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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Stephanie Downs

Recent Posts by Stephanie Downs:

What I Learned Again about Sales—from the Guy Who Poured My Wine

learning-about-sales-from-the-guy-who-poured-my-wineAnybody who knows me knows I enjoy a glass of red wine. I am not a connoisseur by any means, but I do love a good glass of Cabernet. 

While traveling recently, I requested a glass at dinner and the server went above and beyond the call of duty. Instead of serving me the house Cabernet (honestly, I would probably have been fine with that), he immediately asked what I liked. Full bodied? Heavy? And then he proceeded to pour me three samples to choose from. The dollar-per-glass charge for samples became a moot point. I knew what I was getting and that I would enjoy my vino with dinner. What service!

This server also called most customers by name when they entered, poured their “usual,” and asked about their kids and pets. Oh, to have more servers like this….

What was the sales lesson I was reminded of as I watched this genius server in action?

Topics: Sales sales process

How to Get Upgraded to First Class—in Sales!

first-class-upgradeI recently read an article on how to get one of those choice seats in the first-class cabin. One suggestion was to be nice and smile at the gate agent. Gee, I don’t think so! Yes, I should be courteous and warm, but no, there is darn little chance that being sweet will get me upgraded. I know the computer makes those decisions based on the passenger’s status in the airline’s loyalty program, how much they paid for their ticket, when they bought it, and numerous other factors. Rarely does the gate agent have any discretion as to which of us weary travelers gets that last first-class seat.

But the article did have value—because it made me think about how salespeople get “upgraded” in the minds of our prospects. In that realm, there’s no computer and no algorithm. And while smiling probably won’t make much of a difference, how we behave totally determines how we’re perceived and whether the prospect gives us first-class treatment (an appointment) or not.

Topics: Sales

Parenting and Coaching Salespeople: Two of the Same

coaching salespeopleLife teaches you things that you just can’t learn by being told or by reading in a text book. I believe very much in coaching salespeople to their fullest by utilizing their natural strengths. It doesn’t mean we ignore their weaknesses; it just means that we have to find other ways to get things accomplished sometimes.

Topics: Management Talent Sales

How is Being Hospitalized Like the Sales Process?

sales strategyAs it turns out, there are several similarities! After a recent 48 hour stint in the hospital, I had a number of observations on how the selling process is perceived from the prospect or customer's point of view.  

Topics: setting expectations new business development sales strategy Sales

Air Conditioning and Sales Performance: a Summer Sales Strategy

sales strategySometimes our real-life experiences as customers provide those of us at The Center for Sales Strategy with great examples of how the sales process should flow. Not long ago, my air conditioner died, so I asked my trusted neighbors who they would recommend. We valued their opinion, so we called that company. The next day, this service provider came to our house. (We also called another company, and they said they would come and never did). The rest of the story is near-perfect execution of customer focused selling.

Topics: setting expectations Setting Appointments new business development Sales