Tag Archives: sales tactics

Why You Should Not Read This Post

Did I catch your attention?

I thought so.

In his great book ”Originals”*, Adam Grant shares story of how Babble (online parenting magazine and blog network) pitched to Disney. Rufus Griscom started his presentation by listing five reasons why Disney should not buy them. Surprisingly (or not) Disney bought Babble with 40M.

Why this counterintuitive sales tactic is actually really smart?

  1. You don´t do hard sell

Too many times when I listen to pitches, the people sound like used car salesman and are bombarding you with too many reasons to buy. That makes you sound insecure. There is a thin line between passionate and desperate. Confident salesman does not need to push.

Often times entrepreneurs who get the most investment are actually the ones who are the least enthusiastic.
– Adam Grant

  1. You anticipate their biggest concerns.

Investors are always thinking about potential challenges with their investment. When you address the concerns in the beginning you don´t need to sell your best parts so hard.

If he’s confident enough that the company is high quality that he’s willing to talk about its weaknesses, it must have some strength.

– Adam Grant

  1. You catch the attention immediately.

How many time you have been in sales pitch that follows the usual format? By flipping the script, you immediately catch the attention and you are talking to an audience that is awake.

It’s grabbing attention, it’s different, you don’t expect it.

– Adam Grant

This method does not necessarily always work, but it makes sense to shake up the status quo of your pitches from time to time.   

Assuming that the idea has some merit, when people have to work hard to generate their own objections, they will be more aware of its virtues.

– Adam Grant 

*One of the better business books of later years. It does not really have unified narrative or answer what makes people original, but it has useful anecdotes on almost every page that defy the traditional views. With majority of business books I just recommend reading executive summary, but this book is definitely worthwhile to read as a whole.

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The Art (or Lack) of Selling Pt.2

As you might know, I do not belong to “do-not-call”-registry.

Mainly it is because I have a strong belief that our business is about selling. Therefore you can learn from good salespeople and also from the more inferior ones. My morning today got started with the following call:

Salesman: Do you have a moment of time?
Riku: Yes, I actually have.
Salesman: Would you be interested in this extra insurance if you get terminal illness?
Riku: No.
Salesman: It also covers up to 200k outstanding balances, if you have accidental death. Would you not be interested in this product?
Riku: I already have life insurance. (Besides if I will suffer accidental death, I think my credit card balance is least of my concerns then. Not to mention that my credit limit is only 20k in any case. If I would have 200k outstanding balances, it means that you have messed up in some way.)
Salesman: Many of our clients have also life insurances, but they also have this product.
Riku: (Many of your clients are also morons, who cannot understand even simple arithmetics). I am not interested. It costs too much as well, especially because I am already covered by life insurance.
Salesman: But accidents can happen anywhere as you seem to be travelling quite a lot. And you only pay 0.49% of every credit card bill, as there is no fixed fee.
Riku: But if I would max out my credit card limit every month, which you also try to make me do, the actual cost would be over 1k a year. I think you can get quite a lot of insurance with that money. Also percentage is harder to predict than fixed fee.
Salesman: -Silence-
Riku: So, I am not interested. (As your product is total scam and you seem like a bona fide snakes-oil salesman)
Salesman: You might also get a terminal illness, don´t you want to think about your family?
Riku: I think I am getting terminal illness by being in this call.
Salesman: Well, if you change your mind..
Riku: Well, I won´t. Bye.

Fear is sometimes good way to make you buy something. I don´t really want to think about terminal illnesses or accidental deaths first thing in the morning. It is also not necessarily wise to try to impose guilt to total stranger on a phone about leaving your family stranded if you kick the bucket. The whole call got me really irritated and made me hate my bank even more.

Unfortunately this method is probably effective. Bank business is generally about screwing people who cannot count or do not understand how percentages add up. Throw some guilt in the mix and I can see many people sign on these dubious programs. So thinking in those terms, it is great selling!

It also makes my blood boil. You should make your customer feel good about buying your products. Then it is likely that he is willing to buy more to keep that happiness. Using fear and guilt should be the last resort.

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