To All The Poor Salespeople...

by max5ty
18 replies
Some of you have a hard time walking into a business and trying to sell them something.

Here's a sneaky back door way to sell them loads of stuff without them realizing you're selling them anything.

I gave this idea to someone a couple months ago...she's so loaded with business right now she can't keep up.

It's not a new idea. Hopefully it's one you reconsider.

Someone (we'll call Susan), had an idea she wanted to start doing. She asked me what I thought. I said it sounded like something that was doable...but it had to be tested.

Actually, at best I considered the idea a loser. Didn't want to tell her that though because anyone that's motivated enough can do just about anything with any idea.

I'm all for motivated people who have the energy to get out there and try something.

Here's the advice I gave her...I knew she'd not only realize her plan wasn't going to work, but I also knew 2 things would happen:

1. She'd learn a lot from talking to business owners

2. She'd get business

I told her to stop at a business, talk to the owner and explain she had an idea, but wanted to pick the brain of some business owners before she went all out implementing it. In other words, tell them she didn't want to waste a lot of time and money if the idea wasn't going to work.

Long story short, here's what happened.

First business she stopped at the guy wanted to talk for hours explaining why her idea wasn't going to work. She asked him what he thought would work. He told her...then said he couldn't find help...

Second place the woman said she liked the idea, but was really wanting someone that could do....

Third place, the guy said he'd consider something like that...but would only pay so much. Also he had just started another business and needed someone to help him.

Now...

Business owners are begging for help. They're turned off by every Tom, Dick and Harry trying to sell them something. They'll fall all over themselves to give free advice. Win...win.

Susan found a sneaky secret way to get business that keeps her very busy.

You can do it too.

Quit selling...start asking and giving, you'll start selling more.
#selling #stop
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

    Some of you have a hard time walking into a business and trying to sell them something.

    Here's a sneaky back door way to sell them loads of stuff without them realizing you're selling them anything.

    Susan found a sneaky secret way to get business that keeps her very busy.

    You can do it too.

    Quit selling...start asking and giving, you'll start selling more
    .
    Max; A few things.
    1) It was actually a fine idea, and I'm glad you shared it.
    2) This isn't really an alternative to selling. This is simply a better way of selling. A better approach. The advantage is that the barriers are down. Now a sale can happen. She's just asking questions, gathering opinions, and then leaving openings for the prospect to ask for help.

    If that isn't great selling, I don't know what is.

    You said:
    without them realizing you're selling them anything.
    I read that a lot here. On the forum and from educated sales people.
    That's the wrong view.
    You're not selling them anything until they are ready to buy.
    Until then, you are asking questions, finding opportunities, clarifying problems (that you may have a solution for), and them showing that you are the obvious person to help. That's selling, at least advanced selling.

    Selling (at least advanced selling isn't a pushing process, it's a pulling process.

    You can sell in a way that takes away the natural defensive barriers to sales pitches.

    You've heard the saying "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink"?
    For most salespeople, they push the horse to water and keep shoving the horses nose in the water. horses don't like that...even if they would normally take a drink of water.

    Advanced salespeople? We just give the horse a salt block. The horse appreciates it, is happy, and very soon...that horse gets thirsty.
    And then the horse is looking for water.

    And you own the nearest drinking hole...

    That's what this lady has done.

    I mixed a few metaphors there...but you brought up a great example, I think.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    If you dont mind my participating for a post Max...

    I agree wholeheartedly. And with Claude, this isnt "not selling", its the highest form of it. I always think in terms of "form" , some people have good form about their selling, and what you just pointed out to me is a higher, more masterful form.

    -John
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    I could see this working really well, but it does depend on the "idea" that you present them. If the idea is too far fetched they may think you are a total moron. Then again, if its a great marketing idea, many business owners will probably think it won't work simply because most are not great marketers.

    All in all though, this is a great idea for striking up a conversation with a local business owners without sounding like you are trying to sell them something. Thanks for posting!
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    This is a nice approach that I had considered some time ago but never put it into action, thanks for sharing this so that I can think on it once more. From my own experience, it is a proven fact that people like to "talk" more than they like to "listen". Better than that, people like to "give suggestions". I don't think anyone can resist when you ask them about their opinion on something. They will start talking and giving suggestions until you ask them to stop. This is also a proven fact on this very forum.

    You may not be able to sell to everyone you approach but you will be able to establish a connection with the ones who talk to you and such a connection is as valuable as a paid client in my opinion.

