An article that originally appeared in the New York
Times on October 15, 1997, titled "In War Against
No-Shows, Restaurants Get Tougher," by William Grimes
is especially relevant for us as salespeople. Here
is an excerpt:
Gordon Sinclair, the owner of Gordon restaurant in
Chicago, had an epiphany about 10 years ago when he
began adding up the cost of no-shows and found that
the grand total was $900,000 a year, a figure that
got him thinking, fast.
He made a change in the restaurant's procedure that
underlines the curious moral status of a restaurant
reservation, which is less than a contract but
something more binding than "let's have lunch."
He instructed his receptionists to stop saying,"Please call us if you change your plans," and
start saying, "WILL you call us if you change
His no-show rate dropped from 30 percent to
In other words -- by asking a question and
eliciting a response -- Sinclair created a
sense of obligation. Getting that soft commitment
made a huge impact.
"May I send you some information?" is asking the
prospect to give you permission; "If I send you
some information, will you look it over and we
can talk again in a few weeks?" is asking the
prospect to commit to the next step.
If you're able to engage them at all, you should
be able to ask for some commitment--not permission.
If they're too busy right now -- or their budget
monies are coming in two weeks -- "Will we be able
to talk more about this when I call back in a
few weeks?" is asking for commitment and implies
that they need to be ready for that conversation
when you do call back. Then, you have a reason to
send them material, so they'll be ready.
On the other hand, "May I call you in a few
weeks?" is simply asking for permission.
People like to honor their commitments. If the
call ends and they have only given you permission,
why would they care what happens next? The ball is
not in their court.
But, if the call ends and they've committed to
doing something, odds are good they'll do it.
And, if asking for that commitment doesn't
feel right, then it probably means you've
got more work to do in building interest.
Make it your goal on every call to ask a
version of "Will you...?" as opposed to
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"The success of your presentation will be judged not by
the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives."
About the author:
Art Sobczak, President of
Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working
with business-to-business salespeople--both inside and outside--designing
and delivering content-rich programs that participants begin
showing results from the very next time they get on the phone.
Audiences love his "down-to-earth,"entertaining style,
and low-pressure, easy-to-use, customer oriented ideas and techniques.
He works with thousands of sales reps each year helping them
get more businesses by phone. Art provides real world, how-to
ideas and techniques that help salespeople use the phone more
effectively to prospect, sell, and service, without morale-killing
"rejection." Using the phone in sales is only difficult for people who use
outdated, salesy, manipulative tactics, or for those who aren't
quite sure what to do, or aren't confident in their abilities.
Art's audiences always comment how he simplifies the telesales
process, making it easily adaptable for anyone with the right