Tel-E Sales Tip of the Week

July 5, 2009

Published By Art Sobczak, Business By Phone Inc.
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This Week's Tip: 
How to Sound More Credible and Persuasive


It was finally my turn in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I was hoping the simple transaction wouldn’t take too long. The computer had other ideas.

While a clerk, a manager, and a person who, I guess, is paid to simply observe such things and smirk tried to sort things out, I figured I’d entertain myself by watching what was going on at the other windows.

Next to me a slight confrontation was unfolding. A woman trying to register her car apparently didn’t have the appropriate proof of insurance. Spread out on the counter I saw an ad ripped from the Yellow Pages, a piece of notebook paper with numbers scribbled on it, and a refrigerator magnet with an insurance agent’s name. "Well, this is the company I’m getting the insurance from," she insisted, pointing to the magnet, " … and here’s what I’m getting," she said as she shoved the paper in the clerk’s face.

"Sorry, maam, I need actual proof of insurance."

Still not backing down, she was more insistent. "Oh, come on. Look at this stuff. I have the insurance. I just don’t have the stupid piece of paper with me that you want."

The guy behind the counter looked at her with steely eyes, squinted them slightly, leaned forward, and matter-of-factly said, "Lady, the STATE OF NEBRASKA will not allow me to give you a registration without actual proof of insurance."

She finally bought that one, and muttered something about his, and his mother’s genealogy as she stomped away.

I guess she figured she could argue with this guy, but fighting the entire state was over her head.

This illustrates a sales and influence point we can and do use:

Absent third parties of authority usually carry more weight than what we say, or can substantiate what we say.

We use this in different ways.

You can say that your system can increase productivity by 20%. But it’s more impressive to state that "Jan Halston at Allied Engineering saw a 22% increase in production output which he said was directly attributable to the system."

Action Step: Think of actual testimonials, case studies, and success stories. Get permission to use company and individual names. But even without names this still carries weight by saying, "I had a customer the other day who said …"

I typically roll my eyes when I hear, "We’re the most respected in the business," or, "We’re the leaders in …" The skeptic in me is thinking, "According to whom?" What really carries clout, though, is something like, "According to a study done by Widget News Magazine, we are rated number one in customer satisfaction."

Action Step: Collect all the studies, news articles, and other information mentioning your company and products. Compile according to the categories and situations you can use.

If a savvy customer detects you can give him a lower price, he will keep grinding, trying to extract it from you. However, it’s more difficult when the price is set by the Corporate Pricing Committee, and is based on a complex algorithm, market prices for raw materials, and the phases of the moon. Of course, your hands are tied in this case. You get the picture.

Action Step: Think of the situations you encounter where you are challenged. Prices, benefits … then determine if there are other people or entities you can use to substantiate–not make excuses for–the way things are.

Go and Have Your Best Week Ever!




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