Have you heard the advice “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”  The recent media frenzy around Susan Boyle reminds us why.  I finally watched the video of Susan’s audition (see below) and realized there is a great sales tip in Susan Boyle.  Look or hear beyond what the ‘cover” is and you may find gems of business!

susan-boyleHave you heard of Susan?  The Brit with awesome talent whose outside “package” is absolutely no indication of what she can deliver.  She auditioned on Britain’s Got Talent (the precursor to American Idol) show and surprised everyone in the auditorium with her singing talent – as on first (and second) look she did not “present” well.

Prospects can be like that too.  At first glance sales reps make quick assumptions that might bite them later.  A couple of true stories…

A sales rep who sells higher end home furnishings was convinced that many people only came into the store to browse and get decorating ideas.  And that he could spot them and not waste her time with them.  That week a young couple came in and he dismissed them as they were  young and dressed very casually.  Instead of greeting them and assisting them he thought he’d let a co-worker deal with them while he waited for someone who would be a better prospect.  Guess what?  They had loads of money and needed to furnish a new house.  Within hours they purchased tens of thousands of dollars of goods and the co-worker had a great commission from it. 

In another situation, the sales executive scheduled a meeting with a prospect and was re-directed to a “representative” for the owner once they arrived for the meeting  .  She was sure that this meeting was now a waste of her time.  But she followed through with her plan because “at least” she’d gather some good information to use when she got to the real decision maker later.  As she asked her questions and listened, she found that this person could actually make the decision!  The sales cycle was actually reduced because the decision was made in the meeting and the request for a Services Agreement was requested.

The tip?  Don’t judge a prospect by first impression.  Appearances may keep you from talking to people that are good potential clients.  Dig in with questions and research to make sure they aren’t a qualified prospect before moving on.  The outside cover might not give you the true “story” of what is inside.


P.S. Click here to watch the YouTube video of Susan’s audition for Britain’s Got Talent – watching the judges realization of what is on stage is priceless. When have you had a realization that you almost passed on a good thing?