Last weekend, I was reading an old tattered booklet on Elmer Wheeler and his selling techniques which I picked up from one of the booksellers who sell old, second-hand books of a wide variety of subjects from the pavements (in front of stores that are closed on Sundays) here in Hyderabad, India. These pavements are a fascinating place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, pottering among literally thousands of books, collected from across the country from owners who for reasons unknown sell these precious books to vendors for a couple of rupees.
Wheeler was quite a pioneer in way. As a newspaper advertising space sales person, he discovered that the weak link between effective advertising which bring prospective customers to the stores and the actual sale is the salesperson. He realized that getting his clients ads in the newspaper is probably just the beginning of his job. That started him off on a ten-year research on what words or sentences spoken by a sales person will substantially increase sale. He purportedly tested about 1 million words on more than 19 million people before he came with his “wheeler points”.
He was fond of saying that the best-looking merchandize won’t sell for itself and prettiest dotted line won’t sign itself without the intelligent persuasion of somebody’s words.
Wheeler Point 1: Sell the sizzle, not the steak
Discover the main benefit which will appeal to the customer and convey that very benefit. Don’t sell drill 4” drill bits; sell 4” holes. In other words, talk in terms of benefits not features.
Wheeler Point 2: Don’t write; telegraph
As a salesperson, use minimum words. Every unnecessary word jeopardizes the sale. It is what you say in the first 10 seconds that will make or break the sale.
Wheeler Point 3: Say it with flowers
You ‘sizzles’ should be demonstrated. Any physical action, gestures, expressions or still better showing how the product works. Get action with action.
Wheeler Point 4: Don’t ask if, ask which
Always give the customer a choice between something and something; not something and nothing. Don’t ask if, ask which, when, where or how.
Wheeler Point 5: Watch your bark
The finest ‘sizzle’ said is telegraphed in 10 seconds with a bouquet of flowers, and enough ‘which’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ will not work if your voice does not have enough sincerity and enthusiasm.
There are some more wheeler points. But even these five have achieved such stupendous increase in sales that it is almost unbelievable. You must read the book to appreciate the effectiveness of these ‘tested sentences’. I found a free online version at http://www.sentencesthatsell.com
I am sure that the current day sales training is doing a good job. But I think for product training, a training program on Wheeler’s methods can do wonders. And it can be done online, with a carefully designed eLearning course.
What do you think? Thank you for reading my blog and I welcome your comments and sharing of experiences.
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