I detest people who don't put
their money where their mouth is.
In the 26 years I've owned a
business, hundreds of sales reps have tried to sell me everything
from $900 fax machines (which is what I paid for our first one)
to mailing machines that cost $75,000 (of which I've bought
many, though at lower prices).
I ask them if they’re sure
their product will do what they claim, and they all say yes.
I then ask if they’ll pay me back out of their own pocket if it
doesn’t. Only about 1 in 10 says yes to this.
When the other 90% ask if not
being willing to provide a personal guarantee means they lost
the sale, my response is, “Not necessarily, but you have lost credibility”.
I don't actually want a personal
guarantee, and it wouldn't be worth much anyway. I just want to
see if they really believe in what they're selling.
I came up with this technique by
I was on the other side of the table.
While in my early twenties, I made
a presentation to a group of engineers at a Fortune 500 chemical
company. I was trying to sell a $52,000 filtration system that was more than
twice what our competitor was quoting.
I told them I was 100% sure our
product was what they needed, and one responded, “We’re just skeptical of a salesman asking us to spend an extra
$30,000 of our money”.
I naively responded,
“It’s not your money, it’s your company’s money”.
He explained that as loyal
employees, they treated it like it was their money, and asked if
I’d be so confident if it were my money.
I asked to borrow the napkin under
his coffee cup, wrote out a personal guarantee, and got the
I continued doing this with other
customers, and our region was #1 in the country that year.
To this day, I still use a
variation of this technique.
When trying to land speaking gigs
I really want, I guarantee the event planner the evaluations of
my speech will be the highest they’ve ever had.
If not, I’ll waive my fee and pay them what
they would have paid me, to cover the cost of hiring a better
speaker the next time.
(I've shared this with the over
300 speakers I've trained, but not one has been willing to
It works even better today than it
did nearly 30 years after I first began using it. I’m not sure
why, but suspect it’s because integrity isn't as
common as it used it be.
The next time you have a sales rep
call on you, try this technique and watch how many say
one thing when they’re spending OPM (Other People’s Money), but
change their tune the minute you ask them to put some skin in
Nothing reveals more about a
person than what they do with their own money.
To Your Success,
P.S. This also works for job seekers. Tell an
employer you’ll work for one month at no charge. If they don’t
think you’re awesome at the end of the month, you’ll pay
one month’s salary for the training. But if you’re as great as
you say you are, they agree to hire you at the end of the month, and pay
the time you’ve already put in. Most won’t take you up out of
fear of violating the FLSA, but you’ll immediately shoot to the
top of their list of applicants. The great Napoleon
Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich", used this
technique to get
his first job over 100 years ago.
Click on this button to
on today's column.