For much of my career I have been in sales management. The first thing any new salesperson learns is the ABCs of sales. You know – Always Be Closing. Turns out, this is a totally five minutes ago approach. I’m delighted to have veteran sales coach and motivational speaker Biff Biven take the helm this week as my guest blogger, to tell VFTB’s readers about the NEW ABCs of sales. That’s Biff on the left.
Biff is proud to say he came just 3 credits shy of graduating from Rebel Yell Elementary School in Biloxi, Mississippi. He is a renowned expert on direct sales strategies, having done direct selling for several decades (on and off, when he was not collecting welfare checks or serving time). Some of his achievements include direct sales roles with KFC, McDonalds (where he once met Ronald), Stanley Steamer carpet cleaner, and Shucks Auto Supply, to name just a few of the 37 Fortune 10,000 companies he has worked with over the past 35 years. He is perhaps most proud of his current role with Dominos, where every day he is personally responsible for driving regional sales (in his 1987 two-tone Ford Pinto hatchback).
Even in his formative years, Biff (age uncertain – he lost his birth certificate in a poker game around age 9) was always an entrepreneur. When he wasn’t serving time in juvie for petty larceny or running a con game (which Biff likes to remind people is a form of sales), he would take just about any sales job he could get. He showed great initiative at a very young age – like at age 11 when he went door-to-door selling his uncle’s taxidermy services to people whose pets had recently been hit by a car (which oddly enough matched the description of Biff’s uncle’s car).
Then there was Biff’s short-lived Guns ‘n Kids store. Before you start saying “bad idea, Mr. Biven”, you should know, in fairness to Biff, he had a strict policy of never selling bullets to kids at this store – only guns. For bullets, you had to ride your bike three miles down the street to his Ammo ‘n Kids store. A true sales pioneer, Biff has learned as much from his failures in life as from his near failures.
Because I’ve been really busy this past week, I didn’t have time to actually read over Biff’s post below before publishing it. But I am sure it’s filled with proven success strategies sure to help you grow your business. After all, we’re all in sales in one form or another. If you decide you want to hire Biff as your own personal sales coach or perhaps for your next sales team meeting as a motivational speaker, I’m told his rates are very reasonable. He does not, however, accept any major credit cards or checks – just cash, cases of Bud, and cans of Skoal.
See you next week. – Tim Jones
PS: Biff informed me that his article is best understood if read with a thick southern accent.
Why, hello there, evurbahdy! My name is Biff Biven. And I would like to teach y’all how to be as successful at sales as I have been over my illustrious 35-year career. First let me start by askin’ y’all a question. Y’all remember the old adage about the ABC’s of sales, right? Well if y’all thought it stood for Always Be Closing, y’all would be wrong. In the new Biff Biven approach to Sales Superstardom, it goes like this:
A: Ask for the sale.
B: Buy yurself a beer.
C: Call it a day.
But y’all know, there really aren’t just 3 letters to my secret to sales success. Nope. There is a whole gosh darn alphabet soup of sales secrets, from A to um, well, whatever letter is at the other end. For the first time anywhere, I’m gonna reveal them to y’all. Here goes…
D: Drink – heavily – with yur customers. That’s the best time to get them to sign legally confusin’ documents.
E: Expense the lap dances. No, wait, that’s a different topic. That’s from Biff Biven’s A to Z’s of Gettin’ Even with Uncle Sam on yur Taxes. I meant to say E is for be an Expert on whatever product y’all are sellin’. For example, back when I was a salesman at Big Burt’s Tractor Barn in Mobile, Alabama, I could tell ya’ the names of every pinup girl on the John Deere Tractor Wall Calendar for five years runnin’. Check it out: Miss August 1978? Now that would be Bonnie Sue Bailey. Go check it out yurself if ya’ don’t believe me. I’ll wait.
F: Feign concern about whatever the hell yur customer is yammerin’ on about when they whine about their “pain” and their “needs.” They like it when they think ya’ care. F also stands for Forecastin’. After a long, hard day of sellin’ pizzas, there’s nothin’ I like better than grabbin’ my rod and reel, hoppin’ in my Ford F-150 and headin’ out to the lake for castin’ for some striped bass for dinner.
G: Golfin’ is a great way to bond with yur customers. Golfin’ and drinkin’ is an even better way to bond, and if y’all lucky, they might not even notice ya’ charged yur greens fees and bar tab to them.
H: H… H… H… Hmmm… Hell if I know what in tarnation H would stand for. I forgot about that letter….
I is for I contact. Always look em’ in the I. And if she’s really purdy, don’t let ‘em catch ya’ lookin’ at her banister, if y’all know what I mean. That tends to piss ‘em off. I learned that lesson the hard way when my girlfriend was watchin’.
J: Joke around. It’s a great way to create rapport with yur prospect. For example, have y’all ever heard this one: There was a priest, a rabbi and a stripper in this here row boat. And the stripper gets her t-shirt all splashed wet, and the Priest leans over to the Rabbi and says …. On second thought, perhaps I should save this one for my advanced course on sales.
K is for Klosin’. As in, “Hell, is it already 2am? Klosin’ time at the Suds and Spuds Tavern sure snuck up on me.” K is also for Krispy Kreme donuts. Whenever I blow a sale – which is rare for me – the best way I cheer myself up – other than by gettin’ drunk, of course – is buyin’ a dozen Krispy Kremes and eatin’ through my pain. The more my pain, the more sprinkles I order.
L: Listen to the Customer. Ah, I’m just kiddin’. What I really mean is Look like yur listenin’. Just make sure to throw in a couple “I see’s” and a few “uh huh’s” every now and then and they’ll think ya’ actually care.
M: Manage yur time carefully. Do some research about yur prospect before yur sales call. See if there are any funny videos about them on You Tube – lessen of course there’s a game on. Then, the M stands for “Miller Time! Time for another cold brewski.
N is for Negotiatin’ – that’s where sales really begins. Y’all have to know how to bargain. This sometimes means comin’ up with some incentives to sweeten the deal. For example, “I’ll throw in a case of Bud, two tickets to Wrestlemania XII and a $25 Hooters gift certificate but only if y’all sign this little piece of paper before I walk out the door. Ya’ have sixty seconds, startin’ right….. Now!” (Don’t forget to bring yur stop watch. Hell, any watch’ll do.)
O: Offer personal support after the sale. For example, “If y’all sign that little piece of paper right now, I promise to personally deliver the case of Bud and the Wrestlemania tickets to yur kegger party. Y’all don’t mind if I bring a few of my bowling buddies, do y’all?” This shows y’all genuinely pretend to care about them not just now, but after the sale too.
Oh one more thing. Mr. Jones wanted me to pass onto y’all somethin’ about “That there being the view from the bleachers. Perhaps he’s off base or somethin’” – what in the Hell does that mean, anyway? I ain’t got a clue.
END OF PART I (Click here to continue onto Part II)
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2010 – 2011