You Can’t Sell Anything if You’re Not Ready to Walk Away….

I was schooled by one of the all time great salespeople – Al Frink, who with his partner Scott Guenther built a small, agile, and very profitable carpet mill: Fabrica Fine Carpet & Rugs. Al was responsible for selling the product and sell it he did. It was 10 times more expensive than most of its competitors but Fabrica made beautiful product; with Al’s selling skills and the salesforce he developed, the company grew to gross 65 million a year. That’s not Microsoft, but it made a lot of people very wealthy over the course of the time Al and Scott ran the show.

Almost every great sales technique in my arsenal came from the learning at the feet of the great salespeople of that company:

1. Every customer wants an experience. Don’t show up and go through the motions – if you’re selling something special you’d better dress, speak and act the part. That doesn’t mean be artificial or put on airs, but it does mean that you show up with pastries instead of donuts and that you speak about your product with care and respect.
2. Create a vision for your customer; they DO want you to help them make the decision to buy – they just don’t want to feel pushed into it. By painting a picture of how your product will improve their life you make it easy for them to say yes.

And most importantly:

3. You must be ready to walk away if the deal isn’t good for your business; you can’t sell anything to anybody for a price that is acceptable to your own margins if you are not ready to leave without closing the deal. People can sense if there is room to squeeze you, and good negotiators will squeeze until they have you as far as you’ll go. You have to be mentally ready to walk away from the table at a certain point before you sit down to negotiate or you’ll never close a deal.

One of the most freeing realizations you can come to is that one customer will not make or break your company, no matter how sweet it may be to land them. Sometimes deals are lose/lose if they are set up so that your company can not do their job right or make enough money in the process of doing the job. If you read this blog you know how important I think customer service is, but you don’t have to sell every prospect. Great companies understand this and only enter into deals that allow both parties to benefit from their partnership.