    I think this approach can work great for local directory/deal type sites and that was what I was considering this for. The next time I build a local directory, I will start with this approach.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Nail Yener View Post

      it is a proven fact that people like to "talk" more than they like to "listen". Better than that, people like to "give suggestions". I don't think anyone can resist when you ask them about their opinion on something. They will start talking and giving suggestions until you ask them to stop. This is also a proven fact on this very forum.
      That's a huge part of selling. If you ask someone's opinion, that is a great compliment. How often do most of us get asked our opinion? Not often.

      It's impossible to think bad thoughts about someone who just asked your opinion. And It's nearly impossible not to give your opinion.

      The second half of this is listening to the answer. Listening when someone is telling you what they think is another huge compliment.

      You said "They will start talking and giving suggestions until you ask them to stop."

      For some reason, that just struck me as funny. Maybe because there is a little truth to it. And now, I'll stop....maybe.
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      • Profile picture of the author socialentry
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        That's a huge part of selling. If you ask someone's opinion, that is a great compliment. How often do most of us get asked our opinion? Not often.

        It's impossible to think bad thoughts about someone who just asked your opinion. And It's nearly impossible not to give your opinion.

        The second half of this is listening to the answer. Listening when someone is telling you what they think is another huge compliment.

        You said "They will start talking and giving suggestions until you ask them to stop."

        For some reason, that just struck me as funny. Maybe because there is a little truth to it. And now, I'll stop....maybe.
        I tried this for cold calling, but

        midway through the call, I'm sometime like "this guy has 180 degrees view of what we want to do".

        Sometime, they go on a tangent for 5 minutes, and then
        I try my best to just say something that links to what they just said but it's hard to stay congruent and say "OK, thanks for your opinion, but its wrong because XYZ, when would be the best time for you to receive our advisor"?

        How do you simply get back the control of the convo without arguing or fighting too much to establish yourself as a figure of autority again?
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

          I tried this for cold calling, but

          midway through the call, I'm sometime like "this guy has 180 degrees view of what we want to do".

          Sometime, they go on a tangent for 5 minutes, and then
          I try my best to just say something that links to what they just said but it's hard to stay congruent and say "OK, thanks for your opinion, but its wrong because XYZ, when would be the best time for you to receive our advisor"?

          How do you simply get back the control of the convo without arguing or fighting too much to establish yourself as a figure of autority again?
          I understand why you asked that question. The answer is easy. Don't argue with them on the call. Don't say it's their "Opinion". To them, it makes perfect sense, and it will start an argument.

          For example; "You think the world is round. Thanks for your opinion but..."
          An argument will ensue and nobody will win.

          If they say something that comes out of left field, just say; "That's interesting. Earlier you said that..." and change the subject.

          Or "That may be something we can help you with. And I think we have a couple other ideas you'll find fit your situation. Will you be there tomorrow at 2PM?"

          See? You just pass by it. I promise, when you get there, you start at the beginning again, and just steer into the idea you have.

          Frankly it would take a book to explain exactly how to do that. A book that comes close is Spin Selling.

          Want to show that you are an Authority? Never argue. Never debate. If you do, at best you are on equal footing. And you will always lose. Because now learning isn't taking place (for either of you).

          Authorities say "That's interesting" and leave it at that. Then they move the questions into areas that the can be of service. Most of this applies more during an appointment. There is more invested, and you're already there.

          But...you said the prospect is 180 degree from what you want. Sometimes this is so far off base, and you don't think there is any common ground (in other words, there is no reason for them to buy). Wouldn't you want to know before you waste your time with an appointment?

          Personally, if they have the money, and are interested in more money...I can usually turn them around. Not always, but usually. They just need to be gently shown better areas of opportunity.
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  • Profile picture of the author Arzak
    So what was her idea?
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by Arzak View Post

      So what was her idea?
      She's a website designer. She works with Joomla and makes some really beautiful sites.

      She wanted to make a website for some of the smaller car lots that didn't have one. She thought if she focused on that niche she could get some business. She also had a component that she added to the website for the dealer to list their cars.

      Now, if you know anything about the car business, you know there are 2 or 3 companies that pretty well have the whole website thing locked up. They offer a free website and hosting, and all the dealer has to do is scan a VIN and it automatically loads the car to their site with a break down of all the options. Pretty simple, and they can get all that for $299.00 a year...hard to beat.

      The companies that offer these low cost packages make most of their income by adding options like taking a dealers inventory and shooting it out to all the places on the internet that list cars for sale. The dealer can easily pay several hundred more a month for this.

      So the website thing is a pretty hard sell.

