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Death of a Salesman

Although Arthur Miller’s play, “Death of a Salesman” is a classic piece of theater, that’s not what this post is about. 
For years and years I was trained in the techniques of a salesman. Lifelong lessons like ABC, always be closing, leading your prospect to a logical conclusion, being persuasive. I operated out of the 3’ rule… anyone within a stride of you is a prospect. Closing on the first call was the nature of the day.

One “program” I worked for insisted that I have 3 “sits” (pre-set appointments) a night and close at least two. And, heaven forbid you didn’t close any, you blanked, you were lower than whale poop. It was a hard sell, complete with a flip chart and scare tactics. It was a life insurance masquerading as a savings plan with a death benefit. We were to get them to sign up and commit to $30, $40 or $50 a month. Being back in the seventies $30, $40 or $50 a month was worth a lot more than that – like $125, $160 or $200 in today’s money. 
The training was rigorous; all sorts of closing techniques were ingrained in us as salesmen. It became the natural way of speaking to someone. ABC – always be closing, get them saying “yes,” “based upon what you’ve told me I’d strongly recommend going with the $50 a month plan, wouldn’t you agree? You do want your family protected in case something happens to you, don’t you?” “Let me just go ahead and get your full name.” “Do you want that with the double indemnity or not?” And on and on and on it went. 

Fast forward to today and selling is the most unfamiliar of territories. It’s all content, value and relationships. You still have to ask for the sale, but closing techniques are cut from a much more modern cloth. I find that a bit of the old techniques manage to slip into my marketing and my conversations with people. It drives my wife crazy when she hears the old me surface. What worked then, can’t and doesn’t work now. 
So, as the smart man that I am, I’m going to listen to my wise lady’s advice. I will be cautious, notice when I’m doing the old sales stuff, catch myself and leave it out of my writing and conversation. And, I would ask you as well to keep an eye on me, catch me if I mess up and slip in a bit of the old style sales and closing techniques. The watchword from this time forward is authenticity, transparency and honest sales conversations. Promise! Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend Tags: closing techniques, Death of a Salesman, sales techniques, training

Rick Lelchuk

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