Posted by: Bill von Achen | July 9, 2010

Voodoo Sales Wisdom

We’ve all heard the expression “Nothing happens until someone sells something!” That well-worn truth is never far from the minds of most business owners, in good economic times or bad. But what steps can we take to make our sales efforts more productive, and maybe even a bit more fun?

In the current issue of Inc. Magazine, reporter John Grossman interviews David Rosen, who may not be the world’s most famous salesperson, but who has to be the most enthusiastic one I’ve ever met. Rosen, who sells a half million dollars of wine by phone each year from his home office in Cleveland, shared with Grossman some of his lessons on sales excellence in the article “There’s No Such Thing As A Wrong Number.”

The article offers nine nuggets of Rosen’s “voodoo sales wisdom,” but I’ve summarized below six of those items that I think most of us can relate to and readily apply to our own situations. (And if you think you can’t benefit from these simple lessons, refer back to the first line of this post.)

There’s No Such Thing as a Wrong Number:  Rosen sees every chance encounter as an opportunity to make a connection with a prospect. That attitude extends even to callers on his incoming toll-free phone line that have dialed him by mistake. According to Rosen, more than 80% of those “wrong number” callers eventually buy something from him.

Cold-Calling is a Matter of Degree:  There’s no such thing as a cold-call, if you take the trouble to get to know your prospect beforehand. The Internet and business networking sites like LinkedIn can provide enough pre-call information to help you break through the in-bound clutter to make a connection with a prospect.

Respect Gatekeepers:  Don’t try to breeze past administrative assistants and others who initially block access to your prospect. Instead, use that contact to get information about your prospect that will make it easier to sell to him/her, once you get through. And building a relationship with the gatekeeper can often improve your chances of eventually gaining access to your prospect.

Customers Know They Are Customers:  Prospective customers and clients are more savvy than ever, and view most sales pitches with suspicion. But rather than going stealth and trying to mask his purpose, Rosen incorporates self-deprecating humor into his sales pitch that simultaneously makes his intentions clear while disarming his prospects.

Nothing is More Valuable Than a Good Referral:  Of the nearly 400 people who bought wine from Rosen in 2009, more than 75% were referrals from other satisfied customers, and more than 80% of his total sales could be traced to referrals. His biggest referral success? A single customer has provided referrals leading to 38 additional customers!

A Good Salesperson Does More Than Sell:  Effective salespeople are successful because they know that people buy from people. Rosen holds up his end of the bargain by delivering outstanding service, keeping his promises, going above and beyond whenever possible and, perhaps most important, being a good listener.

For more “voodoo sales wisdom,” access the complete text of “There’s No Such Thing As A Wrong Number” through our Resources page at www.bestpracticesforbusiness.com/resources and by clicking on the title under the heading “Sales/Sales Management.”

What sales wisdom can you share?  Feel free to post your comments and ideas here.  Thanks!


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