      What she discovered very quickly was the dealers weren't interested in a website...and most of them were starting to catch on that just about everybody goes to craigslist now as their first stop when looking for a car.

      Even with simple websites, most smaller dealers don't have anyone on staff that just works the internet. There's nobody that can take the pictures...the dealers usually end up doing that themselves, and most don't have a lot of time, and some (more than imaginable) have no clue how to use craigslist, etc.

      There's quite a few that really want help.

      One dealer told her there was a guy that had a business where all he did was go around to a couple dealers and take pictures of their cars and load them to craigslist...all for free. When a car that was on craigslist sold, the dealer would give him $50.00. That can be a very profitable business, and it's one that is recurring continuously.

      He said he'd be interested in doing something like that...cha ching.

      One thing most people discover pretty quickly when they get out and start talking to business owners is what they really want and need. If you're flexible enough to be open minded you can find a lot of gold just waiting to be mined.

      I'm not saying you'll become a millionaire doing something like taking pictures and loading them to craigslist...I do think you could make a pretty comfortable income though. Who knows...if you're motivated enough there isn't a limit on how far you could go.

      Thanks for all the other input.

      Sorry for rambling on so long...hopefully someone can get something out of this post.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    That technique inadvertently landed me into my photography career.

    I was a freelance illustrator. But I had an idea for a bridal promotion and knew a succesful wedding photographer. I went to him sincerely looking for his thoughts on my idea. He quickly told me why my idea wouldn't fly. That led to, "so kid, what else are you up to these days?" and "why don't you come with me?" One thing led to another and I ended up in the wedding industry.

    So does it work as an "in"? Sure does. It got me into my career, you could say.

    As an aside, in hindsight, I think when he told me why my idea wouldn't work, his judgment was based on ego and self preservation. I now think my idea would've flown. In fact I've seen people try to do something like it over the years.
    Signature
    "Best book on answering objections I have seen... it's for photographers but it has brilliant techniques you can use in any business." - Claude Whitacre. When They Say That, You Say This (Amazon Kindle)
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      That technique inadvertently landed me into my photography career.

      I was a freelance illustrator. But I had an idea for a bridal promotion and knew a succesful wedding photographer. I went to him sincerely looking for his thoughts on my idea. He quickly told me why my idea wouldn't fly. That led to, "so kid, what else are you up to these days?" and "why don't you come with me?" One thing led to another and I ended up in the wedding industry.

      So does it work as an "in"? Sure does. It got me into my career, you could say.
      Have you (and the other guys) noticed how these examples keep resulting in job offers?

      Every couple of days someone stops by my retail store and says "Are you hiring?". Sometimes they just stick their head in the door and give me the main points of a complete sentence..."You hiring?".

      The answer is no. The answer will always be no.

      But...if someone walked in and asked me questions about my business, asked my opinion, listened to what I said, and said that they would love to learn my business? I'd hire that person in a second. I may even adopt them.

      Anyone showing intellectual curiosity, and interest in our business? That person is worth investing time in.
      It's how I got a job with my main retail mentor. I asked if he could teach me the business. I told him I would work for free, if he wanted. I just knew he was the guy I wanted to learn from. He hired me on the spot. He had no openings at all, but so what?

      I made the opening.

      Another thing I see as common in these posts; The person truly wanted to learn from the mentor. It wasn't a ruse. It was sincere. I'm just glad my mentor was bright and was fearless when sharing information with me.

      Interesting stuff, I think.
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Every couple of days someone stops by my retail store and says "Are you hiring?". Sometimes they just stick their head in the door and give me the main points of a complete sentence..."You hiring?".

        The answer is no. The answer will always be no.

        But...if someone walked in and asked me questions about my business,.

        I can relate. because we have the "good" leads we get walk ins looking for a job all the time.
        These are usually salespeople from other companies.

        After we ask them where they are from, we tell them that nobody from that company has ever
        been able to do the job properly. They have all been fired.
        We tell them this probably isn't for them, they don't have the skill and its time
        for them to leave. Thanks for stopping bye.

        At this point, they get up and leave. -- and good ridense --

        Or, they fight for the job. ... Those are the ones we will usually give a chance.

        What i really find funny, is everyone who fights says they are number 1 or in the top
        5 sales people of the current company they are at ... Obviously a lie
        or i would have a room full of nothing but super stars.

        But I do find it funny and i pretend i never heard it. After all, I lied to them first.

        Side Note: Learning how to hire properly takes just as much learned skill as sales.

