Friday, March 7, 2014

Using Risk Reversal Made A Sale!

The week before Thanksgiving in 1995, I drove to Benton Harbor, MI to call on a division of Whirlpool. During the 2-hour drive, I listened to a Jay Abraham marketing tape. One concept he discussed was using risk reversal to close a sale. 

Later that morning, sitting across from the division president, I suddenly realized that I had lost the sale. That's when I decided to try that risk reversal idea.

I said to the president, "Let me take you off the hook. It's pretty obvious I've lost the sale. Now that it's out in the open, would you mind telling me whom you have on your short list"? The president relaxed and named two of the largest consulting firms. He also said the Board wanted the project finished by Christmas! 

I remarked, “Those are big brand names. But the people who got those names won't be assigned to your project. You're going to get the most junior people because all the best people are trying to finish their own projects by year-end; or have been on the road 11 months this year and won't want to schlep to Benton Harbor just as winter sets in." 

Then I tried the risk reversal. I told him that since they weren't hired yet, and the clock was running, why not hire me to start the project, outline the solution, and present that proposed solution next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving?

“I’ll take all the risk out of the transaction," I said. "I’ll work for free between now and next Wednesday. All I ask is you cover my travel expenses. Then, when I make my presentation, one of two things will happen. Either you will agree that everything I've told you about my qualifications is correct and you will hire and pay me to implement the solution I present; or you will hand back all copies of the presentation, send me out the door, and owe nothing except travel expenses. There's no downside because we both know even if you hire someone else they won't start until after Thanksgiving." 

Whirlpool accepted my offer to take on all the risk; and the following Wednesday I closed the first sale for my new consulting company. All by doing what an expert said would work.

What about you? Where have you had a surprising success trying something an expert said would work...even if you were skeptical at the time?

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