Sticking to the rules limits sales potential

Conforming to the rules works against successful selling. The stickler for rules gets frustrated because he/she yields to them and gets mediocre results at best. Progressive sellers, on their other hand, while remaining ethical, take the rules as guidelines, not deadlines. Many times they will bend them to snapping point much to the irritation of those that follow rules. If need be they will break the rules and back the decision with a solid business case.Take seller Francis. When head office came down hard on him, complete with a warning letter, for giving a four-month payment plan for the renewal of the medical scheme, Francis looked at it with pity.As if thinking, “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” You see, the medical cover had two more months before lapsing. By giving a four-month payment plan as opposed to the maximum two in essence Francis had in fact still conformed to the rules and guaranteed renewal. But someone in the head office, looking solely through the lens of what the rules say, read sacrilege. Now that someone had egg on their face. And that’s the thing about rules; they are crafted for a controlled environment, which the desk job offers. Outside the corporate pyramid is the wild field — the salesman’s operating environment. Yet Francis’ case is mild.The rules of the sale may say, for instance, that once the pitch is made you, “Wait, we will get back to you.” Fear of losing the sale paralyses the mediocre seller into conformity. When asked, “How far has the sale gone?” his response is, “They said they’ll get back to us.”And so he dutifully waits. Not the progressive one. He knows that if you do have a continual pulse of the sale you will lose it. So he makes inroads with those in the decision-making process. This he does largely informally. And over time he ensures he has ears and eyes across the decision-making process. People he can call that give him the progress of the sale. These people need not be active players in the process but are privy to it.Sticking to the rules will see the novice seller say, “I can’t sell there because the staff are prohibited from talking to salespeople.”The progressive salesman has no problem making the sale at the staff canteen or parking. Even the ladies’ washroom! He knows there are other points of contact besides the office. He also has no problem sneaking in when the boss (who once threw him out) is not in and hope to close the sale before he returns. You see, he is not burdened by what the rules say about maintaining a corporate image. And that’s the paradox-the mediocre seller may preserve his image and lose the sale but the progressive one will earn the client’s respect for his persistence and get the sale.

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