A Quality Common to All Good Salesmen
By George K. Sargent, second vice president and manager of agencies, Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York
Not long ago I asked an acquaintance who has been in personal contact with salesmen all his business life — in another line — whether he thought successful salesmen had any single quality in common. I quote him from memory:
“There is a common quality — no doubt about it. All successful leaders and business men have the enduring capacity to stand the gaff. Salesmen are leaders, and also they’re business men running business on their own ability; and all the successful ones I ever saw had one thing in common — that enduring capacity to stand the gaff, a steady courage. Courage is the common quality to all successful salesmen, and it’s the predominant quality in every one of them, even if it’s not apparent. I can’t say I’ve seen every courageous man succeed in my business, but every single one who succeeded had courage — a lot of it. They’re always the fellows who stick and hang on and plug away. With ordinary selling ability — which is plain common sense and intelligence — a workable knowledge of his goods, self-confidence, the man of courage can make a decent success. Isn’t it about the same in the life insurance business?”
“It’s exactly the same, I think,” I responded.
1. Don’t talk too much.
A. If talking continues, prospect is turning over in his mind his objection.
B. Objection grows stronger.
C. Irritation evident if there is a continued, uninterrupted flow of talk.
2. Don’t interrupt your prospect
A. Causes irritation.
3. Don’t get belligerent, or over-positive or argumentative.
A. By unconscious rising in tone.
B. Unconscious inference by tone that unless prospect is agreeing with you that he is a sap.
4. Inquire first — attack afterwards.
A. By inquiry the tendency is to disarm and quite frequently your prospect will disclose some main objection which might not have come out unless you gave him the opportunity to state his case.
5. Restate his main objection in your own words.
A. This shows the prospect that you understand fully what his objection is and makes it unnecessary for him to repeat it; also has a tendency to disarm.
6. Back to the key issue.
A. A sufficiently strong attack on your return to the key issue, in most instances will effect a closing of the sale.