Sales literature can be so quaint, resembling some of those old cars like the Packard, the once elegant nameplate that stopped being minted in the 1960's.
The advice from most selling gurus sounds as if it has been chewed over far too many times; much like the rubber chicken at a chamber of commerce mixer from that era.
For example, in sales books and articles, there is still an inordinate emphasis being placed on "closing" deals.
Just this week I got a call from a commercial realtor who feels he isn't closing well enough; that this art of pinning down commitments from prospects is his weakness.
But I have a different take on the challenge.
There aren't that many buyers that are slipping away from him or from most other pitchmen.
He's not APPROACHING enough to have a good number of them slip away.
Instead of obsessing about closing deals, he should pay more attention to OPENING them.
But let's take a moment for a quick digression, if you'll be so kind.
If you're a genial seller, with an ultra-bright, 200-watt smile, and an engaging manner, and you put your proposal before enough folks, you're bound to earn some business even if you're the worst closer on the planet.
How can this be?
Simply put, if you have the above mentioned qualities, and you put your product or service "in play" enough, you'll get on base, even through buyers' errors, and sometimes you'll even score and win games.
Buyers will help you to victory, by closing themselves.
But, to take the baseball analogy farther, the predicate for making a lot of sales is not that you hit walk-off home runs, but that you garner enough at-bats and you swing a lot, or even keep your mouth shut enough, walking in some runs.
In other words, on-base-percentage is more significant than batting average.
Who cares if you close 50% of your prospects if you see too few of them to begin with?
The seller that closes 33% of his prospects, but who sees twice as many, will always come out ahead.
Closing can be a blast, especially when we have sealed a deal that helps us to beat our quotas, to win a sales contest, or to put a tidy sum in our bank accounts.
And by all means we need to know how to close, and to echo a refrain from my hometown, we need to close "early and often."
Still, OPENING is the skill that is going to help you to score even more often, so keep that in mind as you plan your sales week.
Best-selling author of 12 books more than 850 articles, and "The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable," the Nightingale-Conant audio program, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered "The Gold Standard"--the foremost expert in sales development, customer service, and telephone effectiveness. Top-rated as a speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the globe and the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.