Special thanks to Steve Lilly for editing this piece for me. This clip comes from “Hard Knocks” on HBO, which is a great show for any sports fan.
Here’s the scenario: This is Dallas Cowboys training camp. The owner, Jerry Jones, who is a fabulously wealthy self-made man, gets up to speak to the team. He tells a brief story about why he is a good salesman. It hit a nerve with me.
1. It’s amazing that the best entrepreneurs and rich businessmen like Jerry Jones all inherently know how to sell and market. There are a million example of this:
a. Those Oracle billboards on U.S. Highway 101 are approved by Larry Ellison. He chose the color.
b. Steve Jobs. Need I say more?
c. The turnaround at HP? Yes, there have been some organizational changes but one of the keys has been Mark Hurd and his ability to close big deals with big executives. Ask enterprise sales folks there, and they’ll tell you, “Hurd played golf with the CEO and got that deal done.”
d. Is Barack Obama potentially the best sales rep and marketer in the world right now? He has made himself a rock star.
The moral is: Everyone who wants to be someone in the world has to know how to sell and market. It’s that simple.
2. I am clearly going to have a “10 Top Sales Training Scenes from the Movies” post soon (insert a “Glengarry Glen Ross” scene here).
This simple clip from Jerry is intended to be both funny and true. Ironically enough, it is both funny and true. The concept of “ask for the order” is a euphemism for closing and it doesn’t just apply to sales, it applies to marketing too. For the sake of not writing really long posts, I’ll focus on sales today, and will follow up with a Part II about marketing.
“Ask for the order” concept in sales:
I cringe at sales meetings when the VP of sales asks the guy if “he asked for the order,” and the guy stammers. At the end of the day, the salesperson is not saving the world; his or her job is to close business. I do have examples of folks who are not closers and have made a lot of money in sales, but they’re exceptions to the rule — typically they hit lightning in a bottle and take orders. They’ve never had to go heads-up and close from a customer in the last working deal they have left. Real salespeople can “ask for the order” and I love them for it. As a marketer, I know that my work has landed in the hands of people who are going to close. They’re not going to come back to marketing blaming the product, its features or positioning for the lost sale — when the reality is they sat back hoping the customer would come back to them.
From “Sales 101: Asking for the Order” by Daniel Sitter:
My sales motto has always been, “Ask, or the answer is always no”, and it really is. We must always perform the next natural step in the progression of our wonderful sales presentation, after the objections have been answered, and that is to ask the customer to make a buying decision now. This is the reason why there are salespeople. We would not be needed otherwise.
After all, an interested potential customer can go to the internet these days and learn just about every fact imaginable concerning our products or service. He can also examine our competitors. The customer is better educated than ever before. The salesperson must be at least as well educated as her customer as to the features, advantages and benefits of her own products and services, as well as those of her competitors. Keeping these facts in mind, what then is the role of the salesperson? Salespeople exist to close the sale. That is all.
Is this the true test of a salesperson? Either way, remember: Ask for the money. Jerry Jones is worth a cool billion now. Any more questions? .