        I used to suck at hiring ... and firing. I am better at it now, but the learning curve was
        pretty steep.
        Signature

        Selling Ain't for Sissies
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

          I can relate. because we have the "good" leads we get walk ins looking for a job all the time.
          These are usually salespeople from other companies.

          After we ask them where they are from, we tell them that nobody from that company has ever
          been able to do the job properly. They have all been fired.
          We tell them this probably isn't for them, they don't have the skill and its time
          for them to leave. Thanks for stopping bye.

          At this point, they get up and leave. -- and good ridense --

          Or, they fight for the job. ... Those are the ones we will usually give a chance.

          What i really find funny, is everyone who fights says they are number 1 or in the top
          5 sales people of the current company they are at ... Obviously a lie
          or i would have a room full of nothing but super stars.

          But I do find it funny and i pretend i never heard it. After all, I lied to them first.

          Side Note: Learning how to hire properly takes just as much learned skill as sales.

          I used to suck at hiring ... and firing. I am better at it now, but the learning curve was
          pretty steep.
          First..Welcome back. You were missed, and I hope all is well with you.

          Yeah, everyone is (or was) the top salesman....with the company they are leaving.

          Nearly every guy that's 20 years old says he's a Black Belt. Before Bruce Lee, nearly every guy said he was a Golden Gloves champion.

          Nearly everyone that asks for a refund...after a year...says that they only used the vacuum cleaner twice. Always twice. It's like they went to a seminar on what to say.

          Everyone that cancelled an in home sale with me was just laid off their job that day. I caused so many layoffs, I am surprised they didn't have me arrested.

          Every gambler claims they win more often than they lose.

          Every lazy guy that doesn't get the job done says he's a "Perfectionist".

          Human nature is fun to watch sometimes.

          Yeah, hiring is a totally different skill set. One I haven't mastered at all.

          Even though I'm a Black Belt, and a perfectionist.
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          • Profile picture of the author misterme
            Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

            What i really find funny, is everyone who fights says they are number 1 or in the top 5 sales people of the current company they are at ... Obviously a lie or i would have a room full of nothing but super stars.
            You Do have a room full of super stars... there simply were reasons they excelled where they were that don't translate to the new sales room. Like, all the other sales people at the previous firm sucked. Or they had an affinity for the previous services so it clicked. They had the personality for it. Etc and etc.

            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            Everyone that cancelled an in home sale with me was just laid off their job that day. I caused so many layoffs, I am surprised they didn't have me arrested.
            Your prospects got off lucky. My cancellations are many times due to "family emergencies." Sometimes they even know ahead of time that they will have a family emergency and tell me days in advance they need to cancel their appointment because of that family emergency.
            Signature
            "Best book on answering objections I have seen... it's for photographers but it has brilliant techniques you can use in any business." - Claude Whitacre. When They Say That, You Say This (Amazon Kindle)
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            • Originally Posted by misterme View Post

              Your prospects got off lucky. My cancellations are many times due to "family emergencies." Sometimes they even know ahead of time that they will have a family emergency and tell me days in advance they need to cancel their appointment because of that family emergency.
              Funny stuff. I had one lady who's grandmother died 2 times.
              Signature
              Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
              - Jack Trout
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              • Profile picture of the author Tracy411
                Originally Posted by Joe Ditzel View Post

                Funny stuff. I had one lady who's grandmother died 2 times.
                Well, she would have 2 of them I know what you mean though.

                Tracy
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            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by misterme View Post

              Your prospects got off lucky. My cancellations are many times due to "family emergencies." Sometimes they even know ahead of time that they will have a family emergency and tell me days in advance they need to cancel their appointment because of that family emergency.
              Family emergencies and funerals were why they cancelled the appointment.

              Layoffs were why they cancelled the sale.

              For the past 30 years, I've been the major cause of deaths and job losses in my area. Somebody should stop me.:rolleyes:
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              • Profile picture of the author midasman09
                Banned
                Re: USED CAR DEALERS;

                1) The Owners are usually ON THE Lot.
                2) They DON'T have Time to do "promotion" stuf or don't KNOW how!
                3) They HAVE MONEY for something that will HELP them sell cars.

                Here's something I helped a guy make money with a few yrs ago;

                Take Photos, each week, of vehicles that have arrived on the Lot. Put them up on the dealers website. At the time he charged $10 per car and...had a Route of Used Car Dealers he contacted the SAME TIME every week...and, he only "worked" 4 days a week, Mon thru Thurs.

                You could probably get more nowadays.

                Don Alm...."Idea-Guy"
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