There is No Secret! – Sales Success……A wandering generality or a meaningful specific?

The late Zig Ziglar tells many great stories in his books and recordings.  One of the most popular expands on his statement, “You Cannot Make it as a Wandering Generality, You Must Become a Meaningful Specific.” Enjoy the following story about two salespeople from a company specializing in selling pool and patio furnishings, including the construction of outdoor kitchens.  Analyze to see the process in action.  See the “wandering generality versus the meaningful specific!”

Ted is just out of college and saw an advertisement for “salesman” in the local classifieds. He is known as a “people person,” with a quick wit and handsome smile.  With no sales training, he is hired as a commissioned salesperson and has little to no interest in self-training as a professional sales executive.

On a recent Saturday morning, Ted notices a nicely dressed couple entering the store where he energetically rushes to be of assistance.  “We are here to buy a grill for our patio,” says the lady.  Ted smiles and leads them to several rows of portable grills and indicates he is available for questions after they have “looked around.” In a few minutes the couple summons Ted and indicate they have picked out a grill, then leave after paying $350 for a charcoal burning grill.

Now let’s look at the same scenario, except this time Jon is available to greet the couple entering.  Jon is rather a quiet person, however, has spent years studying the science of selling and has developed a very smooth process to maximize every opportunity.

Jon greets the couple offering his name and immediately asks for theirs.  “I’m Bill and this is my wife Mary,” he responds and indicates the same “we are here to buy a grill for our patio.” Jon responds, “nice to meet you Bill,” and turning to Mary, Jon asks, “Mary, can you tell me more about your home and the size of your patio?”  Mary shares that they just moved into the home that required extensive remodeling and that the pool area is rather large and will be their next big project later in the year, however right now they just need a grill to get them through the summer. 

Jon asks, “So it sounds like a big home for just the two of you, do you have children as well?”  Mary replies proudly, “yes, we have three children ages 16, 13, and 10.”  Jon quickly reacts, “that sounds like you will need a pretty big grill; especially with the teenagers wanting to show off to new friends their new home and pool.  Do you entertain much?”  Mary responds, “we are looking forward to a housewarming and some summertime parties to enjoy the pool.”  “Great!”, says Jon and starts over to the area displaying several outdoor kitchens where the largest grills are located.  Bill explains, “hey Jon, we just spent a bunch of money remodeling the house and are not in a position to purchase anything like this!”  “I understand,” says Jon, “however let’s consider this plan,” he continues.

Jon presents to Bill and Mary, “You indicated that you have invested in the interior of the home to your satisfaction.  Your children will certainly be more interested in spending time around the pool as summer is approaching and you will not want to discourage your friends from wanting to visit to see your new home.  Mentioning earlier that you would begin a project later this year anyway; what if I can offer the following?”

“This beautiful outdoor kitchen model is available for us to install over the next three weeks; just in time for the summer.” Turning to Mary, Jon says, “and you can select the colors of the cabinets and granite counter tops,” and turning to Bill says, “Bill, you get to select from this charcoal model grill here or if you can decide today, I can offer this gas-burning upgrade for no additional charge.”  Bill nearly yells, “I said, we don’t have the money right now!”   Jon says, “I understand but what about this option?  We have an interest-free financing program with no payments starting until fall (when you said you were going to start the project anyway), AND we can begin construction in two weeks and be finished before school is out; all in time for an end-of-school-pool party and the housewarming party you really want to have. What do you say we get this on the schedule now?”

The same couple that good-natured-and-smiling-Ted let out of the store for $350 earning Ted a $35 commission has now just signed an order for $19,500 with Jon.  Jon earned a $2,000 commission by becoming a “meaningful specific” following a process by first establishing rapport, followed by asking a few basic questions (communication) about the real goal for the couple.  He provided a solution to achieve their goal (presentation) and overcame the major objection of short-term affordability with knowledge of the company financing program. Then the most important act, he asked them to buy!

While not all scenarios are this simplistic, hopefully you understand the difference of following a specific process versus just wandering around waiting for something to happen!!!  Remember……….

There is No Secret to Sales Success!  It’s the process.

152 thoughts on “There is No Secret! – Sales Success……A wandering generality or a meaningful specific?”

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