Black and Blue Selling | Set Your Sales Rules

Don’t you hate it when an old guy starts a discussion with “Back in the Day”?  Me too, but now I’m that guy who talks about stuff that happened 30 years ago and is still relevant.  Well, this message made sense 30 years ago and it still does today.

Some fundamentals of selling are like gravity. You can’t argue with gravity.  If you want, climb to the top of a 10 story building, jump, and then we can talk about any disagreement you might have about gravity.

My message today is based on my experience selling Nautilus Exercise Equipment back in the early 80’s. Back then, Nautilus Exercise equipment was the 800lb gorilla in the fitness, racquetball club, YMCA, major university weight rooms, and military base vertical.  If you were going to convert a racquetball court to a weight room, if you were going to build a new fitness club in your community, if you were going to upgrade your training facility at the University of Texas, you were going to buy Nautilus Exercise Equipment.  And if you were going to buy that equipment in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska, you were going to buy it from the Nautilus representative in your region: Tony Cole.

So what does that have to do with Black and Blue Selling you ask?

When you are the 800lb gorilla in your space you can pretty much dictate the rules of the sales process. Back then the rules where something like this:

  1. You were going to write a check to Nautilus Exercise Equipment for 50% of the order to start production on your equipment that would be delivered no sooner than 6 months from the day the order was placed.
  2. When the shipment was ready you were called or mailed instructions for the delivery of the equipment, the window for a date and you were to hand over to the driver a Certified Cashiers Check for the balance of the amount due. No cashiers check, the truck pulled away. Not a personal check, not a business check. A Cashier’s check!
  3. When you placed the order and wanted to determine the color of the equipment so that it matched to scheme of your facility your choices where:
    1. Black upholstery with blue frames
    2. Black upholstery with chrome frames

But Tony, could I get it in red? No. I can get Universal Equipment in red. Okay, then maybe you should buy Universal Equipment. But I want Nautilus. Okay, do you want black and blue or do you want black and chrome?

That’s black and blue selling.

The same thing holds true today.  You see it with Amazon, Google, Apple, Starbucks and a number of other types of highly sought-after brands.  They own their space, so they can dictate the rules. The question for you then is this: Are you the 800lb gorilla in your space?  Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have rules and a dictated sales action plan.

  • I have the right to pursue my goals on my terms
  • I have the right to a strong self-image
  • I have the right to grow and prosper
  • I have a right to success and its fruits
  • I have a right to my vision, mission, and passions
  • I have the right to qualify any and all prospects – do they qualify to do business with me?
  • I have the right to get all the information I need to do the professional job being asked of me.
  • I have the right to turn away business
  • I have the right to think, grow, make decisions that are not popular with others’ standards and practices.

Instead of thinking of rules, think in terms of rights that will help you to overcome sales challenges and grow your practice on your terms, even if the company you represent isn’t the 800lb gorilla in your market or vertical.

Thank you and have a great day!

From Chief Learning Officer & Sales Development Expert, Tony Cole

Sales Growth Coaching, Sales Action Plan

Learn about our Sales Growth Coaching program!