Articles on Selling by Robert Seviour


Sales Training Courses

Next Dates

Sales Training Manuals

Articles on Selling

Delegate Feedback

About Robert Seviour

Keynote Speeches

One-On-One Sales Coaching

Custom Sales Training Manuals




How to do the Hard Things in Sales

What do you find hard to do in sales? . . .  Let me guess.

Is it

  • Prospecting?

  • Getting to appointments on time?

  • Closing?

  • Handling objections?

  • Writing up activity reports?

  • Getting samples and literature from your company?


I've driven to the designated area and sat in my car with absolutely no enthusiasm for getting out and starting door-to-door canvassing - and it's exactly the same with telephone prospecting, You dream up all sorts of reasons why today is not going to be a good day, or the time is too early or late or It's lunchtime. Myself, I then procrastinate another 10 minutes tidying up all the junk on my desk.

These avoidance strategies achieve nothing, of course. They are moments of your life where you feel uncomfortable and if you are paid by results, you aren't earning anything either. So my suggestion is, switch off the negative self-talk and start. That's all, just do it.

The surprising thing is that once you get started your mindset changes and the task doesn't seem anything like as horrible as you thought it was going to be.

Getting to appointments on time
Are you a chronic late-arriver? I know many people who are. Perhaps you don't realise the effect that not being there when you say you will has on prospects, so let me tell you. It's annoying and it makes them think that if you can't even manage to be on time then It's likely that you aren't to be trusted in other ways.

What's more, it has the secondary effect of making you feel bad too. You get to your meeting and have to begin by apologising. That is not a good way to start.

The biggest part of the cure is to understand that even if punctuality seems unimportant to you, many other people think differently and if you turn up late it is going to spoil your chances of doing business.

Practical things you can do are;

  • Use reminder systems – program your computer, PDA, mobile phone or alarm clock to give you a reminder.

  • Be realistic about how long other tasks are going to take and build in allowances for items over-running.

  • Check for transport delays well before setting out. Are flights delayed, is there traffic chaos on the roads?

  • If It's important, travel the night before, where you can, stay within an easy walk of your meeting place.

  • Look up the address of where you are heading before you set out, find it on a map.

  • Aim to arrive early, not simply at the appointed time. Use the extra minutes to review your client notes so you as well prepared as you can be.

If you are having trouble with closing, make sure that you do these things: 

  • Use trial closes, to check how the customer likes what you are telling them at all important stages before you get to the final purchasing decision.

  • Use 'Price-conditioning' by giving the customer an idea of the price early on. A good way to do this is to offer a choice of three price categories; basic, regular and de-luxe and get the customer to indicate which one is most suitable.

  • When your presentation is finished ask if the customer is happy with everything. If the answer is, 'Yes', then say, 'Can we proceed?'

Handling Objections
If you are having trouble with closing, make sure that you do these things: 

  • 'Isolate the objection', meaning make sure that there is only one objection to deal with. If the customer presents a series of objections, most likely this indicates that he or she does not have purchasing authority.

Underlying many objections is the fear of spending a lot of money. A good strategy to deal with this is to discover, by asking appropriate questions, what the cost of the 'problem' is and how long it has been going on. Then you can calculate how much the problem has already cost the customer.

Now demonstrate that purchasing from you will save money over the long-term and thus represents a sensible investment.

Writing up activity reports
It seems a chore to do this at the time but by comparing what you did when things were going well with what your activity is when it isn't, you get a clear indication of what is necessary in order to get back to the good times.

Nearly always the driver of good sales results is a period of energetic prospecting which you did some while before.

Referring to your customer notes before a call or a visit lets you create the (correct) impression that you are on the ball - another good reason for keeping good records.

Even if you don't feel like it, make your notes immediately after customer contact. The details are rapidly forgotten otherwise.

Getting samples and literature from your company
This shouldn't be a problem, but often it is.

You ask for a decent sample and a stock of company brochures and you are told, 'Make do with what you've got, we're waiting for new ones to come in'.

So either make your own samples, if that is feasible, or should there be a manufacturing facility in your company, you may be able to obtain some items directly from them.

For brochures, you may be able to create either documents which you print out on a colour laser printer (for a professional appearance), or with some web-knowledge, you can achieve the same in a web page you build yourself.

Either way It's better than using nth generation photocopies. That's what I was offered in some companies I have worked for.

Building up a portfolio of references and testimonials takes time, so always be on the lookout for items you can put into your collection.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

The Selling for Engineers manual

About the Selling for Engineers Manual



More articles on better selling




Questions/comments - drop me a line at



Sales Engineer Training Courses | Sales Training Manuals | Articles on Selling | Delegate Feedback | About Robert Seviour | Client List

One-On-One Sales Coaching | Custom Sales Training Manuals | Privacy Policy | Site Map

shopify analytics ecommerce