The following excerpt from Larry Steinmetz’s book “Kansas Sense: Simple Business Wisdom from the Heartland”, illuminates practical and philosophical stories that easily resonate with leaders from all walks of life.
Lessons from Early in my Career
Early in my career, when I was only 24 years old, my company, Sprint (which was United Telecom at the time), put me through a comprehensive sales training course. The instructor of the course, we’ll call him Bob, made a lasting impact on me.
Bob was about 15 years older than I, and was an extremely intelligent and positive person. Bob loves what I would call the “individual chemistry” of each person. He enjoys studying people, observing what makes them tick, what motivates them. Bob gets a kick out of learning about the psychological makeup of a person, and he celebrates their differences.
He also was rarely critical of anyone; he appreciates and enjoys learning about every person he comes in contact with. I loved this and thought this personality trait was admirable. I hoped I could somehow develop his great approach and outlook toward people. I felt I also had a genuine interest in people and I wanted to be able to plug into this in a very positive manner, just like Bob did.
Bob eventually became a good friend and mentor of mine. Many times in the following years I called him for advice.
Today, I still remember and use a number of things I learned in Bob’s training.
A simple yet important one is “Just say yes.”
Just Say Yes During Sales Presentations
Following a presentation or during a meeting, when a customer asks you, “So, you are going to solve my IT problems and save me money in the process?”
The answer you should deliver is “Yes.” And that’s it; stop there.
This tactic is most useful during the stage of the meeting where the sales pitch has already been delivered. You have walked through the benefits of your products or services, and you are ready to close the deal. Saying anything more at this point might introduce something new that could turn into a negative. That’s why a simple “yes” without over explanation is not only sufficient, but wise.
I know that as the salesperson, you are likely the most enthusiastic person in the room regarding the subject (and you certainly should be) and it is tempting at times to want to tell everybody in the room everything you know. Not only are you excited about your product, but you don’t mind impressing everyone with your overwhelming knowledge about the topic at hand. This is your area of expertise and you want to show it off to the world. Resist doing it though.
Just Say Yes to Win Appointments
“Just say yes” is also an excellent tactic when simply trying to win an appointment or an opportunity to make a presentation in order to move on to the next level of the sales process.
This advice may seem obvious and a lesson already well known for anyone in sales. But you might be surprised how many people who know this rule will still blow it and start talking again! If you watch closely enough, you’ll notice that the “just say yes” advice often is not being followed. Some people just can’t stand the silence.
Read the situation carefully; remember your immediate goal for the moment at hand. If a simple affirmative answer will get you the results you’re looking for, then keep it simple and “just say yes.”