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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Establishing Credibility when Selling
By Frank Furness

Let me tell you a story. Many years ago in America, a large tobacco company’s account was up for grabs and every big advertising company was after this account. There was a small advertising company owned by a fellow called Ben Duffy and he was also trying to secure this account. He was up against big competition; some of the largest companies in the Industry and it would be a coup to land such a large client. Ben Duffy thought to himself ‘how am I going to get this account, I’m just a small unknown player with a small company, there’s no chance.’ He thought, ‘let me put myself in the position of this chap that I am going to see. Let me think about some of the questions, some of the things that might be on the prospective client’s mind’. He wrote out a list of fifty questions, and then narrowed those down to about ten. When he met with the client, he said ‘in preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there may be some things you’d want to know about me, my company, what’s in it for you, what’s in it for me and as such I’ve prepared a list of ten questions. Well the chap from the Tobacco Company replied, ‘well, I’ve got ten questions myself’. They swapped lists, six of the questions were the same and he secured the account.

For years and years now, I’ve been using exactly the same method, using the Ben Duffy. In the expat community, I would go and meet with a client for the first time, we’d go through past, present, future to establish rapport and then use the ‘Ben Duffy’. I’d say to the client, “you know Joe, in preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there may be some questions on your mind. Who’s Frank Furness, who is XYZ (my company), how long have they been around, what’s in it for me, what’s in it for you? Are these some of the questions on your mind?” You then nod your head and he’ll nod back again because these are some of the questions that are on their mind. An important thing is to learn this script verbatim. It’s got to form a natural part of your conversation. This is the scipt: ‘In preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and I thought you might want to know, who is Frank Furness, who is XYZ, how long have they been around, what’s in it for me, what’s in it for you? Are those some of the questions on your mind?’ Write that down and learn it verbatim.

They normally reply ‘yes sure, these are some of the things on my mind’. Now and now is the only time you will speak about yourself. And this is a credibility session, this is where you’re selling yourself, you’re selling your credentials and expertise. So if you’ve got a degree, if you’ve been in the business for ten years, whatever you have done well, this is where you sell yourself.

I would say, ‘I’m Frank Furness, I’ve been in the business for twenty years now, I’m a Certified Speaking Professional……... “ or you may say, ‘hi I’m Henry Smith, I’ve been in the business for some time now, I’m working for one of the best companies, I’ve been through incredible training courses. Prior to this I was a banker and I have my B.Comm degree…”

This and this is the only time that you sell yourself and the best time to sell yourself well is now.

Most companies give people a script that’s pages and pages long. I don’t know how they expect people to actually learn their scripts verbatim. So sell yourself first: then you would go into the company’s script. This is where you sell your Company, how long they have been around, various offices etc. Now, depending on your company script, you would carry on with the Ben Duffy. Your prospect wants to know that he’s dealing with a good company that has been well established, that has been around for a long time. I’d then say to him, ‘if you’re also wondering what’s in it for you, what’s in it for me; well what’s in it for you is simply that I just want to take a picture of where you are now, and where you want to be in the future and really just help you get there. What’s in it for me; if you like the way I conduct business, all I want is to be near the top of your preferred providers when you invest in our type of product or service.

This is part of our resource ‘Sales Success Strategies’ that have helped organisations and individuals globally to increase productivity and profits.

Frank Furness CSP CFP is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in sales and sales management. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 42 countries. His publications and sales resources have been sold globally. For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email or telephone+ 44 (0) 870 240 6505.

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