PHOENIX - "The reason you don't sell more is you suck at sales. How many times have you said let's lower our price to get our foot in the door then come back in six months and really lose some money?"

Everyone knew instantly Jeffery Gitomer was not your average keynote speaker. His in-your-face, irreverent, and sometimes politically incorrect style kept everyone engaged at the opening session of the recent Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) meeting in Phoenix.

"Here's a clue, they've heard that before." According to Gitomer, the old way of selling doesn't work anymore. "What's more important; how to sell or why people buy? Knowing why people buy is 1,000 times more powerful than knowing how to sell. Buyers are looking for help and answers, they don't want to be educated; they just want answers."

"Don't buy yet, I'm not done talking." "Why don't we listen to flight safety instructions? We're inside a flying refrigerator! Someone with a bad voice reads a bad script into a bad microphone. If we listened we'd hear them say, ‘If you use the seat cushion as a flotation device, please keep it with our complements.' The way to get people to listen and create an atmosphere in which they are comfortable buying is by asking questions. The deeper your questions, the more you engage them. The secret to sales is friendly, emotional engagement. Act professionally, talk friendly, and have an attitude of yes!"

The No. 1 question in sales, "Would you like fries with that?" "You've got to focus on the up-sell. Thirty to 40 percent of people buy price, 60 to 70 percent buy value. When people buy value they make buying decisions emotionally, then justify them logically. They must believe, have confidence, like, and trust you. When they want your new ideas and answers, you become a resource, a friend, and a trusted advisor. All things being equal, people want to do business with friends."

"If you don't want your furnace to come on when it gets cold I can do it for $2,000, too." "You ask your kids to stick with what they believe in. If you believe in your price why don't you stick to it? Here's a clue, they forget how much they saved when it breaks down at midnight. Price isn't the barrier, it's the lack of a relationship that's the barrier. If you bid all the time, you have no relationships."

It's all about word-of-mouth advertising. "The biggest overlooked resource is customer referrals. Here's an idea, video tape your customers telling how you came to their rescue and show it around."

How to get people to return your calls. "Leave a message that says, ‘I was talking to your biggest competitor and they said' - then hang up. Or have your seven year old call and say, ‘My daddy sent you a proposal ... and I'm hoping I can go to college.'"

Invest your time in things that will help you succeed. Begin categorizing your thoughts, strategies, and ideas in writing. Remember, mediocre is the lack of belief more than the lack of skills.

Jeffery Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, and Customer Loyalty is Priceless. He spoke to HARDI members on October 31, 2005, at the association's national convention. He is president of Charlotte, N.C.-based BuyGitomer Inc. Gitomer conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704-333-1112, or

Publication date: 12/05/2005