A Killer Sales Tip From Bobby Axelrod

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Bobby AxelrodSometimes we learn lessons from unexpected sources.

By being curious, keeping our eyes and ears open and seeing things from different perspectives, we pick up a lot of great ideas when we least expect them.

I am intrigued by Sky Atlantic’s high-octane, high-finance series ‘Billions’, starring Damian Lewis as a multi-faceted billionaire, whose private and professional  life is as incongruous with the real sales world as it could possibly be.

Oftentimes, his character, Bobby Axelrod, comes out with some gems that are applicable in the sales world, and in the last episode, he was discussing ideas with a colleague when this gem slipped out.

Axelrod said:

“It’s like when salespeople are cold-calling; they try to get the customer to say “yes”. The way I see it is…never give them a reason to say “no” – because if you take “no” out of the vocabulary, “yes” is the only word left!” 

This is intriguing because it goes against the normal aspirations of salespeople.

Whether we are cold-calling, following up on interest from an existing prospect or simply discussing terms with an existing client, we’ve been conditioned to always seek a ‘yes’ from the buyer.

Everything has to be pushed in the positive direction, accumulating reasons why your product or service is best for their business and for them.

Bobby’s idea here is to stop pushing for the yes.

Instead, accumulate reasons that pull them in the direction where ‘no’ would be the wrong choice for the buyer.

It may seem a subtle change, but it’s quite profound.

We mainly concentrate on why the buyer should go for our solution.

If we were to instead work with them so that ‘yes’ is the only word left, we aren’t ‘pushing’ anymore; we are pulling them in the right direction for their business.

In practical terms, imagine we’re selling services that back up a product choice the buyer has made.

Most salespeople would talk about the benefits of the service and try to gain agreement to taking them.

Bobby’s idea is to make the offer so agreeable and advantageous to the buyer that there is no reason to say no.

To do this, you cover the results they would achieve with your services and get the buyer to work out what the future benefits would be.

By presenting it that way, they are building up sufficient rationale to go forward themselves, in such a way that ‘no’ is not an option.

This way, you are putting all the emphasis on the buyer never accumulating reasons not to go with your solution.

If you’re always taking the negative out of the vocabulary in the conversation, the only word left is ‘yes’!

It’s an interesting concept and one that could open up many more opportunities for you. Try it, and see if it makes a difference.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Observer/Showtime

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 21 March, 2017

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