Sales Talks Don’t Wear Out

By Charles B. Roth

The salesman complained that he was in a slump. He hadn’t made a sale in two weeks and he was discouraged.

“What do you think is the trouble?” I asked him.

“My sales talk is worn out. My prospects are no longer interested. I guess I’ve given it 1,000 times and my prospects are simply tired of hearing it,” he said.

This may not happen often in selling but it isn’t uncommon. A salesman may feel his talk is boring the prospect merely because it bores him.

The best salesman I ever knew gave the same talk, in exactly the same words, over 10,000 times – a 257-word talk which closed his sales. He never felt it necessary to change a word nor even a syllable. It went right on ringing bells for him.

And Kenneth M. Goode, noted American advertising man and business writer, once stated that if all the advertisements appearing in newspapers and magazines ran unchanged for a year, sales would probably increase!

Even in sales talks, it’s repetition that counts. One good sales talk, properly worked out, practiced and given, can be used almost without changing a word for much longer than most salespeople realize. Top notch salespeople know this. “I wouldn’t change one word in my talk for $50,” said a fine salesman recently. “I couldn’t afford to.”

The natural tendency of good salespeople who have imaginative roving minds is to improvise and try to improve as they go along. This is all to the good in most kinds of business, but in influencing others, a tendency to go too far afield searching for novelty sometimes results in loss rather than gain.

To improve a sales talk is fine; I am all for it. As he learns more about his talk and its effect, a good salesman tries to add on a word here and there – or what is called on the stage a bit of “business,” i.e., action. But once a sales talk is worked out, tested and proved, it is long wearing and something which will earn the salesman thousands of dollars.