Sales Veteran Shares Door Openers

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

September 21, 2005

3 Min Read
Sales Veteran Shares Door Openers

The recession is waning but companies still are cutting costs. Prospective clients are wary of salespeople. Everybodys multitasking and no one wants to take the time to talk with yet another cold caller. So whats the key to getting decision-makers to actually talk to you? Dont sell like everyone else, says consultant Jack Lindsley of the franchised sales training company, Sandler Sales Institute. Lindsley is a 30-year veteran of the telecom industry as well.

Real differentiation comes in taking a nontraditional approach to prospecting, to forming strategic alliances, to networking, and to referral-asking, Lindsley says. Lindsley will address each of these points in his interactive session on Wednesday in hopes that he can get solutions providers to reevaluate old methods that no longer apply in telecom sales.

At the session titled, Break the Rules and Close More Sales, the sales expert will discuss so-called door openers such as pattern interrupts. These, he explains, are ways of doing something differently from what the prospect typically expects on a sales call. Start every prospect call with an approach that is the opposite of what the traditional salesperson would do, Lindsley reiterates.

For example, Lindsley wants salespeople to forgo the gratuitous, insincere Hi, how are you doing today? greeting in favor of I bet I caught you in the middle of something. Did I? This lets the person at the other end of the line know that you know he or she is busy. Then, Lindsley says, address the persons biggest fear, which is, how long will this call take? Head off that question with, Give me half a minute, Ill tell you why I called and then you can decide whether we should continue the conversation. Is that fair enough?

When prospecting, then, the unconventional way is to set the rules of engagement up front, get both parties to agree, continue the conversation, and earn an invitation to meet with the prospect in person.

Developing strategic alliances is another way for solutions providers to set themselves apart from the pack, Lindsley says. Ive got two or three strategic partners that dont compete directly with me … that can refer business back to me, he notes. An agent, for example, can partner with a networking specialist and a systems integrator to provide clients a more well-rounded set of offerings.

Next up, Lindsley will present a new view of networking, which he says salespeople are doing all wrong. Typically its salespeople selling salespeople … and giving pitches to whomever will listen to them and passing out cards, he says. The more effective technique, he says, is to avoid as much as possible using the words I, me or we. What Im doing is making it all about them so the emphasis isnt on me … Then, when the tables turn, which they invariably will, on you, you almost downplay it, Lindsley says. I downplay what I do … [and] I dont hand them a business card unless they request it.

Lindsley makes it his mission to talk only to three people at a networking event.

Finally, Lindsley will proffer advice for more effective referral-asking, a surefire way to land more business when used with the other methods Lindsley will share during his 50-minute discussion.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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