The "ANB" Newsletter Sign-Up

You Will Not Believe a “Sales Guru” Actually Uses These Techniques

Posted on July 14, 2011

On The ANB, we’re consistently trying to show you ways to improve your new business program and it’s typically in the form of what we recommend you should do.  In this case, it’s all about what you shouldn’t do.

Several of us went to a sales symposium recently to help inspire us and get some fresh ideas on prospecting and breaking through.  What ensued over that three hour time frame was a mostly horrific exercise in case after text book case of old school, high pressure, in several cases downright deceitful selling techniques.

Below are but a few examples of what we heard that fateful day.  A true bonding experience for most of us there, as we listened in growing fascination and disgust to the ways in which we were told how to increase our sales.

Ideally these give you a good laugh (or not) but if you or your new business director are coming anywhere close to these examples, please, please re-think your approach.

(I’m paraphrasing in these, and will be speaking in the voice of the instructor in italics with my own thoughts after each):

The Gatekeeper is not your friend; they’re there to make sure you don’t get through. You can’t let the happen. When you call and they ask your name, give them your name and only your name, no matter what they ask you, every time. So if your name is Tom Mclean, that’s all you tell them.

Q: What company are you with?

A: Tom Mclean.

Q: The reason for your call?

A: Tom McLean.

Q: Is he expecting your call?

A:  Tom Mclean.

Seriously? I don’t really even get this.  I guess the Gatekeeper is just supposed to give up and put you through? Never happen.

Back to the Gatekeeper, if he/she tells you the President is in a meeting, you can’t let that happen.  You tell the Gatekeeper what to do, you’re in charge. Don’t be afraid to do that, they respect authority.  Tell them to take down your information and interrupt the meeting, what you have to say to the President is important and he’ll be glad you did.

I’m not making up one bit of the above.  Can you imagine actually pulling this? Besides being immensely insulting to the person who answered the phone, the above is a guarantee you’ll never talk to that President.

I love voicemail, you know why, more and more these days, CMO’s are leaving their cell phone on their voice mail messages.  That’s gold! Now you’ve got the guaranteed “in.”  Use that to your advantage and often; keep calling until you get through, don’t worry about interrupting them.

? ! . . . Great way to get sucker punched if you ever meet them in person.

In the words of Forrest, That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Agency new business is about respect, research, relationship building and polite persistence, amongst other things.

I have more examples and maybe I’ll share them in another post, but just reliving that seminar is making me alternately queasy and a little upset.

Please, stay far, far away from these techniques.

Post by 

As Director of Business Development at RSW/US, Lee brings new agency clients on board and handles marketing and social media for RSW/US. You can find him on Google+ ( or Twitter (@leemcknightjr).

6 responses to "You Will Not Believe a “Sales Guru” Actually Uses These Techniques"

  1. ilan geva 15/07/2011 11:41 am Reply

    I can’t believe someone is paid to conduct a workshop like that!
    Please tell us who it was, we should all be informed about this and stay away.

  2. Bob Mazerov 15/07/2011 11:58 am Reply

    Each is increasingly bizarre. Whomever this lecturer was, his tactics will definitely work for small-time, easily-intimidated gatekeepers, but not for the vast majority of people who demsnd (and whom we should expect to) respect. If you were to ask this lecturer “How would you feel if somebody treated you this way?” or “How would your assistant feel if somebody treated them that way?” and his answer was anything positive like “I’d think the sales guy was a go-getter” he is not only a goofball, he’s not the kind of person I would want representing my company. I thought this kind of (lack of) mentality went away 30 years ago.

    • Lee McKnight Jr 18/07/2011 08:18 am Reply

      Thanks for the comment Bob. We are all pretty floored. I think the answer would have been “go-getter” to your point. We did feel like we were in some kind of sales way-back time machine. Very door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales.

  3. Bob Mazerov 15/07/2011 11:59 am Reply

    Oops. I meant “demand” not the innovative and incorrect spelling I had in my posting. Now who looks like the goofball?

  4. Jim Thebeau 16/07/2011 09:40 am Reply

    I agree with your approach completely. It’s hard to believe that anyone would promote such antiquated sales techniques when relationship and trust building is so vital to success. Thanks for sharing this sales training disaster.

  5. Lee McKnight Jr 18/07/2011 08:13 am Reply

    Thanks for your comment Jim. It was definitely something to behold.

Leave your response