Selling helps

Selling helps

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Selling Helps Excuses and Answers!

John Patterson 1923 — Jeffrey Gitomer 2004

Excuse: The Price is too high.


(1) Patterson 1923: Mr. Merchant, suppose you were renting a home and the landlord told you that he would sell the house to you and you could pay for it through a building and a loan association for the same about per month as you are paying rent. You would not hesitate to buy, would you? In like manner, this cash register would pay for itself in a short time out of what it saves and continue to make you a profit as long as you are in business.

(2) Patterson 1923: I am very glad you mentioned that, Mr. Merchant. Now let us see how you figure the price. Before you can say an article is too high in price, you must first compare it with what you lose by not having it. If your business needs an improvement and you do not buy it, you pay for it just the same.” (Prove that the merchant is paying for the register without possessing it.)

GITOMER 2004: Let me make it real simple. On one side of the flipchart let’s put up “price too high” and “take the lowest bid”. On the other side of the page, tell me what your customer wants. No not your product, what your customer REALLY wants. It may have nothing to do with your product or service.

What do your customers want?

Your customer wants:

  • more sales
  • greater productivity
  • more profit
  • better image
  • more customers
  • loyal employees
  • better morale
  • no hassles
  • more free time
  • notoriety

If you are able to get him or her those items or even one of those items, how significant is price? The more value you provide the less price matters.

Excuse: I want to think about it.


(1) Patterson 1923: That’s a very good idea Mr. Merchant, but exactly what do you want to think about? I am probably at fault in having overlooked something which you have in mind.

(2) Patterson 1923: You say that you are convinced that this register will make a profit for you. Is there any reason, therefore, why you should want to think it over any longer? The quicker this register is installed in your store, the sooner you will commence to enjoy its benefits.

GITOMER 2004: “I want to think about it.”

“Thinking it over” is a stall, not a true objection.

Salesperson: Great! Thinking it over means you’re interested, correct Mr. Jones?

Jones: Yes, I am.

Salesperson: You’re not just saying I want to think about it to get rid of me are you? (Said in a humorous vein).

Jones: Oh no, no, no (laughter).

Salesperson: (seriously) You know Mr. Jones, this is an important decision. A copier is not just a duplicating device. Every time you send a copy out to a customer it reflects your company’s image. I’m sure you agree with me. Is there anyone else in your company you will be thinking it over with? (Meaning: is he deciding alone, or are others involved?)

Jones: No, just me.

Salesperson: I know you are expert in the construction business; your reputation speaks for itself. But I’m an expert in copiers. In my experience in the copier industry over the past six years, I found that most people who think things over develop important questions that they may not have answers for. Since the image of your business is on every copy you make. Why don’t we think it over together so that as you develop questions about the copier I’ll be right here to answer them. Fair enough? Now what was the main thing you wanted to think about? (At this point you will begin to get the real objection(s).)

NOTE: If Mr. Jones had said he was going to think it over with others, you must think it over with all parties in the same room or you’re dead.

50% of the time when the prospect says “I want to think it over” it really means something else is wrong. The other 50% of the time he will buy. The prospect can be sold if you use the right words or phrases.

These are obviously 1923 cash register objections — just read and enjoy them. Pay close attention to the way questions are raised, and thought provoking statements that are made.

Excuse: My clerks are all honest, they would never steal.


(1) Patterson 1923: We don’t claim this register will make a dishonest clerk honest, but it will keep honest clerks hones, and, if a clerk is dishonest, will enable you to know it quicker than any other means.

(2) Patterson 1923: Mr. Merchant, while I have no reason to doubt the honesty of your clerks, should there be one dishonest clerk in your organization, and you don’t provide the means of checking or detecting him, you not only lay yourself open to loss, but you also lay all your honest clerks under suspicion every time there is a shortage.

Excuse: A single drawer register is all I need


(1) Patterson 1923: If you operated four stores, Mr. Merchant, would you put the receipts of all the stores together or keep them each separate? You would keep them separate. You should know just how much business each store was doing and how much money each was making for you, wouldn’t you? Then you should give your clerks the same consideration. This system will give you exact information on the ability, accuracy, honestly, and industry of each clerk in your store.

