Amazon founder Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about sales.
When you think Jeff Bezos you don’t think salesman…but think again. Bezos is always selling, talking about the value of Amazon, convincing every interviewer that Amazon owns the future.
He sold me recently when he delivered what I think is the greatest line I have ever heard to close a deal:
“If you are not a (Amazon) Prime member, you are being irresponsible.”
That is the highest form of salesmanship I have ever heard. Bezos said that to his stockholders at a meeting. Really he said, “Our goal with Amazon Prime, make no mistake, is to make sure that if you are not a Prime member, you are being irresponsible.”
Once he said that I signed up for Amazon Prime that week. Really, I didn’t know why I wasn’t already a member. I had heard good things about Prime but I guess I was on the fence about subscribing to it. But his words of conviction convinced me that I should do the right thing and sign up.
Playing on Guilt in Sales
Nobody wants to be wrong. Nobody wants to be irresponsible. What a strong word choice…irresponsible! It’s the last thing I want to be as a professional or a person.
But working with guilt as a salesperson has been around a long time. In fact, when I started my career in sales, I had a mentor that would tell me his favorite thing to tell prospects is just what Bezos said, “It would be WRONG for you not buy this.”
It takes discipline and strength to lay down the guilt during the sale. The bi-product of strength and discipline would be the confidence to tell someone they are actually making a mistake by not buying from you. That’s essentially what Bezos was saying. If you are not signed up you are making a mistake.
He believes in his company and product and has the confidence to tell you that.
It’s aggressive and honest. But you know what, Bezos was right. Since I became an Amazon Prime member, I have been an even happier Amazon customer.
Learn from Bezos
When I get out on the phones and start selling tomorrow I will think of Bezos and what he said and apply it to my sales. We all offer something of value. If it’s good enough for you to sell then yes, your prospect would be irresponsible too, if they don’t buy.