A Secret Selling Weapon

A Secret Selling Weapon

Here is something I figured out early on in my business career although I didn’t have a name for it way back then. Today I know it as “positioning” more particularly positioning you and your business as the only logical choice for your clients and prospects to do business with… in spite of any other likely competitor.

I could argue it is this thing above everything that has allowed me to enjoy an extraordinary business life in every sense of the word.

Nobody seeks out the Wise Man at the bottom of the mountain!

You must position yourself at the top of the hypothetical mountain; project some exclusivity!

When you position yourself so qualified prospects find out about you or at least have the feeling of discovering you, they will seek you out to gain from your expertise in solving their problems.

Resistance to sales will increase or decrease, depending on whether a prospect finds and approaches you, or you find and approach them.

This means you must position yourself where you are likely to be found.

In my own case the books, manuals and seminars I run, position me in such a way I am on the ‘front foot’ rather than back foot. The credibility and notoriety I gain by using these methods, alters the sales process for me. I try and position myself as a ‘expert/authority’. By doing so people are predisposed to do business with me at my price and on my terms.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

If Your Positioning is Right, You Can Have a Very Powerful Selling Tool at Your Disposal –

“Take Away Selling”

Which do you perceive to be better? A hair salon where you have to make an appointment a week in advance or one where you walk in off the street and get your hair cut. Nobody goes to see the wise man at the bottom of the mountain – you must position yourself at the top of the mountain.  Create the impression people will have to scale the hypothetical mountain to get to you. You must project some exclusivity.

So what is ‘take-away’ selling? It is when people can see how buying from you or procuring your services will benefit them.  But it’s not going to be too easy for them to reach you.  They can see it, but they can’t quite have it and so they desire it with more urgency!

One particular Landscape Gardener I coached used this technique during the sales process. His spiel sounds something like this …

“At ‘Green Garden Landscape’ you are dealing with a company that personally oversees your whole project from the design, excavating, demolishing and construction using our own teams of qualified trade people to bring your dreams to reality with little disruption to daily life.

You see, we guarantee to finish on time and on budget. Now you may be comfortable with a more conventional one man band jack-of-the-trade type of landscaper who is not as selective about taking in work”…

(My client then takes out his address book and says )

“If you would like to entrust your landscaping to someone who prefers to operate like that, I can recommend several landscapers. But if you would like us to prepare rough drawings for you we can get underway immediately.”

Take Away Selling is positioning from start to finish. It basically says, “I’m picky about who I accept as a client.  Do you qualify?”

I didn’t invent this. In major cities like New York and LA there are apartment buildings where you can’t rent an apartment. To meet the standards required for you to rent or buy there, you must be sponsored by an existing tenant, your application is put to the vote by all the existing tenants … you have to jump through hoops just to be permitted to buy/rent.

Many Doctors, Hair Stylists, Therapists, Attorneys and such, have what we call Leading Lists Practices.

Why shouldn’t you carry this air of exclusivity over to your business?  The point is if you have enough business flow, enough big prospects being magnetically attracted to you, you will have to say “no” to some and in the final analysis, your positioning will become your position.

Take Away Selling is very powerful psychologically. Everybody wants the tickets they can’t get – the ones to get you into that exclusive club. Stepping back from a prospect draws him to you, stepping toward him drives him away. This very same phenomenon occurs in any relationship, whether business or personal. Try it as an experiment. In conversation, move physically away from the other person and watch as she/he moves towards you. Now step closer to him/her and they’ll step back. It’s no different in the less tangible area of the psyche.

So, I want to be positioned from the very beginning with credibility and status, so my clients eagerly pursue me, rather than me having to do the pursuing.

Fake It, Until You Make it.

What if you’re just starting out? For sales people already doing well, but seeking the ‘break-through’, to truly exceptional success, I will give you one basic example.

Imagine while you were out of the office a really hot prospect called.  Somebody whose name you recognised, and whom you’d love to get an appointment with. When do you call that person back? Immediately, later that day, or the next day?

I’m here to tell you even if you have no-one else to call, nowhere to go and nothing to do, you do not even contemplate returning call immediately!  Where are you on ‘that mountain’, at the top or the bottom? You just cannot afford to appear overly eager or too easily accessible.

