Friday, April 22, 2011

When in Doubt, Blow em Out

   When I was in my twenties,  I had a job selling Buick automobiles at a dealership in Orlando.  I had been with the company for six months when I was called into the general manager's office for one of those thirty second motivational seminars you have heard about. The manager said " Ron, you have been here six months.  The most cars you have ever sold in a month is six.  If you don't sell ten cars this month, you are fired.".  That happen about ten o'clock in the morning.  At two o'clock, one of the used car salesman named Henry said , " Ron, I hear you are not going to be with us much longer."  Bad news travels swiftly.  Henry had been selling cars forever.  He sold about twenty-five cars every month.  He said," Ron. I sure do like you.If you will listen to me, I will teach you how to sell these cars."  What Henry taught me in the next few days has been with me for thirty years.  It is the most important thing in selling.
   Henry taught me to qualify prospects.  "Just because they are here doesn't mean they are prospects", Henry told me.  " They have to be able to afford a car and they have to be able to make a decision.",Henry told me.  Henry told me he could feel it in his gut if they were here to buy.  That must have been true because Henry would walk out of the air-conditioned office to the hot used car lot in July in Florida.  He would  talk to them for ninety seconds and come back inside.  Then the sales manager would ask, " Henry, What about that prospect?".  Henry responds " no good".  Then the sales manager would send one of the rookies such as me out to talk to this "prospect".  Three hours later they would leave without buying anything. 
   How did Henry know?  Henry had thirty years experience selling.  He said it did not take him thirty years to learn.  He said he learned it in about six months back when he was a rookie  thirty years ago.
   Henry taught me to follow up with suspects. In the sales training class, they had taught us to follow up.  Henry said that was probably the only worthwhile thing they had taught in class.  Henry taught me that if a person comes in to a Buick store , looks at a Buick but does not buy.  Then they go down the street and buy a Chevrolet or a Cadillac.  What does that tell you?  It tells you that that person was a prospect. He was a good prospect.  I was just not a good enough salesman to sell them a Buick.   Henry taught me not to fool myself into believing the Chevrolet  or Cadillac was cheaper or prettier or better etc.  It was the salesmanship.  Henry said it.  I believe it.  It is so.
   Wait a minute.  What if I follow up with a prospect and three weeks later, he has bought no car from nobody , nowhere?   He is still driving his old car.  What does that tell you? He was never a prospect in the first place.  Zig Ziglar could not have sold him a car.  He was not a prospect for whatever reason.  He was not a prospect.  The only mistake I made was to spend more than ninety seconds with him which Henry would not have done.  You do not know if you do not follow up.  That is the real value of follow up.  They do not teach this in any sales training class I have ever attended.  I teach it in my sales training class.
   Let's get back to the story.  After Henry gave me the basics on qualifying, guess what!  I sold ten cars that month.  I sold twelve the next month.  Pretty soon, I was averaging eighteen per month.  That is not super star status but no more thirty second motivational seminars with the manager. 
   Fast forward eighteen months.  It was a rainy afternoon in Orlando. I was hanging around the showroom looking for a prospect.  Traffic was extremely heavy.  I was thinking the company must have beefed up advertising.  A young man walked into the showroom.  I walked up to him ,said "Hello.  Are you here to buy a new car?".  He replied" I am here to look".  Wrong Answer!  Strike one.  I replied "What do you want to look at?"  He said  "A Buick Regal".  As we descended down the ramp to walk out back, I ask him where was his trade in vehicle.   He told me he had a two year old mustang to trade in but he did not have it with him.  He was driving the company truck.  I ask what he owed on the Mustang .  He owed more on than it was worth.  Strike two!  "Are you married?" I asked.  "Oh yes" he replied.  " Would you buy a car without your wife seeing it? I queried.  "Oh no, I could never do that." he replied.  Strike Three!  I reached in my pocket , took a business card, handed it to him, told him where the Regals were and headed back to the showroom.  In the car business we called that " Blowing them out".  It may seem harsh. It may seem rude.  If you spend time and energy with people that do not intend to buy, you have no time and energy for those that do intend to buy.  That is what Henry taught me. This is essential information if you earn your living on commission.
   Did I tell you that as soon as I shook that young man's hand, I knew he was not going to buy today.  How did I know?  Henry had taught me to follow up. I had listened to hundreds of people just like him tell me that they had decided not to trade cars right now but they appreciated me taking the time to show then a new Buick and they were non prospects. You can not learn to feel it if you do not follow up.  I could feel it just like Henry told me I would.
   That is not the end of the story.  The next morning at the sales meeting, the manager announced that the company had hired a "mystery shopper" service to come into the dealership yesterday and evaluate our salesmanship.  Would the following salesmen please report to the manager's office: Ron and Henry.
   Henry blew his guy out it two minutes.  It took me five minutes.  Please, please do not spend time with non prospects. If you will follow up for a year, you can teach yourself to distinguish between the prospects and the non prospects.  Learn to qualify.  Get away from non prospects. They are the career killers in real estate.  I would rather see you "blow out" five good prospects than see you spend a day with one non prospects.  When in doubt, blow em out.  Henry taught me this thirty years ago. I still believe it is good advice.
   If you need more sales skills,and if you have never renewed your Florida real estate license, you have to take a forty five hour post license class.Take this class from me and I will teach you lots of sales skills.
   Call Kathy at 407 822 3926 or contact us at


  1. Great stories, Ron! I remember the FSBO and expired listing scripts you shared in the Post-License class as well.

  2. Oh, I always love those old used car salesman stories you tell. The oldies, but goodies!

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  4. Ron, This story reminded me of a day of fishing several years ago. I was fishing on the pier at Sebastian Inlet on a hot summers day. As my skin baked for several hours, the fish were non-existent. I then noticed these two old men walk down the pier pulling a home made fishing cart that seemed to have all the bells and whistles. They picked their spot and set up, baiting their hooks and casting their lines out. With in ten minutes they were pulling in fish hand over fist. I had to find out what they were doing that I was not. At first they were reluctant to talk to me, but after some good conversation and keen observation, I found their favorite subject, them! Soon they were telling me their secrets, which were not secrets, but experience. They lived close so they always knew when the tide was ready to turn (published tide charts). They always new what fish were running, (fishing reports), and what the weather was going to be, (weather reports). They were always there when the fish were! Now I have learned from experience about fishing, and now I am learning about real estate from a wise man with experience. And I am proud to have learned from the best at the Climer School of Real Estate! Thanks Ron.