Why was the sale lost?


A man stopped to watch a neighborhood Little League game. He asked one of the kids what the score was.

“We’re behind 18-0,” the boy answered.

“Well,” said the man, “I must say you don’t seem very discouraged.”

“Discouraged?,” asked the boy. “Why would I be discouraged? We haven’t come up to bat yet.”

When making sales seems tougher than it ought to be and when you’re possibly discouraged by your current score of boats sold, author Charles Frisbie wrote an article in 1957 that is just a pertinent today as it was back then. Titled “Autopsy of Lost Sales,” Frisbie suggested a list that salespersons might thoughtfully examine to find keys to turning the game around. Here are some of the best in no particular order:

▪ I didn’t know enough about the product

▪ I didn’t sell myself thoroughly enough (appearance, proficiency, manners)

▪ I didn’t plan my presentation well in advance

▪ I didn’t generate or exhibit enthusiasm for the product

▪ I didn’t use some good tools of my trade – testimonials, references, etc.

▪ I didn’t work to get the ice out of the price

▪ I made exaggerated claims and became unbelievable

▪ I kept my big mouth open too long

▪ I took too much time knocking a competitor’s boat

▪ I failed to touch each base. I should have presented all my strong points

▪ I wasn’t clear enough. I failed to put “plain” in “explain”

▪ I was an informational nudist – used fig leaf phrases to cover my lack of expertise

▪ I got into an argument – and won it

▪ I wasn’t a good closer – I didn’t know how to change “maybe later” into “yes now”

Frisbie also included a couple of extra bits of sales wisdom with which I have taken slight editorial license. They are:

In the words of a great old Greek philosopher: “The guy you don’t follow up don’t buy nothin’ ” . . . while an old wise Chinese proverb laments: “Boat salesperson who covers chair instead of taking action stays on bottom.”


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