Star Trek Sales Training Academy: Winning the Sale

I have to admit that I am a bit of a trekkie, and I’ve found that many sales lessons can be learned from the 1966 television series and subsequent feature films — one of which is adopting a winning attitude when faced with challenges.

The Kobayashi Maru Test

The Kobayashi Maru is a test designed to ensure a Starfleet cadet is destined to fail.  The goal is to assess the character of the Star fleet candidate to see how he reacts in a no-win scenario.  

However, in Star Trek, Captain Kirk does not believe in the no-win scenario. Instead, he finds a way to win in an impossible situation.

Captain Kirk’s Sales Lesson

Captain Kirk’s winning attitude is a lesson for all sales professionals. When a prospect closes a door, look for a window. If there is truly a value proposition for a potential client, the word “NO” just means, “I didn’t see the value the way you offered it.”  

When this happens, switch gears. Change the message, the approach or possibly the receiver of the information. In the best-case scenario, you pull a Colombo on the way out, and ask that one last question that pulls it all together. In the worst-case scenario, you forge a relationship with the client.

Winning Sales Techniques

Next time you’re faced with a hopeless situation, don’t give up. Instead, consider the following sales techniques:

  • Don’t walk away empty handed, ask for some small piece of business to prove your company and you. Gain the proverbial “foot in the door.”
  • Employ a new line of questioning for another product line, which you had originally thought wasn’t a fit.
  • Solicit advice to steer you in the right direction.
  • Find out why the offer did not spark their interest, and then make another run at them when you can overcome their objections. Tom Hopkins calls it a “Post Mortem.”
  • Find a different person in the company to approach.
  • Identify something else your company can offer, besides just your core product. For example, talk to their sales manager, and find them a lead from your friendly book of business. Nothing captivates an executive like a referral that turns into revenue.
  • Request a referral to a company that needs your service.

Please share any sales tips you have on conquering the no-win scenario in the comments section.

By David Tyner 

Photo Credit: Duane Storey



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