You might think “Hey, I’ll demonstrate how responsive I am, how good I am with providing service”. Well that may apply after the sale, but not before, and if that sounds gimmicky, I’m sorry but I’ve just been straight with you.

The prospect’s respect for you diminishes if you are too easy to get to!

I personally now, genuinely, struggle to return calls quickly and that’s simply because my positioning has become my position.  It takes me between three days to a week now to return many of my calls, or they get delegated to a scheduled appointment.

First decide upon, define, stake out and courageously

claim your position.

Then behave as such a position demands.

You also have to work seriously on validating the position, and before you know it, the positioning you’ve created for marketing purposes becomes your actual position.

If you have read Al Ries and Jack Trouts book “The Battle For Your Mind”, on positioning and their “Twenty Two Innumerable Laws of Marketing” you gain a far deeper understanding of positioning as strategy, than if you have read “Phyco-Cybernetics”, by the late physiological author Dr Maxwell Maltz’, or “Release Your Brakes”, by Jim Newman.

If you read the works of prosperity conscientious authors like Catherine Ponder and Stuart Wild, you see positioning is a powerful application to self-fulfilling prophecy. Then if you really study the works and understand the meaning of Napoleon Hill’s dominant thought principal, as I call it, the secrets Dr Hill refers to at the beginning of his book, you will gain more clarity about “what” to do and “how” to do it. You will then occupy the position you have worked hard to reach.

Unfortunately corporate Australia and the academic fraternity, insist on conditioning us to believe we need something else to “position” us . . . a degree, a title.  But if I adhered to that regulation in the entrepreneurial world, I would’ve starved … and so will you!

My own experience is a case in point. After 24+ years buying and selling run-down or under-performing businesses and selling them for massive profits, I met with a close personal lawyer friend, for a cup of coffee.  I asked him whether he thought the business world would want to know “how I did it”? His reply was “Where is your degree, qualification?”. I thought “Yes he is right! Why would anyone want to listen to me?” And it set me back 6 to 12 months!

The deafening moral of that story is … don’t always listen to well meaning friends and relatives!

The irony of all this is I regularly speak to a packed houses of over 600+ people.  One time the University of Western Australia ran the event and paid the bills.  And they also enquired about hiring me for my coaching advice. Not bad for a high school ‘drop-out’, who swore off education at the age of 15.

In the real world of business, it works the opposite way to that we are led to believe. The super successful person firstly decides on his position, then backs it up with achievement.

I have never ever been asked for my “qualifications” by a prospect or client, and I have worked from ma and pa fish shops to publicly listed companies.

From a market perspective the need for academic qualifications has become less important. The market place today is instead results orientated. If they believe you can get the job done it seems to matter less what your qualifications are.

So position yourself as an expert in your niche and be obeyed like a heart surgeon and treated as a king not a pauper in business.

All the best,

Mal Emery
Committed to Elevating the Financial Wealth and Wellbeing of Society
Through Entrepreneurial Excellence and Guilty of Conspiracy to Create Capitalism

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  1. Mal – this is a GREAT reminder! I just had a discussion today with a friend re being ‘too accessible’ to clients and the need to step back – or is that ‘up the mountain’ ? Thankyou

  2. Many thanks Mal. I agree with you fully about results over qualifications….which only seem to prove a person can remember facts long enough to reach the exam room. I’d choose marketing/positioning over memory any day ! Im looking forward to reading your previous articles.

  3. Great article Mal… it certainly reiterates success advice and the way to remain relevant. So often we go into fear trading that we forget to dominate our industry with the secret code of success.
    Loved it ….Have a fantastic week !

  4. Who needs a qualification when we’re able to study the rants, raves and wealth secrets of a highly successful multi millionaire and Napoleon Hill. What more could you want.

    When I teach Marketing & Innovation I tell my students loudly my knowledge comes from studying successful people – not necessarily people with Quals and accodades. More often than not, the greats were not highly educated academically.
    Me included, but what I know now is worth a fortune.
    thanks a bunch Mal

  5. Hi Mal

    This is a very cleverly written article, with some very valuable information from someone who is very business savvy and who has a lot to offer those starting out, or who want to refine what they have when it comes to selling techniques.

    I guess the trick is being able to relate that back to your own business to get the best results & most importantly knowing where to ‘draw the line’, that is, when enough time has gone by that you should call that lead back…

    BTW, I really like your Woothemes layout, I use them also.


