How To Use The Columbo Sales Strategy

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

I remember my nan used to love Columbo.

Everytime I was around her house as a youngster Peter Falk would be on solving another murder case wearing that horrible overcoat!

I loved the way he used to play dumb to get further information from his suspects and you can learn a lesson or two from him to get further information from your prospects and clients too!

Columbo was far from Dumb!

Here’s how to use the Columbo sales strategy…

Now do you remember that he’d be questionning a suspect, the suspect would give him a reply that put him in the clear and then Columbo would agree with him and start to walk away. The camera would pan to the suspects face who would have that smug “I’ve got away with it look” and then Columbo would turn around, put his hand on his head and say:

“Oh, by the way. There’s just one more thing….”

And whammo, that question would rip open the suspect and expose their alibi.

Well, you should do something similar when faced with an objection over the phone.

Listen to the end of this call:

“Like I said earlier on in the call, I’m not interested”

“Oh ok, John. Well thank you for listening anyhow.
I hope your programme is a success (Prospect is relieved that the call is ended and then…) Oh, by the way, just out of interest, when is your contract due to end with ABC John?”

“Next August”

“Well good luck with everything John…”

Right. Now a lot of calls would have ended after the
initial: “Like I said before, we’re not interested”

But our Columbo fan lowered the defences of the prospect by saying they were going and then came in with:

“Oh, just one more thing…”

This technique will get you a lot of information.

You have to say it in such a way that it comes across as an after-thought though and that it’s unrehearsed.

But both you and I know that it’s completely planned…..just like Columbo’s responses!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 29 July, 2009

Related Articles

Arrow down

Search For More

Arrow down