Buyer with Big Ears ends a Sale

Nicole was managing a sales rep who had a serious aversion to asking for referrals. He was deathly afraid to use this strategy – the easiest way to gather new business. Even after a successful sale he would actually start to sweat if he just thought about asking.

Since a great deal of coaching is actually counseling, they dug into his past to find out what was going on here. One day something triggered a memory of this story and he revealed a tormented sales childhood that was at the root of his problem…

In Tom’s rookie days as a life insurance salesperson with a large firm, he had to be accompanied by his boss on all sales calls.

The very first client meeting Tom and his manager went to was with a successful female attorney. Tom watched as his boss smoothly convinced her of the need for not only personal coverage but buy/sell policies for the law firm as well. On their way out Tom’s manager asked the female attorney for some referrals and was rewarded with several highly qualified names.

The two agents didn’t realize how well sound carried as they waited for the elevator in the historic, stone and marble office building. Tom’s manager turned to his new agent and said, “You see Tommy, this business is so easy, it’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel.”

Moments later the words “I heard that” echoed down the hall from the female attorney.

“Get back here!” She barked.

Tom and his manager walked into a cold room to a very heated client. The angry attorney waved their literature at them and asked for her life insurance applications and the list of referrals.

She slowly tore everything in half, then tore it again and dramatically walked to the shredder and fed their paperwork into the machine.

POSTMORTEM: What a plot: Drama with great dialogue on a sales call! And revenge to top it off! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the ocean, new clients are reversing course and killing sales. There are lots of lessons here. Let’s focus on one. And it’s not asking for referrals. How many more times are we going to have the phrase “ask for referrals” pounded into us? This lesson is about handling adversity. How well do you maintain your professional demeanor, even when the weather turns nasty?

You’ll see this addressed in detail in my hilarious and insightful new best-selling book, Sales Autopsy.

Leave a Reply