Category Archives: salesmanship

Where did that come from?

Explaining sales is hard to do

As a wise marketing agency executive once said, “I know that half of our advertising works, I’m just not sure which half.”

I have the same impression of my own efforts at sales and marketing. Something’s working, I’m just not sure what.

So how do you keep doing what’s working, if you don’t know what’s working. You keep pushing, testing, monitoring and adjusting to continue getting better results. It will never be a straight line between cause and effect.

When you toss a message bottle in the ocean the ripples ricochet and send it in many different directions. It may touch the shore miles away or bump a passing boat at sea before it’s picked up and the message is read. And that person may not even care. Will they toss it back or send it to someone you intended it for? I hope you threw a lot of message bottles into the ocean. (It’s a metaphor. Please, no more plastic bottles in the ocean.)

It’s worth remembering the mysterious magic of The 4Ps of Effective SalesmanshipPatient, Persistent, Polite & Persuasive and applying those principles yourself.  They still work for me.

As you may have noticed, I’ve published several books recently for entrepreneurs and about entrepreneurs and I’m trying to follow my own advice. Be Patient, Persistent, Polite & Persuasive in applying the sales and marketing tactics that are most appropriate to the product and the target customer/reader. But it's strange how sales work.

Here’s an example.  My royalty statements recently showed a sale of 152 E-Book copies of my novel, Merger Maniac. That was unusual, so I drilled down into the details.  Apparently a bookseller in South Africa bought them from my U.S. distributor for re-sale to an online education site in the U.K. I hope they didn't think it was a text book on mergers. It’s a novel! About crime and corruption in the international computer business of the 1980s. I haven’t seen the reviews yet. And I haven’t been able to track down the buyer or the 152 new readers.

So I don’t know what buttons to push to make it happen again. I’ll just keep pushing the same buttons and hope I’m hitting the ones that seem to be working. Reviewing results and tracking down the details to improve performance wherever I can.

You should continue to apply the same tactics to your own sales and marketing efforts.  And enjoy the results even if you can’t explain them.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph

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High pressure sales tactics

Because they work

beach resortIf you have recently strolled the beach near any southern resort hotel, you have probably been introduced to the “body snatchers,” timeshare salesmen offering attractive incentives – free dinner, golf, Cirque de Soleil tickets – for you to attend a brief sales presentation at their resort.

And then you can easily waste half a day being held hostage by a hierarchy of high pressure sales people persuading you to buy-in to the timeshare concept. It can turn into a very unpleasant vacation experience. Or you can learn something useful to take home for your own business.

Here are my thoughts, after four weeks in Mexico listening to the pitches and the complaints.

For Sellers:

  1. Train sales people well and ensure consistent use of the most effective tactics and pitches.
  2. Remember that every question, problem or complaint can be resolved by selling a solution – an upgrade, a new product, a new service package.
  3. Keep all the initial prices high enough to allow for negotiated discounts and package deals and still leave room for generous buyer incentives and sales commissions.
  4. Ensure sales reps are careful not to oversell or promise too much.
  5. Build in a process for confirming and clarifying the terms and conditions to ensure customer understanding and acceptance before sign-off.
  6. Ensure that operations and customer service staff have the same understanding of product and service offerings and can effectively resolve any “misunderstandings” that may be perceived as sales staff having over-promised and under-delivered.
  7. Generally, avoid the negative customer perceptions from high pressure sales tactics, but keep the effectiveness of a focused, motivated, well-trained and well-managed sales force.

For Buyers:

  1. Push past the prepared pitch and the recommended sales solution to every problem.
  2. Gain control of the agenda and lead them to your preferred solutions.
  3. Get all your questions answered clearly before making any decisions.
  4. Be as aggressive and persistent as the sellers are.
  5. Get it in writing. Read it carefully before signing.

All basic principles that you already knew, but reinforced by high-pressure timeshare sales tactics.

Be better. Do better.  (And enjoy your winter vacation in the south.)

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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Good salesmanship still works

And you can’t fake sincerity

car_salesmanAmbushed at the service counter. But it was such a smooth, subtle switch to the sales pitch that I was persuaded to sit down and listen.

Before I got out of the car at the dealership service bay, I noticed the well-dressed young man coming to greet me who did not look like a service technician. He said, “Good morning, Mr. Chatterson, let me check you in to get your winter tires installed”, as he handed me the service ticket, “but you’re on a short list of customers this morning that I wanted to talk to about trading in your car today. It has low mileage and good trade-in value and we have some exceptional deals right now that would make it easy for you to trade up to a new one.”

How’s that for a well delivered up-sell? Much more appealing than “Would you like fries with that?”

He handed me a cup of freshly brewed coffee and led me to his desk. How could I resist. I’m an entrepreneur and business consultant and I was appreciating the demonstration of The Four P’s of Salesmanship: Polite, Patient, Persistent, & Persuasive. He almost had me into a new convertible on a cold windy winter day in Montreal. The deal was very good this time of year!

But then they fell back on the objectionable old auto sales routine of “Let me introduce you to the Sales Manager, maybe he can do even better.” Older guy, more expensive suit, big hearty handshake, high energy, fast talker and “Very pleased to meet you, Mr. Chatterson.” A forced fake friendliness that sent me back to the service department for another coffee.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

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Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.