Ask Jeffrey about sales and you get (real) answers.
Answers. Salespeople want answers. Here are a few of the answers to questions I get in the mail (fax, e, and snail). The purpose of this column is three-fold. First to give you a sampling of what people ask, second to assure you that you are not alone in experiencing the weirdness that everyday selling seems to breed, and third, to apply the answers to your selling situations (even though they may not address your specific business).
And by the way, in case you forgot — the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.
Jeffrey, my question is… I had a terrific meeting with a prospect 8 months ago. Since then I have had numerous phone conversations with the prospect who is in charge of marketing. At the end of each conversation the prospect says “Don’t worry we will buy from your company just call back in a few weeks when we will have our marketing meeting. Do I try to go over her head to the CEO? Tom
Dear Tom, Too late for that tactic — you should have done that on the first call — but obviously you like wasting your time speaking to people that have to ask their daddy — instead of just going to daddy at the start. Now that you’re in the trap, you have to either wait, OR, you can call and ask to set a meeting with everyone – big boss included. If you product is important to the prospect, you’ll get the meeting — if not, you’ve learned a valuable lesson for the next time: START AT THE TOP. Regards, Jeffrey
Hey Jeffrey, You recently wrote about your mentors in the Business Journal, and had this advice quote from one of them, “You’re running here to make 5 grand, running there to make 10 grand – wanna make a million? Stand still!” What was meant by that quote? Gregory
Dear Gregory,My mentor, the great Earl Pertnoy, was referring to me establishing myself, building a business foundation, and growing from there. I was making the mistake of jumping from deal to deal without a firm footing or direction. I was the proverbial moth to a bright light. Here’s what I did as a result of Earl’s advice:1. Established myself in my community as a stable businessman, then a stable leader.2. Became known as a person of value.3. Studied (and wrote about) my field of expertise for an hour a day.4. Established a five-year plan and a drew a map to get me there.5. Stayed at it, and on it, for years (in fact, am still on it).5.5 Worked my butt off.But that’s just me – you make your choice.Regards, Jeffrey
Dear Jeffrey, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, “Nordstrom’s customer service strategy-just add common sense.” We are a small custom home building company, building 4 to 6 homes per year in the $600,000 to $1,000,000 range. We work very close with our customers throughout the process, and most of them become friends. Any tips on specific things a company like ours could do to stand out from the competition? Thanking you, in advance, for your help. Giorgio
Dear Giorgio, Think about what you can do that will involve your product, your present customers and your future customers (your prospects). Marry those three elements, and you have a real winner. Here’s my idea: give a housewarming party after each person moves in. You cater the event in their new home. Serve GREAT food and drink — plenty of it — go all out. Give guided tours of your/their new home. HINT: People with money hang around other people with money. Tell the assembled group of guests that you would like to throw a party like this at their house, but you’d have to build them one first. Regards, Jeffrey
HELP Jeffrey, I need some advice! I own my own screen printing company, however never have been very good at sales. I’ve read the books. I’ve even been to sales school! But my shyness hinders me. Can you give me some advice on how to overcome this? Once I get a customer I’m great! Frank.
Dear Frank, Two words of advice: Join Toastmasters! When you learn to give presentations to small groups (in a safe and supportive environment), shyness seems to fall by the wayside. And when you begin to master the skills of group presentations — then one-on-one becomes a piece of cake. Regards, Jeffrey
Got a question you want answered? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer it privately, as well as in a future column so that all may benefit.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs weekly sales meetings via the internet, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to email@example.com