Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cranky Contrarian

My column this week in the Financial Post stems from a jaded interview with U.S. marketing consultant Michael Port, author of a 2008 book entitled The Contrarian Effect:Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite.

You see, most of his “contrarian” advice (such as “establish yourself as a trusted advisor”) is the same stuff I've been learning at sales training for years. But Port defended himself well, saying that just because people learn this stuff doesn't mean they practice it. He still sees professional sales people basing everything they do on the ABC rule: “Always be closing.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story:
So what’s Port’s solution? He believes in slowing down the sales process. Don't base it on all-or-nothing decision points: make it about developing ongoing relationships, with multiple offers along the way to keep customers hooked. The offer might be a product, or an introductory sample or an invitation – anything that keeps the sales relationship alive and moving forward.

“The concept of closing doesn’t make sense,” says Port. “Why would you try to close off something? Why wouldn’t you try to keep things open?”

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