What You Need to Know About...Fishing for Business

By Anne Miller
The following story came to me over the Internet and has a lot to say about the traits, talents, and strategies of what it takes to succeed today in sales.

A young man from Texas moves to California and goes to a large department store for a job.

Manager says: “Have any sales experience?”

Fellow replies: “Yes, I sold some back home.”

Manager liked him, hired him, and said, “You start tomorrow. I’ll come down at the end of the day to see how you did.”

The new hire’s day was rough, but he got through it. The sales manager came down as promised at the end of the day.

“How many sales did you make?” he asked. “One,” said the new hire.

“Just one?” said the manager. “How much was it?”

New hire said, “$101,237.74.”

Manager said, “$101,237.74! What did you sell?”

The new hire said, “First, I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fish hook. Then I sold him a larger fish hook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat.

So we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin engine Chris Craft.

Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the auto department and sold him that 4X4 Blazer.”

The manager said, “A guy came in here today to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and truck?”

The new hire said, “No, he came in here to buy medicine for his wife who had the beginnings of a two-day migraine, and I said, ‘Well, since your weekend’s shot, you might as well go fishing.”

Turning “Migraines” Into Opportunities

I love this story for what it reminds us as salespeople to do: listen to the client and come up with bigger and more creative solutions than the client ever thought of to deal with his/her current problems. Times may be difficult but clients still have needs and therein are your opportunities.

Find those opportunities by asking these seven questions:

1. What issues are you facing today?

2. What are these costing you (in revenue, ROI, market share, efficiencies, productivity, morale, turnover, other?)

3. What is the urgency to resolve these?

4. What will happen if no action is taken?

5. Who has to get involved to take necessary actions to address these issues?

6. What options are you looking at? Why?

7. What would be most useful to you now?

With the answers to these questions as context, you are in a very good position to figure out what you can offer to be of real value to them now that they most likely have not yet considered. In tough times it’s even more important to keep that sales energy and creativity going!

Anne Miller, sales/presentation specialist helps people in high stakes situations win business, make their points, or wow an audience. She works with blue chip firms like Goldman Sachs and Time, Inc. and is the author of Metaphorically Selling. For more information, visit www.annemiller.com

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August/September LabTalk 2017