Elmer Wheeler discovered his principles for sales success by working with struggling retail stores and door-to-door salesmen during the Great Depression of 1929 to 1939… the worst economic crisis in American history. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to feed your family by hawking vacuum cleaners door-to-door to housewives during the Great Depression?
Times might have changed, but Wheeler’s 5 key principles of successful sales haven’t:
1. Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle
It’s the sizzle that sells the steak and not the cow. Hidden in everything you sell is a sizzle. The sizzle is the tang in the cheese, the crunch in the cracker, the whiff in the coffee and the pucker in the pickle.
2. Don’t write, telegraph
Your first 10 words are more important than your next 10,000. In fact if your first 10 words aren’t the right words, you won’t have the chance to use the next 10,000 because your customer will walk away from you physically if he doesn’t float away from you mentally.
3. Say it with flowers
It’s as much what you do as what you say in the sale. You must learn to synchronise your sizzle with showmanship. Back up your words with actions and gestures. Demonstrate, but demonstrate to sell.
4. Don’t ask if, ask which
Always give the other fellow a choice between something and something, never between something and nothing.
5. Watch your bark
Watch your voice. It’s as much how you say it as what you say that counts.