Gaining an Edge in Sales

If your livelihood depends on sales or commission, you most likely are in constant pursuit of new ways to get an edge.While the following four tips are not new, they may serve as a reminder for those who know what it means to “close.”

There’s A Person Under ThereMy former sales trainer once said to me, “Walt, people buy from people.”  That statement has stuck with me over the years because I would often fall into the trap of selling to an organization rather than the individual from that organization. My sales approach completely changed when I got it in my head that I was having a conversation with another human being (not a million-dollar conglomerate). This shift in mindset will allow you to relax a bit and do your job more effectively.

Don’t Assume the WorstA prospect completely caught me off guard one day by doing something unheard of – he said, “yes.”  I didn’t have to fight, persuade, cajole—nothing. There a moment of silence followed by stammering (on my part, of course).  My sales rebuttal was on speed-dial, but I didn’t need it. The lesson is don’t assume that the answer will always be “no” and don’t assume that you’re a bother.  In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m shocked that people turn down my company’s services.  Have a bit more faith in yourself and in what sells.

It May Be A Bad DayIt’s a pretty frustrating workday when a prospect is rude and shoos you away. I had this very experience on a call one day. Months later, I decided to call the same company again (I’m a glutton for punishment). As before, I anticipated that the prospect would treat me poorly, however, I was met with something quite different. He was chipper, friendly and receptive.  “Hey, Walt send me some info.  I’m very interested”, he said. It’s was like this guy transformed into a whole new person. The lesson is some of your sales-calls may land on a bad day. Give it some time and try it again.

Respect the Terms of Your ProspectIf your customer tells you to call back another day, resist the urge to “seize the moment” by launching into your pitch. Instead, ask that you be penciled into their calendar and follow up at that time. When the scheduled day arrives, what are the chances that you will be able to connect with this person? From my experience, the chances will be slim. Why offer such unproductive advice, you say? Understand that when your prospect gives contact-instructions, abide by them. You’ll gain credibility when honoring their wishes. Also, you stand to gain more leverage – especially if the person fails to show up. I’ve found that if I’m repeatedly “stood up,” my potential client will start to feel bad and raise the priority of our missed meetings. A meeting with your key client is all but guaranteed when you maintain a positive, attitude when all of this is happening.

Walter Dailey is an experienced marketing professional. He is the lead consultant and executive producer at Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in developing jingles, radio ads and automotive advertisingfor small businesses throughout North America.  Ask Walter your questions at