On behalf of Sandler Training, our thoughts are with our clients and their families and businesses impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to working with you to help you and your business through these extraordinary times. Sandler is open but operating remotely in accordance with recommendations by the CDC to do our part to hopefully help ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of the virus. We’re here for you and our community. Please don’t hesitate to call or email us to talk through your concerns. Best wishes for the health and safety of your families, teams, and clients.
Skip to main content
Peak Performance Management, Inc. | Pittsburgh, PA

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience.
You can learn more by clicking here.

“You can’t expect me to pay,” said Harvey, an on-again, off-again customer, “full-counter price.  I’ve brought a lot of business in here for you guys over the years.  That should add up.  By the way, I only deal with Cathy.  Where is she?”

Lisa had seen many Harvey’s in her time.  The price is always too much and if Cathy, or Bill, or Bob or whoever were here, they would confirm that the price was too much.

“Mr. Williams,” responded Lisa.

“Please, I’m Harvey, not some guy who’s never done business with your fine company year after year after year.  Loyalty should get a discount.”

“Harvey,” she began once more, “let’s say that there is absolutely nothing anyone on this planet can do about the price.  Does this mean we’ve forever lost you as a customer?”

“What?  You can’t make an adjustment for all the business I bring to you?”  Harvey stared at Lisa.  She stared right back determined to not answer.

“Ok,” said Harvey, “if you can’t do anything with the price, how about delivery?  You sure Cathy isn’t on break or something?”

“How about delivery . . . means what?”

“You have cotton in the ears?” he asked with a mocking tone.  “If I’m going to be held up and forced at gun point to pay full-counter, I want better delivery.”

“Which means?” asked Lisa in a very even tone.

“Instead of ten days, I need it in seven.”

Another bout of silence as both stared at each other.

“Ok,” responded Lisa, “seven days.  What does that get us?”

“You sure Cathy isn’t around?” he asked, looking over her shoulder towards the back.

“Seven days,” responded Lisa.

“I hear you, I hear you.  Don’t rush me.  I need a moment to look over my sheets.”

Lisa pointedly stared at the clock on the wall and watched the second hand make one complete sweep of the dial.  “Harvey, your moment is up.”

“Ok, ok.  I’ll place an order.”


Lisa doesn’t let the prospect’s actions control what she needs to accomplish.  As a result, she gets done what needs to be done.


There is no doubt that Lisa has strength of character.  Part of the reason is that she knows exactly what she wants to get from Harvey.  Either he places an order or not and if he does, he pays full-counter price.

Everything that Harvey throws at her is his attempt to get her distracted from her goals.  Would there have been any point to Lisa reacting to his comment that he only dealt with Cathy?  Even to say, “Cathy is not here,” would lead him to say, “But she knows I never pay full-counter.”

Lisa would then be in the situation of reacting to what Harry was saying instead of acting in a way that reached her goal.  By focusing on her goal and acting accordingly, she forced Harry to react to her.

Harry did place an order.  However, had he not placed an order, he would have come to that decision quickly.  A quick decision to not place an order would save Lisa time.  What’s the point of reacting to Harry when he might not place an order and waste all that time anyway?


The most important aspect of acting in a way that gets you what you want, is to know what you want.  While this may sound obvious, what was Lisa’s goal in the story?  What did she want from Harry?

If you answer, “to make a sale,” you are wrong.  Her goal was to get Harry, as quickly and politely as possible, to the point where he would make the buy or no-buy decision.  Either decision was fine with her, just make it.

In general, getting the prospect to buy should not be the goal.  The goal should be getting the prospect to make a decision.  Either “yes” or “no” is ok because the decision to do that is what is important.

If you make the goal to get a “yes,” then you’ll find yourself getting sidetracked by the prospect in every instance.  Why?  Because anything he says you will interpret as an objection.  A typical salesperson then gets pulled into the overcome objection, trial close, overcome objection, trial close scenario.

Think of the story.  If Lisa had reacted to Harry’s statements, she would have been pulled into overcoming Harry’s objections.  Why bother doing that if you don’t have to?


Actors act on purpose to get a reaction from the audience.  Shouldn’t you do the same?

Free Chapter: The Sales Coach's Playbook

Get an overview of coaching practices from an award-winning Sandler trainer, and a discussion of the situations where they are most likely to be useful.

Download Your Free Chapter Now

Make a comment

Share this article: