Sandler Training: Existing Clients: Could There Be Gold in Them Hills?

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Existing Clients: Could There Be Gold in Them Hills?

For the past two years, every Thursday afternoon unless it was a holiday, Sally has religiously made phone calls to existing clients seeking additional business or if not that, then a referral to someone else. Her success in doing this is well known in the company. Other salespeople shake their heads, and some attribute her success to luck; others think she mysteriously brainwashes her customers.

“Hello,” says Sally into the phone, “Marsha, is that you? Terrific. And yourself? I appreciate that, but this is actually a business call. For sure. With your help, I’m trying to do one of two things today. Either we decide to talk about more business or, if that isn’t going to happen, I need to know who you could put me in contact with . . . does this make sense to you? It does make sense? Good. Your turn to talk.”

I don’t understand, thought Sally to herself halfway through her normal Thursday afternoon phone call routine, why the other salespeople think I’m just lucky. So far I’ve made fifteen calls, got three appointments and four referrals.

“Sally,” called Greg, walking into the office, “You calling your customers up again and putting the hex on them?”

“What day of the week is this, Greg?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, Thursday. And what does Sally do on Thursday? She sits down and dials for dollars. You’re just lucky.”

“It’s not luck. You’ve all listened to me on the phone. All I do is ask for business or a referral, and I do it every week. Luck has got nothing to do with it.”

“Well, you just have a knack that no one seems to be able to copy.”

“What do I do that doesn’t make sense to you?” she asked, becoming annoyed.

“Why can you do it and we can’t?”

“Because you won’t use the words I use, and the reason everyone gives is that they don’t sound right. They didn’t sound right to me, either, when I first started using them. But after a month or two, they do sound right . . . and they work. You all know that.”

Greg sat on the desk next to hers and said, “I appreciate what you are saying Sally, but you’ve got your style, I’ve got mine, and I do alright. Why change?”

Sally has definite goals as a salesperson. In addition to goals, she has also adopted behaviors that help her reach her goals. One goal is to call existing customers every week on the same day and time. Sally consciously made the decision to always call on Thursday afternoon to ensure that this time would not be used for something else.

In addition to her “religious” prospecting of existing customers, she has another goal that is a bit more subtle but equally as important. What she says to her customers during the follow-up call is almost identical, call after call. By keeping the wording almost identical, she can determine the effectiveness of her wording. If she varied the wording from call to call, there would be no way to determine the effectiveness and what to rephrase.

Greg doesn’t want to use her wording because it’s “not his style.” Does Greg have a goal to increase his sales? If he does, as most salespeople do, then perhaps his current style does need to be changed to determine if the change would result in more sales.

To do better, you have to change how you work instead of just doing the same thing you currently do for longer periods of time expecting that better results will just come.

by Karl Schaphorst, President

402-403-4334 |

Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies.  For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at  You can also follow his blog at

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