Yule (B)log 3 – Let a SCOTSMAN help you sell – Thanks Turnkey

A really thought-provoking blog from Steve Malloy at Turnkey (himself a Scotsman), and reminding us that this is a  season for giving.


I recently spent a weekend at one of the busiest shopping centres in Glasgow trying to raise funds for our Rotary Club’s ShelterBox campaign (see http://shelterbox.org/). I’ve done a number of these – Tsunami, End Polio Now etc - and two things never cease to amaze me. First, how your pre-conceptions of who will donate when you wave a can in their face can be so off beam and second, the excuses people give for not donating. 

So to misconceptions – most humbling was the result of my approach to a handicapped older lady tootling past on one of those electric wheelchairs. Instead of speeding past me, as I admit was my estimate of the most likely outcome; life had dealt her a tough hand so acts of generosity might not be high on her agenda, right? Wrong! She braked and spent a good ten minutes quizzing me on the ShelterBox campaign before dropping a generous donation into the can. And, as for excuses, I lost count of the number of times one guy went past, glibly stating he had no change, but would “get me on the way back.” Or the lady who couldn’t stop as she was “desperate for a wee!” The whole exercise was not a lot different from being on a stand at a computer show (remember them?) or even our standard day to day sales process.

In the sales situation, we face the same issues – are they really going to buy, and what excuses will we have to overcome to secure the sale. Of the two, the first is possibly more important. Old fashioned sales techniques often fall by the wayside in a credit crunch when salespeople pursue any sales opportunity, however unlikely a positive outcome. We’ve spent some time recently reviewing the time spent on ‘prospects’ who turn out to be a complete waste of time, trying to learn from it. The result is a set of criteria that are applied at day one to avoid expending time on a no hope situation. We have the acronym ‘SCOTSMAN’ and, applied ruthlessly, it serves us well.  Once we are at the final stages of a real opportunity I don’t mind making the effort to overcome the excuses and I like to hark back to a sales course I once attended. Asked to role play and use the ’alternative close’ in a sales situation, an old colleague piped up “Do you want it or what?”

And a final tip if you are out fundraising – stickers for the kids. Give the kids a sticker and the parents will soon follow!

PS: SCOTSMAN – Solution, Competition, Only Me, Timebound, Size, Money, Authority, Need.

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