A Short Sales Ancedote


While cruising through my Linkedin wall this morning I caught a comment from Tom Hopkins.  I was like, what!  Tom Hopkins is still doing his thing!  I thought that was awesome that's he's still out there spreading the real gospel of selling.  If you want to be a closer and not an order taker, I highly recommend any of the books from Tom Hopkins. 

I guess I'm going back about fifteen or so years ago at a time when there was a print shop in almost every town.  Of course every print shop had a press, and a copier, but every print shop did not have a digital duplicator.  In my world, every print shop should have a digital duplicator.

I learned early on that I could not mention the word digital duplicator because most print shops then related that to the Riso duplicators. I was not selling Riso, I was selling Ricoh digital duplicators! 

I changed up the talk track to offer demonstrations for a CTP (computer to plate) system that printed 7,200 pages per hour in spot color.  That talk track garnered me quite a few demonstrations.  Can you imagine that, doing a demonstration at the clients office and then closing for the order.

On a day when I was armed with my duplicator print sample folio (artist size)'  I was walking the streets in Trenton (bright idea by me).  After a few blocks, I stopped in a print shop with my awesome folio of print samples.  Sure enough, both print shop partners were there and I piqued their interest with the CTP process, the make ready sheets and the time that it took to change colors on their press.  Thus, I was off to the races with showing the sample prints.

By the time I was done showing the print samples, both partners were in agreement that they would like to see the duplicator. Over the course of the next week or so, we had ironed out the details of pricing. A commitment that if the duplicator did everything we said it could that they would move forward with the order.  We were able to secure all of those items and scheduled the duplicator for an on-site demo/trial for the Ricoh Duplicator. 

The demonstration went flawless and the real test was ahead of us.  Now it was up to the client to put the duplicator through it's paces. Now, one thing you never ever do is leave a demo machine and not pay a visit or two during the trial.  I was on point and had stopped in twice during the week to help the client  feel more comfortable with the operations and features of the duplicator. 

Prior to the delivery of the duplicator, we set the closing appointment for the Friday of that week.  Friday morning came and for some reason or another I was visiting the account with my Dealer Principal.  Who was I to say, no, you're not welcome.

Once we arrived, the two partners decided that they would launch every objection in the book about not moving forward with the order.  After an or maybe longer, we arrived at the point where the partners agreed that they were delighted with the duplicator and would move forward with signing the lease. I had to make a few changes to the lease, and spoke not a word while preparing the lease document. I handed the lease document to one of the partners, he looked a little, read a little, I then handed him my pen. He brought the lease down to the table, took the pen and was just putting ink on paper.  Just as he was about to sign, my dealer principal thought it was a great time to ask a him a question (wished I was close enough to kick him). I can't even remember what the question was about, but what I do remember is that we never got back to signing the lease document. For some reason, everything just fell apart.  Never did get that order.

On the way out I turned to my dealer principal and stated what did you do? You never, ever interrupt or ask a question when someone is signing the document!  We went back and forth for a few minutes, I thought he was out of line and should have shut up.  You see, that's what we were taught to do, that's the Tom Hopkins way.  When you ask for the order, don't say anything until the client speaks first.  Same is true with giving the client the pen and the lease, keep your mouth shut, until the order is signed.

Which get's me back to Tom Hopkins, he had posted a thread or replied to a thread on Linkedin and it was all about shutting up and not speaking until the client speaks to you first.  The saying was and I guess still is, "the first person that speaks loses.

-=Good Selling=-

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