A fun Fable Friday story for you, and a great sales tip

Let me share an old story with you on today’s Fable Friday from my early years as a bank marketing director

Roger, the president of my bank, was an old crusty WASP, no other way to put it.  Every fall we put in our order for the bank’s annual Christmas card.  It drove Roger nuts that we couldn’t send out a card that said Merry Christmas, so in every conversation we had about it he would remind me to make sure it said Season’s Greetings, along with some wish for a profitable new year, and then he would rail against all people who didn’t look like him or worship the same way.

 “I don’t know why we can’t just say ‘Merry Christmas’ and be done with it.  Did you make sure to say ‘Season’s Greetings’ on it?”  “Yes Roger.” Oh, man.

Judy worked for me as the advertising director and she had a pretty sharp tongue, so I had to watch her all the time around him, as she would say things that would make him glance at me, like “What is the matter with her?”

One day the cards arrived, boxes and boxes of them, and Judy called Roger to tell him they were in.  “Don’t open them,” he said.  “I’m on my way over and I want to see them right away.”  Okay, so he arrives, we open the box and Judy pulls out the first card, looks at the front of it and says, “Oh no!  Feliz Navidad?”

Roger shouts, “What?  Give me that!” and takes the card from her, which of course says “Season’s Greetings.”  I thought he was going to kill her, but I couldn’t laugh or he’d have killed me instead.  One of my best days at work.

Now you’re wondering why I shared this with you.  I wanted you to know that I used to be a marketing guy, and one of the skills I have is how to incorporate brochures and other collateral material into sales presentations. Here are some tips you can share in your next sales meeting about how to use a brochure:

  • Show one document at a time, and explain what it is and why you brought it.  DON’T hand the prospect a stack of material and say, “Here are some things you can read.” They’ll throw them away.
  • Help the client see the value areas.  Circle the features or benefits that you want to draw the prospect’s attention to. Say, “This paragraph gives you the best example of how it works.  I’ve circled it for you, and here’s a useful FAQ section on the back.” Better yet, get the prospect to pick up his pen and circle the content you want him to look at.
  • Never refer to your own brochure to answer a question.  Answer the question first, and then show where it is explained in the brochure in the event the prospect wishes to learn more. Say, “Was that helpful?  You’ll also see it explained here.”
  • Never slide a brochure across the desk like you’re dealing cards.  Handle it with pride and place it in the prospect’s hand. This visual cue shows you have pride in your solutions and your company.
  • Hold a brochure as you would a photograph, by its edges, so the prospect can see it as you show it. Check to make sure your materials are up-to-date and not worn or dog-eared.
  • Don’t staple your business card to the brochure.  Hand it to the prospect.

 Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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