One thing that David Sandler always taught was how powerful it was when you combine guts and humor. An experience a client of mine had a while back demonstrates that.
A client of mine had been calling on a potential referral partner. Considering he didn’t get thrown out the first time, he visited him multiple times. Eventually he became a little frustrated, as he wasn’t sure if the relationship was going anywhere. So he thought he’d try a variation on something that David Sandler did years ago.
After walking back to his office and sitting down, my client summoned up his courage, and asked, “I’m curious, how many times am I going to have to come here before you give us a shot at helping one of your clients?”
The prospective referral partner laughed. “Actually, I really like you! I like your persistence. Absolutely keep showing up. I just don’t have a lot of need for your services at this moment.”
“Well,” my client responded, “Can I ask you another question, then?”
“Sure,” he replied.
“How do you generate your business currently?”
That turned into a longer conversation about where he got his business from. Turns out that some of his referral partners would actually make great referral partners for my client as well!
The original story of David Sandler goes something like this. Sandler was visiting a prospect, and just like always, they didn’t talk about Sandler’s services at all. Getting frustrated, Sandler pulled out a small note card.
“Can I ask you a question?” he asked the prospect.
“Sure,” he said.
“How many times do I need to visit you before you’ll consider doing business with me?”
His prospect told him, and he wrote the number down. “Great, is it okay if I count this visit?”
“Sure,” the guy replied.
For the next few times they met, they didn’t talk about Sandler’s services at all, but at the end, he always pulled out the notecard and asked, “Is it okay if I count this visit?”
After just a handful of visits, nowhere near the number on the notecard, the prospect laughed and said, “Okay, enough with the notecard! Let’s talk about doing business together.”
What worked for my client and what worked for David Sandler was combining just 5 seconds of guts with some humor. Most salespeople don’t combine those!
So the next time you’re stuck with a prospect that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, try that technique. It’s crazy what using guts and humor does to a sales interaction!