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Jim Cummings’ 50 Rules To Sell By

  1. If you forget everything else, remember this one thing: The number-one key to success is persistence, “stick-to-it-iveness.”  Live the “last man standing” rule: Quitters never win, winners never quit.
  2. Be a lover of current affairs.  Read the paper (online if not in print), and not just the sports page!  Make the business section your favourite section.
  3. Know something about a broad range of topics, make connections with customers, be a perpetual student.
  4. Rehearse, practice, train constantly.
  5. Focus.
  6. Pick the low-hanging fruit first.  Find the open doors.
  7. Be action-oriented.
  8. Ask the customer what they want, and give them exactly what they want.
  9. All good relationships are built on two things: Trust and Respect; you need to have both for your customers, and they you.
  10. Think big, promise big, deliver bigger.
  11. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  12. Take notes!!
  13. Match your approach to the personality traits of your customer (Give an Analytical lots of data, give a Driver just the facts, make an Amiable feel they are not alone, and tell an Expressive how great they are).
  14. Be a doctor: Never prescribe medicine until you’ve diagnosed the patient.
  15. Ask questions.  You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak.
  16. Three very powerful words:­ “Tell me about…”
  17. Answer questions with questions: “Does you product have (feature)?” “Tell me how that fits into your needs?”
  18. Answer objections with questions: “I see, tell me how that is important to you?” NEVER argue with a customer … they are always right, even when they are wrong.
  19. Be the specialist.  Become the guy they all go to for the answers.
  20. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, get back on the horse.
  21. No whining. There are no problems, only opportunities … The glass
  22. really is half-full.
  23. Take risks … push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  24. No B.S.  Know what you are talking about, but if you don’t know, it’s okay to say, “That’s a really good question. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll find out for you, if you like.”
  25. Do your paperwork outside of ‘Pay Time” (pay time is 8:30 to 5:00pm when you have an opportunity for face time with the customers).
  26. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now making me any money??”
  27. Do it now, do it now, do it now … Less time thinking, more time doing.
  28. Form good habits.  Make your work ethic habitual.
  29. Be in the game to win, not just compete.
  30. You are not a salesperson, you are a business person.
  31. Show leadership.
  32. Know your competition.  Be better than they are.  Know why & how you are better.
  33. Customers will lie to you; expect it, but don’t you lie to them.
  34. Be nice to your fellow employees, you’ll need their support.
  35. Divide the selling process into a series of “handshakes.”  Never move to the next step until you have agreement from the customer.  When would you rather learn that you are going to lose a sale, in the first 3 minutes, or after you’ve spend 6 months on them??
  36. You need 100 “NOs” before you’ll hear a “YES.”
  37. Your closest friends and family will by the quickest to tell you “that can’t be done.”
  38. You must learn these five criteria to be 70% closed:
  39. 1 who are the decision makers?
    2 what is the budget?
    3 what are the timelines?
    4 what is the scope of work?
    5 who are you competing with?
    Confirm an initial meeting (even phone meeting) with a courtesy “letter of engagement” which re-states the 5 critieria above (If there are any objections they come out right now).

  40. Be organized!  Say what you are going to do, and do what you say you’re going to do.
  41. Who’s the easier person to sell to?  Your existing customer.  Stay in touch with your customers.
  42. There’s a difference between lying and negotiating … Honesty is always the best policy.
  43. If a customer over pays you by mistake, take great pleasure in refunding their money, you will have a customer for life.
  44. Always be selling … anywhere, anytime … always be feeding your funnel.
  45. Be a goal-setter … write your goals down (I mean it), most people want only four things in life:
  46. 1 close personal relationships
    2 a career they love
    3 financial independence
    4 good health
    Set goals in all four categories.  Review your goals regularly and adjust if needed.

  47. Dress sharp, look professional.
  48. Be bold, be brave, be smart, be cool.  Success breeds success. Act like a winner.
  49. Give to the universe, it will give back to you.
  50. Act like the person you want to be, not the person you are.
  51. Love what you do, have fun!
  52. Life is all about choices.  Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Successful Exhibiting Strategies in Uncertain TimesLooking for more strategies learned from experience?  

About the Author

Jim Cummings is the President & CEO of Skyline Ottawa Inc., a Canadian Skyline Exhibits Dealer, trade show marketing lecturer, proud parent, jazz piano player, ski bum, news junkie, home builder, environmentalist wanna-be, lucky dog. He helps exhibit marketers design Ottawa trade show displays.

8 responses to “Jim Cummings’ 50 Rules To Sell By

  1. Jim,

    Thank you for taking your time to compile this list. My day and outlook is now better for having read it. I will admit, I did read it after 8:30. I will work on that.


  2. I have always tried to practice the KISS principle of marketing and this list with it’s 50 short-and-sweet rules hits the spot for virtually all aspects of a having a ‘good show’ and a confident and tuned in sales force. Nice job, Jim Cummings!

  3. This seems like it would be expanded in a book. Is the title “50 Rules To Sell By” or is it simply a compilation of books that have these 50 rules?

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