In which we discover how sales calls, fi nding
leads and using old school methods are still
powerful in today’s business environment
f you watched a merchant selling whips, harnesses, and
rocks to the Pharaohs, you would probably recognize
some classic business techniques that we use today. Just
because something is old doesnt mean that it is not valid in
todays market. What we need to do is understand how the
old sales techniques worked, why just a very few of them
perhaps dont work and, more importantly, how – with a
bit of modification and modernization – they can be just
as powerful for us as they were for our predecessors, if only
just to grant us an opportunity to present our case to the
subject. There is no more powerful example of this than
the probably mis-named ‘telephone selling’; I suppose it
would be a bit of a mouthful to say “telephone opportunity-
getting but thats what it really is.
Johnny Kaminski
Many years ago when I was starting my training company,
I recruited an assistant. We used to sit in the office with
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few clients and very little work to do. Yes, I know we were
supposed to show people how to sell, but they do say that
the cobbler’s children go worst shod. Finally, after a period of
finger tapping and window staring my assistant said, What
we need is one of those really butch American salesmen – I
bet he could get us appointments!”
Step forward Johnny Kaminski.
I was a sales expert and I know how these slick guys work,
how they get past the gatekeeper, how they dangle carrots,
arouse the interest, and secure the appointment – all on the
telephone. Its just that at that time I didnt actually have
the courage to try it. From that conversation we created
this fictional character called Johnny Kaminski who had
a pantomime American accent. We started to ring people
with me using the voice of Johnny, my alter ego. There was
no excess of ghastly pushiness that he wouldnt go to.
“Hi, honey! Who am I speaking to?”
Well hi, Janet. Thats a real pretty name.” (I know, I
know, puke-making but stay with me.)
“Janet, I wonder if you could help me today.” (Complete
silence for some time – minutes, if it had to be, until Janet
finally breaks the silence with an embarrassed giggle.)
Tee hee, with what?”
Well, honey,” (yes, he really did call her honey), “thank
you so much for asking. Who, right there, is in charge of
More silence.
“Mr Jackson, I think.”
“Mr Jackson, hey? Is he there right now?” (Watch every
word, Johnny doesnt waste them and chooses them to have
the most effect.)
Yes, I believe he is.”
Thats terrific. Would you put me through to him right
now, please?”
“Can I tell him what it is about?”
“Sure, Janet. Tell him I’ve got a great oppor-tooonity for
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