Monday, August 21, 2006

High-Ranking Sales Leader Shares His Formula

For almost eight years, George Harned has been my "point man" at Office Depot. Whether I was buying a camera, printer, computer, or DVD burner, George helped me get exactly the right fit. Patiently, he answered my questions and helped me meet my needs economically.

In recent conversations, I learned that George earned a terrific honor. Out of 43,000 Office Depot sales personnel, he ranked 29th. Obviously, he has a sales formula that works well, not just with me but with thousands of other customers. You'll be glad to know that George accepted my invitation to describe his sales strategy for my blog readers. Here's what he wrote, in his exact words:


1. THE APPROACH.....It is very important that first contact with a customer is preformed correctly. Your appearance says a lot about you. Is your hair well kept? Clothes clean and pressed. Tattoos if any, covered up...If not you are screaming to the prospect "I'm incompetent." If a customer walks into my domain and I am busy with someone else I let the prospect know I see them...a nod of the head or a wave of the hand to let them know I think they are important and they will be served as soon as possible....I usually approach the customer...making eye contact and say "Hi, I'm George your computer guru." This sets up the tone of the sale...I'm not going to be pushy nor am I going to ask them if they want fries with that.

2. FACT FIND.....Ask questions...90% of the sale is listening...what do you want the product to do for you...what is your budget...what is the level of your knowledge of the product...this is their talking time....customers love to talk about themselves.

3. IDENTIFY NEEDS....After the fact find...repeat back to the customer what they have told you--the things they desire.. This shows them that you are paying attention and really want to help.

4. MEET THE NEEDS OR THE PRESENTATION.....This is your time to talk...present the product that meets the needs of the customer...this is the time to overcome objections....and set up the close.

5. AFTO.....Ask For The Order...If you have executed the 4 steps above to perfection and don't AFTO...then all is lost...thousand of books have been written on this one aspect...because if you don't do it right you are sending the prospect to another place and to a better salesman.

6. ASK FOR REFERRALS...OK you have closed the sale...but it is not over...YOU MUST ask for referrals and give your new friend at least three of your business cards...I can't count the number of times a new prospect comes in with one of my cards.

GOOD LUCK....Remember...Good salesmen are not born...they are all you can on the subject...I have.

Thanks, George, for this superb advice, and for your ongoing superlative service.

A closing note. With Radio Shack, a former employer, George directed training seminars around the nation. When you read his "Six Steps," you can see why Radio Shack selected him to train others.

To read a description of my speech/seminar titled "Championship Selling," use this link:


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