Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pssst; Your Intangibles Aren't Showing!

One can't help but be entertained by Flo the bubbly rep in the Progressive Insurance commercials. How about the "Can you hear me now" Verizon dude?

As entertaining and memorable as these commercials are; they achieve something many of us miss in sales . . . Making Intangible Things Tangible! After all, what the hell does adequate coverage or a superior network really look like?

The Progressive commercial shows rows and rows of boxes in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors to illustrate the different types of coverage available to you. The Verizon commercial features a bunch of people. Some with hard hats, others with computers and cable. Well done in both cases!

I once worked as a rep and later a director for an international commercial cleaning company. Prospects would continually tell us how dissatisfied they were with the cleanliness of the restrooms in their buildings. When it came time to tell them that we had a better program; I wouldn't just tell them about the program, I would bring it to life. I would show the 12 point cleaning schedule we had for restrooms and take them through each step and I wouldn't just tell them about our quality control because quality control is intangible, isn't it? I would show them all the inspection forms, the training program our cleaners went through, etc. I found that I was closing more business this way than if I had just left it up to the prospect to visualize. When it came time to "close" I made sure there was a desk full of "stuff" that combined would help my prospect visualize the value of the program I was offering!

I know a very successful printing sales rep who makes the communication process tangible by showing prospects a flow chart of the various steps in the printing process and how communication will take place both internally and with the client. In my early days as a sales rep in the printing industry, I used to show prospects my daily update sheet that I faxed to my clients to help remove the mystery as to the status of their projects. Once again, what would an intangible like good communication look like? Trust me, when I left the meeting, they had the visual!

Let's take some of the typical areas that keep prospects up at night and make our solutions more tangible.

Quality Control: Why not show them your internal forms, ISO manual, flow chart, physically walk them through your plant and the different steps in the process?

Deadlines: Show them your production schedule, a testimonial of how you performed an 11th hour miracle, If you have the fire power to turn things quickly; how about a picture to tell those thousand words?

Communication: Have a blackberry? Hold it up when you tell your prospect you are reachable 24/7. Have a CSR who is reachable? Give their contact info. Better yet provide a picture of your CSR so they get a face with the name you are talking about!

Reps: How about leaving your personal bio with them, complete with your picture and some highlights from your career. Great place for those testimonials too!

Does your company offer value added services? How can you make them tangible?

If ever there were an opportunity for you to differentiate folks, its right here! Most reps just talk about this stuff. In the process, they sound like every other rep. And guess what? Saying it is no longer good enough. We need to prove it!

Once you come up with your own way to put a face on the intangibles, you have to make sure you carry these things with you, in sort of a bag of tricks, at the ready in a moment's notice!

So here's your challenge: How can you make the intangible parts of your offering tangible? How can you bring these things to life and most importantly . . . How can you get your prospect to really picture the true value necessary to get them off of the fence of indifference?

Have an awesome week!

Free Sales Tips By Email Subscribe to Paul Castain's Sales Playbook by Email


  1. Thanks Paul....helpful start to what I am hoping to make a promising week.

  2. Well done, Paul. The "intangibles" are for many of us where our competitive advantage is and where we truly shine. Thank you for shedding some light in that dark little corner!

    Paul, your intangibles ARE showing!

  3. Eric and Val Thank you both for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    Eric: Go get 'em!

    Val: Thank you I hope my readers make it a point to stop by your kick ass blog Sales Laundry!

  4. Terrific, Paul. I love anything I can put in their hands and a Proof Source Book is a salescritter's best friend. Yea for tangibles.

  5. Thank you Hank!

    Great idea with a proof source book!

    Hank's Trisler Times at his No Bull Selling Site is a must read for all our aspiring Jedis check it out here

  6. Some great tips and advice here. Thanks.


Free Sales Tips By Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Shades to hide my true identity! :)

Join Our New Linkedin Group! Click On The Picture

Add Me

View Paul Castain's profile on LinkedIn


Castain Guarantee

Castain Guarantee

About Me

My photo
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

About This Blog

Paul Castain's Sales Play Book is blog dedicated to strengthening our sales game, supporting rock star development and developing jedi like skills. All that is required is a willingness to learn and a sick sense of humor!

Topics Discussed: sales, sales leadership, cold calling, networking, telemarketing, presentation skills, social networking, twitter, linkedin, facebook, google, technorati, digg, training, sales tips, SEO, job hunting, hiring, recruiting, best practices, pipeline management, CRM, goals, time management, motivational, inspirational, social media, online marketing, ning, job openings, speakers, trainers, associations, blogs, bloggers, articles, sales management, onboarding, NLP, SPIN Selling, Unemployment, news, wordpress, dress for success, inside sales, call center,

Blog Archive


Add to Technorati Favorites


Sales Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory