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And the price is only …

Sep 14, 2017

A few years ago I delivered sales training to movers.  I felt I had earned my stripes after the best part of 20 years on the road, eating biscuits, drinking warm tea and fighting off canine friends, to help the next generation with a few of the tricks of the trade.    

But I quickly became aware that the generations were different.  In my day, life was much more ‘seat of the pants’. Quotations were worked out, whenever possible in the home, face-to-face with the customer, on photocopied sheets of A5, based on little more than gut feeling and a large helping of experience.  They might not have always been penny perfect, but they were close enough to turn a profit and let me close the sale, before the bloke from Smash ‘em and Ship ‘em got a chance.  

When I suggested to my students that this might be a good tactic, enabling them to watch the whites of the customer’s eyes as they delivered the news, justify the 50 quid difference between them and the other lot, and ask for the order – I was laughed out of the room.  They would never be allowed to work out the price themselves, that was a separate, skilled job. Their boss would never allow it.  Besides, that type of high-pressure selling just wasn’t seemly.  Much better to leave quietly, promise a quotation in the post, and let the opposition have a free ride.   

Although I explained the errors in their thinking, it was obvious that I wasn’t getting anywhere.  However, things have changed.  Now we have online systems that can provide shipping and destination services charges instantly, easily accessed from a tablet or smartphone. Now the business owner has no reason and the salesperson no excuse for not providing an instant quote.  But I wonder how many companies do it?  I’d be really interested to hear.    

Is your company still leaving customers hanging on for quotes and denying your sales people even the opportunity of flexing their selling muscles?  Do they even know which muscles to flex?  Or have you adopted the new technology that allows you to take the really old methods, the ones my competitors and I used in the 1980s, and adapt them for the modern world?   


It’s said that if you wait long enough, everything comes around again.  But it might not always look quite the same.     

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