To my mind, one of the best books on selling ever written – bar none – is “You Can’t Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar” by David Sandler.
David Sandler was a straight-talking, zero-fluff old-school salesman, who cut his teeth pounding pavements and picking up the dog-and-bone.
The Sandler System (first lesson from this email: name your intellectual property, it makes it irreplaceable) first came to my attention about four years ago.
I was sitting in a bar in Soho, London, shooting the Friday afternoon breeze with a couple of friends. We were all relatively new business owners.
One of them had just started working with a sales coach.
“Pah!” I scoffed. After all, who needs a sales coach?
But when told me that he was paying this guy $5k a month for twice-monthly group training, I started to listen.
I woke up to an email from a real estate agent in Belgium.
It ruined my morning.
Emotional blackmail is the weakest, pissiest way to get your prospects or customers to do your bidding.
Which would, of course, be forgivable … if it worked.
But it doesn’t. Your clients aren’t your husband. You can’t lay down a guilt trip to get them doing what you want.
In this case, we gave her real estate firm an exclusive contract for 3 months to sell a property. After 6 months of no interest at all (bar one low offer), we opened it up to a couple more agencies.
Cue the guilt trip.
From the Head of Human Resources:
I regret to inform you that today’s email has been canceled.
Your regular correspondent apologizes, but says that he sat at his desk for four hours today and nothing “came out”.
He was, it seems, overtaken by a peculiar and uncommon lethargy.
I suspect it may have been a result of one too many drinks yesterday. A late night and fully-charged week left him tired and emotional until around two o’clock this morning.
Not sure if I came up with this, but I like to think I did. Happy to hear if I’m wrong – just hit reply and issue a digital reprimand.
(Incidentally, I got reprimanded by email the other day. Somebody I’d never met told me I looked like a Hitler Youth in my headshot. Nice.)
So here’s the situation:
You’ve got to fill a room.
The continued success of your business depends on you giving an educational seminar to a group of prospects. You then get the opportunity to upsell them.
Or you’ve got to fill a webinar.
Or you’ve got to make a couple of sales.
The point is you have to do something that means your business – and your bank account – will survive another day.
But you don’t manage.
You don’t fill the room. You don’t book out the webinar. You don’t make the sales.
Despite what you call your “best efforts”.
And you say “I don’t know what I could have done differently. I did literally everything I could.”
Because a couple of weeks later, you hear that your kid needs a new kidney.
Late at night, after a couple of slugs of Lagavulin and a medium rare ribeye, a helicopter lands noisily in your back yard.
Three men in balaclavas jump out, stick a black hood over your head and bundle you in the back of the chopper.
You ascend quickly, accelerating northeasterly at a rapid click.
After forty-five minutes a rope is tied around your midriff and you’re thrown unceremoniously from the cabin. It’s only six feet to the ground, but you land with a thud, bruising your coccyx.