Use the Columbo Technique to get b2b Sales Results

Peter Falk as ColumboOkay, today I’m showing my age since most of you will not have a clue about this guy “Columbo” anymore than you would about “Perry Mason.” Yet, the technique works like a charm and will get results – either new information or a close – with the worst case of keeping the sales process moving forward.

So, who is this Columbo character?

A couple of decades ago there was a weekly detective drama starring Peter Falk as Columbo. This guy was a character. Smoked cigars, drove a Metropolitan automobile (now I’ve really aged myself!), had a huge and lazy Beagle for a pet and yet, he solved crime after crime as a great detective would. He wasn’t flashy, he was just very good at solving crimes. (Much like the Sales Superstars just get more b2b sales results.)

The Columbo Technique came from his method of appearing to leave the number one prospect (crime rather than customer.) when the bad guy was not responding to questions or was becoming difficult. So Columbo would pack up and actually leave the room on several occasions, just to return to the bad guy – mention he had only one more question and it was probably meaningless, yet, duty called for asking the question.

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Sales Tips and Sales Techniques of the Week

Okay, here is a quick sales tip for learning about competitors activities. Or to learn who else is calling on your clients. I have used these direct sales tips in several industries and have taught clients to use this sales technique to learn who is active with your customer or prospects.

Here is the key sales technique – Check out the visitor logs at the main desk. This is a great source of information about who is activity visiting the account.

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Speak Your Prospect’s Language

Today I’m sharing a sales tip I learned from a veteran and very successful sales person that will give you an advantage when going after a new customer. It is a simple tactic, yet you must do your homework before meeting with the prospect.

This tactic is all about making it easy for the prospect to understand your offer by speaking their language.

Here’s the essence of this sales technique.

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Confirm Understanding of Degree of Customer Problem

One of the most interesting things I find when working with sales professionals is the lack of any confirmation of the degree of a customer problem. Or, in some cases that the customer even sees a situation as a problem. Therefore, it is very important for B2B sales people to confirm an understanding of the degree of a customer’s problem.

Here is the fact, if the customer does not see an issue as a problem, then there is really no good reason to take action on the issue. Customers and prospects have too many other things to deal with on a daily basis, therefore, if they don’t see a problem – no reason to fix it now.

The issue is two fold…

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Trade Information for Credibility

One sales technique that is very success for building credibility with your prospects and customers is to trade information. When coaching sales people about this topic I always get the same question… What information do I trade?

There are four types of information that you can trade with prospects or customer. They are…

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Explain What Success Looks Like to the Prospect

One of the most overlooked sales tips is for the sales person to explain what success looks like to the prospect. This is a very simple task. Yet, it commonly overlooked by most sales people while actually being one of the most successful sales techniques you can use. So how does this work? Again, it … Read more…

Magic Wand Technique is, well, Magical

Need to learn how a customer or prospect really feels about any part of their business? Have you tried the “Magic Wand Technique?” It has a Magical outcome – the customer or prospect provides you with valuable information about their current situation.

The Magic Wand Technique has been around for years, yet, it appears to be forgotten by most sales people and it is a winning technique to get valuable information. Here’s how it works…

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B2B Sales Success depends on the Advance

After working with sales people, I learned sales people do not always know what is truly important to monitor. Now I know a loaded statement when I see one and the above statement may be loaded. However, it is also very true. Most sales people are missing an important element to every sales call they make.

Now, before moving on I need to clarify a very assumptions. First, I’m talking about business to business selling which over 95% of successful sales opportunities require multiple calls. This is not a single call and get an answer sales environment. Second, each sales call needs an outcome to monitor the success rate of the sales process. And, finally, some preparation and thought is required for the multiple call process to work. Winging it is not an option in b2b sales.

So what is an sales ADVANCE?

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Be the Low Risk Provider in B2B Sales

Being the low risk provider is the key to successful B2B sales. Please do not confuse low risk with low cost as these are light years apart. Too often the sales people I coach want to go to the dark side of sales – being the low cost provider.

Being the low cost provider is an unhealthy position for most sales people because the customer will find another sales person who will sell for a lower price than you offered. And, when selling strictly on price – low bid wins.

However, being the low RISK provider is an entirely different sales strategy. In fact, you could be the highest priced sales person and win – if the buyer sees you as the real low risk provider.

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Discussing Competitor’s by Name is a No-No

Okay, before you think that I have gone off the deep end without a breath of air, let me explain this title. Discussing Competitor’s by Name is a No-No is a fact of sales life.

First, it is a mistake for you – the salesperson – to bring up the name of a competitor during discussions with a customer or prospect. Why? Because the customer or prospect may not be aware of this competitor until you tell them.

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