Excuse: Seventy percent of my business is charge. I am not interested in your cash register.


(1) Patterson 1923: On 30% of your sales, which are for cash, we have the best system for handling these transactions, as you already know. The money paid by customers on their accounts represents 70% of your total income. This register gives you complete protection on this money, because a customer always requires a receipt when paying money on account and will not accept a receipt for a lesser amount than was paid. This register prints the record of the amount paid on the customer’s receipt and also on this retained copy.

Excuse: Your allowance for my old register is not high enough


(1) Patterson 1923: If we offered you a new register and told you that you could pay $15 per year for it for ten years would you buy it? Your old machine has cost you only $15 per year since you have had it!

(2) Patterson 1923: This register of yours is costing you money every day that you continue to use it and now that your judgment has told you to get rid of it, don’t let anything interfere with getting the system which will stop these losses. You would be better off to scrap this register entirely than to delay getting this new system which your judgment tells you is needed.

Excuse: The clerk will not give out the receipt.


(1) Patterson 1923: Mr. Merchant, there are three parties concerned in giving out the receipt, you as proprietor, the customer, and the clerk. If the receipt is not given out, you would not be benefited, would you? The customer would not be benefited either, would he? But the clerks would benefit by not giving out the receipt, wouldn’t he? Then that is the very reason why the receipt should be given out.

(2) Patterson 1923: When you tell your clerks to report at

in the morning, you are sure that it is not


when they get here. It is a matter of supervision, and the same supervision will get a printed receipt to every customer in your store.

GITOMER 2004: It’s fascinating to me that ninety years later this is STILL a problem. Ever see a sign on a cash register that states, “Your purchase is free if we fail to give you a receipt”? There’s a reason and it ain’t because the merchant is concerned one bit about your receipt. He is concerned about his cashier stealing. Same as when Patterson sold the machines.

Excuse: Our present system is fast enough


(1) Patterson 1923: When the men were drafted into the army, they were examined by army doctors. Many of them learned to their surprise that they had weaknesses in their physical systems that would shorten their lives if not corrected. This examination was a good thing for the men. Just so it is a good thing for the merchant to occasionally analyze his business system.

GITOMER 2004: This is the CLASSIC case of “I’m satisfied with my present supplier.”

“I’m satisfied with my present source.” Great, just what you wanted to hear. But don’t get discouraged with this one; it’s actually pretty easy to get an opening and begin a relationship if you can get the prospect talking. Just because he’s is satisfied now, doesn’t mean won’t buy now.

Realize that what your prospect is saying is that their existing supplier is the best they’ve been able to find.

You may have a better product, price, availability for delivery, service, training, or warranty. The prospect is only telling you he’s satisfied from his perspective. He doesn’t really know about you or your company yet.

The prospect is not waiting by the phone for your call. Most people have what you’re selling and are doing business with someone else. They have a source for what you do — and they think they are happy. Satisfied.

Good News: Satisfied people are willing to do business with others. Your challenge is — can you get them to do business with you?

For you statistic buffs, “I’m satisfied with my present source,” ranks second on the all-time prospect objection list. “Price too high,” is number one (and always will be).

When the prospect says “I’m satisfied” they’re really saying:

This is all I know, now.

I don’t want to bother with you.

I’m doing business with someone I like (not necessarily the best).

I’m not telling you the real reason — I’m satisfied is a brush off.

It’s not all that bad. Your prospect is saying is that their existing supplier is the best they’ve been able to find.

You may have a better product, price, availability for delivery, service, training, or warranty. The prospect is only telling you he’s satisfied from his perspective. He doesn’t really know about you or your company yet, BUT don’t give him any reasons to switch until you know why he’s satisfied.

Knowing the reason(s) why the existing relationship is satisfactory will help you understand how to proceed. Knowing those reasons gives you a chance.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, Knock Your Socks Off Selling, and The Patterson Principles of Selling. President of Charlotte-based BuyGitomer, Jeffrey gives seminars and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. His syndicated weekly column, Sales Moves, appears in more than 90 business newspapers, and is read by more than 3,500,000 people. He is the editor of Sales Caffeine — a free weekly email sales newsletter that features Jeffrey and sales experts from all over the world. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to —

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from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112