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Sales Rule #1

by | May 9, 2022

At one point in my life, I had the world’s sh*ttiest sales job. 

My wife and I had just left London, and I wanted to add some sales skills to all the marketing stuff I’d been taught.

So I got a job selling ad space in a magazine. I thought they were going places. It turned out the only place they should have been going to was prison….

The company’s practices were unethical to say the least. It was hard selling of the highest order. But you’ve got to take away the positives, right? And, as much as I hated that job, I learned a lot. About what to do and what not to do.

Here’s the no.1 thing I took away from that job

Only pitch the decision-maker.

This was the company’s no.1 rule too. They had just three rules. Only pitch the decision-maker, don’t swear and get a yes or get them to put the phone down on you.

Straight up.

If I told you my boss wanted me to get the fax number of a hospital, so I could send over the contract to a prospect who’d just had a heart attack, you’d think I was lying, wouldn’t you…?

Anyway, this no.1 rule was and is sound. If the amazing stuff you offer comes to the decision-maker second-hand, your pitch has lost 3/4 of its effectiveness. Whether you’re speaking on the phone, over Zoom or in person, all your enthusiasm and tonality become null and void. You’ve expended your energy on the wrong person.

If there are two decision-makers, you need to get in front of them both.

A board? Get in front of them all.

No matter what the person’s job title, confirm who signs things off. I speak from bitter experience…. Codebreak got the go-ahead from the MD of a company to re-design their website. They weren’t getting enough enquiries and I knew we could help.

But it turned out the guy’s finance department could veto his decisions. Naturally, you’re not going to be able to pitch a finance department, so in this instance I would have walked away if I’d known. They would have wanted three quotes and gone with the lowest. Whether that was us or not, that’s not a company Codebreak can help. If price is the determining factor, no thank you.

I’m all for being upfront. Politely, of course. So I’ll ask who makes the decisions. You? You and a partner? Your wife’s best friend’s brother, who does a bit of marketing?

OK, not the last one.

This may sound obvious but so much time is lost “selling” to the wrong people. Even if you were to win the business, you’ll still have a problem. When a decision-maker gets a member of staff to find out information, get quotes, etc., I guarantee that just because they’re not interested at the beginning, once the deal’s been done, they’ll be all over it. And of course you’ll have no relationship in place with them. What if it turns out you’re not a good fit for each other?

This is about PEOPLE.

Another massive reason to speak to the right person from the beginning.

Have an awesome week. Until next time, stay hungry.

Codebreak - Stay Hungry - Direct Response Marketing

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