  6. ‘Frank Lloyd Wright{the world’s greatest Architect) made the statement that as a young man he had to choose between ‘honest arrogance’ or ‘hypocritical humility’. He chose ‘honest arrogance’- because he always told the truth.

    It is obvious what part of the mountain he occupied.

  7. Mal,
    I read and re read your statement about- where is your qualification….. It really struck a chord with me this experience that you had. .A on another note after today’s experience I was certainly too eager to close the deal..

    Can it be pulled back.?. What do you say Mal for the situation at hand where we have been too eager- is the deal dead.. ?

    I have that other ringing phrase in my head – Time kills deals

    I really appreciate what you have said here Mal- Thanks for sharing
    A great read.

  8. Thanks for your response to the posts, I enjoy reading them.

    Remember the world takes you at your own appraisal and money moves to you easily and in abundance based on you being perceived as the authority, cellebrity, expert and specialist in your niche or area of expertise.

    Best Mal

  9. Hi Dave, the answer to your question is complex but here it goes.

    No one goes to the wise man at the bottom of the mountain.

    Whether they seek you or you seek them determines the value, the ease and the speed of the sale etc

    The last thing you can afford to be is a sales person, no one wants to be sold to, and in fact sales people are wrongly roundly despised.

    You will make more and bigger sales, more efficiently if you set out from the get-go to alter the way a prospect typically decides acts and buys.

    My sales and marketing methods are about imposing “My Way” on the client and training him or her to do business with me the way I want to do business with them.

    My Sales and Marketing Systems ensure you NEVER COMPETE for business and charge what you damn well like.
    You need to be as Diligence with Systematizing the sales part of your business as you are in systematizing the marketing side of your business

    Hence what happens before the sale (positioning) determines how everything else happen, Ease, speed of the sale, how much you charge how hard you work etc. The damage has already been done in your case as I see it.

    We focus on the marketing side of business that delivers a customer, patient prospect client to your beauty salon, show room, website etc and if you have done this properly the conclusion they come to is they want more of you… That is not the case for you here Dave. Whatever you have done before has not been enough to tip (tipping point) them in to a sale.

    Your marketing gets them right to that point when really bad things start to happen.

    We can control and script everything up to this point of human intervention and interaction

    We can control what is said to them, in what order it is said to them up to this point.

    The biggest challenge is to deliver the live sales presentation like a scripted speech without deviation
    Easy to do in media, real hard to do with humans – They screw it up

    You need to make the sales part of your business as good as the marketing part of your business and you need seamless integration between the marketing that brings them to you and your sales process that puts the money in the bank.

    It’s time to focus your efforts from the point of sale on in addition to up to the point of sale.

    If copywriting and advertising is salesmanship in print, then selling is copywriting delivered as a performance… and any objection to scripting is nonsense.

    They want to believe and they want to buy but people are afraid to believe.

    We underestimate the number of times the rug’s been pulled away and how deeply fearful people are about having the rug pulled away so they are buying the context of ALL the other failures in their life. TODAY WE ARE STARTING FROM NEGATIVE NOT AT ZERO IN THE SALES AND MARKETING PROCESS.

    Given you situation I would go back to building trust and proof again of what you say is true e.g. your outrageous double guarantees, success case studies, testimonials, the enormous social proof of the list of the many clients it already worked for, years in business, any proof or trust building you can muster.

    Maybe try an AB assumptive YES OR YES close… NOT… will you buy or won’t you buy instead which one will you buy. Still the most powerful code of all. And finally actually ask them “what is stopping you from moving forward because I have obviously failed to convince you of the value of the …. Here” That will shake the tree and you will know what you are up against and you can re-strategise… If it’s hopeless you can at least move on.

    Normally I am too busy to give long winded replies but I am at home in plaster with a broken foot hence the bad spelling… More about that later Dave

    Good luck

  10. Commiserations on the foot… Talk about positioning! Two good things come out of this, to my way of thinking…with you being restricted, movement wise – its a good thing that you are at the top of the mountain…as people have come to you and not vice versa.

    The second is that with your enforced lay up,can we expect even greater marketing research and insights as you have more time for thinking and reflection? Recover well Leonie

  11. Hey Mal Great article, really nicely put together. An inspiration actually. You have now got me thinking of ways I can apply your theory to the florist industry – never easy.

    March on


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