The unheard of missing act to marketing and persuasion.

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The Take-Away Sale. The missing act to marketing and persuasion.

IN business, you should always seek to turn the tables to your advantage. Nothing turns the tables quite like the Take-Away sale. The Take-Away Sale is the salesperson’s way of showing the prospect who is in charge here. It takes some guts to do it — especially when you’re hurting for sales. But it has great power within it. People respond well to it. Here’s how you execute it.

Imagine you sell real estate. You’re good. You’ve earned a good track record. You work hard, often including the weekends. You’ve written lots of articles about real estate in your area. You’ve worked hard to be recognized as a go-to person when it comes to getting stuff sold. You’ve built a reputation.

For listings, you want to get some background on the house, the comps surrounding it, the current homeowners, etc. You even have a set of hoops you like the existing homeowners to jump through in order to see if they’re compliant with what you want. If nothing else, it is a good test.

Finally, you meet with them, feeling them out, seeing what their expectations are. If you feel that they are a good fit for you and your company, you tell them your terms. If you feel that they are not a good fit, you take yourself out of the running and recommend another real estate agent that better fits their needs. Yes, you recommend the competition. You take yourself away from them.

Few would do this.

This takes balls, gumption, chutzpah. Few would do something like this. But it is the ultimate in self-respect for a salesperson. It communicates that you do business on your terms — only your terms. You are here to win your way whether people are with you or not. You know what you want, you know what has been successful for you and you’re not willing to compromise on that. People cannot help but respect that pushback. There is something psychologically surprising about it. Who would do that? Push a potential customer away and recommend the competition?

Telling people that you aren’t for everyone is a great sales strategy. If we are honest, no one is for everyone. You are for these people over here, the right fit for you. There’s no way you can be for everyone. Plus, the more selective you are, the more people will want to do business with you. The more selective you are, the higher fees you can charge people. It’s the way it works. Exclusivity and selectivity work wonders. You create them and you augment them through your own behavior and aura.

The Take-Away Sale: present it to them and then take it away from them.

Inject some scarcity into your business and personal life. Make yourself less available. Tell people how much demand for you and your services there is, that it is hard for your firm to keep up. Tell people no more often, and then recommend someone else who can help solve their problem. You’re simply too busy at this time to help. This will puzzle them, and drive them crazy for your services.

A wonderful business position to be in is to have to turn away business. It’s a great problem to have because it means that you’re booked and you get to refer business to others. If you do it right, you can even get a piece of their action for the referral. Nothing builds confidence like pushing business to others because you’re booked out 6 months. It rocks. And if you can push business to your friends and get a piece of the referral, all the better.

Embody the confidence of a full book of business.

Few will choose to employ Take-Away selling as a sales strategy because they don’t believe in themselves and what they do enough to make it work. But I assure you — it works. Imagine being that contractor or service provider booked out 6 months. He doesn’t need the work right now. He can prove to people that he doesn’t need the work. Plus, this is sub-communicated in his body language, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s embodying the confidence of a full book of business, even during the off season. He can market to people and then push them away. This drives people crazy when they cannot have what it is they want, especially if you have a reputation as being the best. Some even offer to pay 1.3, 1.5x his normal prices just to have him work their project in front of others. Wouldn’t you like that for your business?

Many people will say that won’t work for me or my market is different without even trying it first. It’s a strange, puzzling thing to say to someone without even trying it. Note that most markets are not that different. They are far more alike than they are dissimilar. Why wouldn’t you try something that’s been known to substantially increase business again and again? It’s like having the inside baseball on a topic and then not do anything with it. It’s like knowing the shortcut exists and not taking it.


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I’m a sales, marketing and tech Pro who creates content designed to help people solve problems and shift perspectives.

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