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By Harvey Mackay
When I was a kid, one of my favorite ballplayers was Eddie Stanky.
He had a lifetime batting average of .268. Hardly the stuff of
legends. The dish on Stanky was, "He can't hit. He can't run. He
can't field. He can't throw. He just knows how to beat you."
They called Reggie Jackson "Mr. October." He called himself, "The
straw that stirs the drink." Both descriptions were accurate.
Jackson came alive when the World Series was on the line.
Great players thrive under pressure. There's a moment in almost
every game when it could go either way. It's called "crunch time."
How you react when that moment comes is what really matters.
There's a "crunch time" in sales, too.
Any salesperson can go through the routine part of a sales call
without much trouble. Opening banter. Formal pitch. Questions and
I was talking with a top-notch sales pro the other day, and he told
me, "It doesn't take Zig Zigler to write up an order that falls into
your lap. Ninety-nine percent of the time I do everything pretty
much the same as everyone else and I get pretty much the same
results. What I do in the other five minutes is what determines
where my kids go to college."
Every sales job is different. Whatever your line, it still comes
down to the same thing: the moment of truth, the part the whole sale
hinges on. How you handle it separates the superstar from the bench
You can carry out a textbook sales call, but if you make your pitch
yet blow the close, you don't make the sale.
Sometimes the most important part is in the approach. You may have
only a few seconds to convince your prospect that he or she would
find it worthwhile to listen to you.
Many of you are dealing in price situations and your company is
never the low cost supplier. Don't kick yourself when you come home
because you think you can't sell your high-priced product. Think of
what a miserable job it is to work for the company that's always the
lowest cost producer. Haggling over pennies. Cutting corners on
quality. Disappointing performance. Unhappy customers.
Some of the highest paid sales pros work for the highest price
vendors. They're able to convince their prospects that it's to their
advantage to pay the extra money.
"Mr./Ms. Customer, let me tell you about the team that backs up this
product. We put our resources into making it and training the people
behind it. That makes us a little different from the others. We pay
more to get more. More quality. More research. Better reliability.
Better performance. Better service. Better resale. Better people. We
don't just sell it and walk away. We'll be there for you. Always. It
will cost a little more now, but it's going to cost a lot less in
the long run."
It's called the value-added approach.
There are salespeople who use it so successfully they make it the
centerpiece of their presentation.
They wait for the prospect to make the inevitable price objection
and then use their response as the launching pad for their close.
They take pride in selling products that cost more than the
competition. They're convinced they're providing their customers
with the best value for the money. Instead of being defensive, they
go on the offensive.
Did I say every sales job is different? Well, so is every sales
situation. It's not always easy knowing when "crunch time" will
arrive. Is it when objections are raised? Is it getting to talk to
the right people? Is it the resale after a customer's so-so
experience the first time around?
Many salespeople spend their entire careers learning a
paint-by-the-numbers approach without really understanding the
selling process. There comes a time when you have to reach beyond
the obvious if you're going to connect with the prospect.
In sports, it's called hitting the sweet spot. It takes a lot of
practice to do it consistently. But if you can do it, you'll never
be satisfied with anything else.
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