was going. I gave him the keys and we all retired to our rooms for an hour before the rest of us would reconvene for dinner.

….45 minutes go by, my phone rings. ‘hello, this is the concierge, your customers are down here waiting for you to take them to the casino.’ … A knock at the door…  I tell the guy on the phone to wait, ‘who is it?’ … ‘Bell hop sir. Your customers are waiting downstairs for you to take them to the casino.’ I was beat, down I went and there he stood, with the other execs around him (smiling). He had rallied the troops .. We were off to the casino.

We travel an hour and during that hour he takes me through the theory of blackjack and his cheat card, a color coded card that shows you what to do for the best odds for every possible combination. We arrive and sure enough, it is a dump. After we have a REALLY bad meal we hit the casino with one caveat: when I lose my $100 (big spender), he has 1 hour and the bus leaves. If he is not with us, he can hitch a ride home.Off we go, and he explains to me his philosophy of betting which I later renamed the ‘pansy model’. Start at 5 bucks, each win grows the bet by 5 bucks until you lose, drop back to 5. To me this just means a long night at the table – so I quickly get to a $20 table and begin playing (Fully expecting to lose).Well, not tonight. I was on fire. Every time I put money on the table, I just kept winning (That cheat card was very handy). The louder I laughed at the irony – the more the people around me shook their heads. At one point, I had a string of 5 blackjacks in a row. My dealer of choice that evening – who I called Carolana bobana – (I was also having fun with the name game) was getting tip after tip (Good karma) and I hit a high of $3000. At one point, after losing a $100 hand, I can remember my executive friend saying ‘What? Remember the rule! Don’t go back at $25, start small!” .. to which I looked at him – laughed and added another $75 to the bet (I won). In the end – after tipping the dealer at least $400 through the night – I walked out with $1600 – or as I put it 16 really cool looking black chips.

The moral of this story:

The customer is always right.