“There’s nuttin’ wrong with revenge.  It’s the best way to get even.”

–  Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Connor



In yesterday’s post, we talked about my recent trip to Malibu, California in which I was able to spend an hour or so in the home of the late Nancy and Carroll O’Connor.  While there, I purchased a hat that belonged to Mr. O’Connor – the actor who may be most remembered for playing the role of Archie Bunker in All In The Family.[lightbox link=”https://jeffcwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/image2.jpg” thumb=”https://jeffcwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/image2-300×200.jpg” width=”300″ align=”right” title=”image” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]


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One of the reason’s for the popularity of the show – set in a very transitional time for America – was that Archie Bunker would say some of the most outrageous things.  And although I never cared too much for the political commentary that the producer of the show was intending to make – I always found that Archie Bunker’s butchering of many old sayings and his unique expressions were quite hilarious.

These are a few of my favorites:

“My doctor tells me I have a communications disease.”

“At my age, I don’t need roughage.  I need smoothage!”

“Ain’t you never heard, silence is gold.”

“You never believe nuttin’ Edith.  You’re one of them… septics.”

“Listen Edith.  You know you’re singing.  I know you’re singing.  But the neighbors may think I’m torturing you.”

– Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Connor

I want to tweak those last two quotes today and give you a little sales coaching from Archie Bunker.

Many new sales people make a common mistake.  And if not corrected, will continue to make that mistake until they are no longer in the business of selling.  They tend to go immediately into the story of their company and their products or services.  They want to share all of the great facts and figures that make their company better than the competition.  They want to describe all of the features and benefits of their products and services and tell how those will improve the lives of their customers.  Their enthusiasm is good, however their strategy is bad.

I wish I could whisper into their ear in my best Archie Bunker voice and say,

“Listen Rookie.  I know you’re selling.  You know you’re selling.  But your prospect thinks you’re torturing them.”

The reason they fell tortured when you do this is because, “They never believe nuttin’.  They’re one of them…. septics.”

Prospects often seem as if they are natural skeptics with sales people.  They will sit there with their arms folded tightly over their chest.  They will have a facial expression that communicates distrust.  And you have very little chance of changing their minds when you do all of the talking

You change that skepticism when you ask great questions that get them into open conversations with you about their particular needs.  Great questions are not “blind” inquiries.  Instead, they are well crafted, open-ended questions that you have developed from your prior research about them, their company and/or challenges facing their industry.

Asking great questions prior to giving the story of your company and making your recommendations will transform a “tortured septic” into a loyal customer.

QUESTION:  Tell your story of the best question you ever asked a prospect.  Why is it so memorable?