When it comes to sales, I have never believed there was a “right” way. There’s the way that works for you, that’s all.
I have seen salespeople with completely opposite approaches succeed. Salesman #1 takes the prospect’s hand in both of his and murmurs softly about his religious commitment. It works every time! Salesman #2 grabs the prospect by the necktie, pounds his fist on the table and shouts “You have to do this for your kids!” And that too, works every time.
Modeling behaviors that succeed for others is often good advice, but in the end the best advice is to be yourself.
In 1988, I was working at the Miami News. The City Editor (and therefore my immediate boss) was a guy named Paul Kaplan.
One day he sauntered up to my desk and said “I need someone to go up to Starke tonight and witness an execution.” Starke was the location of Florida State Prison.
“Not me,” I said, flatly, knowing full well that refusing an assignment was not an option.
“Why?” Kaplan sneered. “Are you saying you’re too sensitive to see a man put to death?”
Good newspaper reporters then, as now, I imagine, are loath to say that they are too sensitive for anything. It goes against the code of the intrepid reporter. It is not very macho, which is also part of the code.
Kaplan taunted me again. “Are you saying you’re too sensitive to witness an execution?”
“Yes,” I replied. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“Me too,” he said, and walked away in search of another reporter.
Marketing lesson: As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”