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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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One Simple Sales Tip


I was able to get some quality time with my old man down the cape over Memorial Day weekend. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily describe him as a big fan of idle chatter, but if he sees a chance to impart some wisdom on his son, he usually isn’t afraid to share.Sales Tips, Cold Calling, Prospects 6 5 Craig 

During his career he worked for a commercial lumber company as their credit officer. In this role, he wasn’t required to glad hand everyone he met like the typical salesperson. His primary responsibility was determining if a potential customer brought in by the sales team was a credit risk and worthy of long term partnership with his company.

Needless to say most of the sales team didn’t love him because he had final say as to whether or not they were going to get a deal. On top of that, most of the potential customers were a bit weary of him because he wanted them to open up the books to get a sense of their financial standing… never a fun discussion.

What he learned over the years was that people were naturally very protective over their business and weren’t particularly pleased if my father offered any kind of critique on how they ran their business. At the end of the day though, he had a job to do and those tough questions were critical in determining if his prospective clients were worthy of being business partners.

So here’s my father, not much of a chatty Kathy, trying to get overprotective business owners to share the nitty gritty financials on their company. (Man would I have loved to be a fly on that wall!)

What became abundantly clear to him over the years was that he needed to establish some amount of trust in order to get what he needed. How did he do that? Ask questions about them! The first question he would ask most business owners was “how did you start the business?”  He said that within a half hour, he had learned the prospects life story and all from asking a few questions. Not only that, but by the time he had to ask the tough financial questions they had let their guard down and he was able to obtain what he was looking for. And guess what, for whatever reason they liked him! My dad may have never said a word about his life, but nearly every person he met with after an initial meeting liked him and they never had any idea why.

Although my father wasn’t an experienced sales guy he taught me a valuable sales lesson. Nothing is easier than getting people talking about themselves. You don’t have to be a natural salesperson to figure that out.  It doesn’t matter if it’s how they built their company or their pain as it relates to any business issue. Just find that hot button and RUN with it!


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