What's in it for me? -- the central theme in the agenda of every customer who has ever had to make a buying decision.

Okay, so I’ve been given a column — big deal. What am I gonna talk about? Good question. We’re gonna talk about you, the dealer, and everything that has to do with selling motorcycles. We’ll talk about your customers, from your favorite ones that make it easy to sell your stuff to the wackos that make it easy for you to want to go out and find a "real" job. We’re gonna talk about what they all have in common and what sets them apart from every other customer in the world. We’ll discuss why they need our interaction to help them pull the trigger on their dreams. We’ll also examine the awesome responsibility we’ve taken up when we assume the role of seller of motorcycles. We’ll even try to figure out why the heck we don’t get paid like professional athletes! Well … maybe I’ll stop there.


It is not my intention to act like an expert, a consultant or the great guru of motorcycle selling. I’ve never enjoyed the title "expert." After all, an "ex" is a has-been and a "spurt" is just a drip under pressure. It is, however, my intention to squeeze your heads from this monthly pulpit — to attempt to extract the genius out of your own brain. I tell 20-group attendees that the geniuses aren’t up in the front of the room; they’re sitting next to you.

Essentially I hope to induce you to think more like a customer so that you, in your own wisdom, can create ways to better accommodate your customers — ways that will revolutionize not only your sphere of influence, but beyond it to the lives of your team and even your customers. So, I was giving some thought to an introductory installment to sort of announce the ongoing theme for the column, and I came up with the following; please let me know right away if you think it’s gonna fly.

I’ve been given the unique and rather boring gift of being able to turn what some see as the magic of sales into a science. Sales can be analyzed, broken down into incremental, teachable units and taught, you know, rocket science. Actually, we’re going to use this forum to raid your heads for the real world things you do to help your customers buy from you and dare the rest of the world to do it as well as you do. We’re attempting to shift the paradigm from sales being something you do to people, to the realization that sales, when done the right way, is something you do for people.

But enough about me: what’s in this for you? Sales has been defined as "The art of making it look like his idea." What? It is his idea!

Unless and until we make the objectives of our efforts consistent with that fact, we’re just twisting in the wind trying to figure out how to cram things down the throats of people who wanna give us their money if we’ll just quit trying to grab it out of their hands.

If you’ve been around this business for any amount of time, you’ll remember the acronym "WIIFM" which stands for "What’s In It For Me?" I’d love to tell you that I invented that saying, but lying to you ain’t exactly the best way to start off our relationship, now is it? WIIFM, simply put, is the central theme in the agenda of every customer who has ever had a buying decision to make in the long history of buyingdom. Why should I buy this one? Is it worth it? Will it do what I need it to do? In other words: What’s In It For Me?

We have an "Otisism" which states: Your character determines your agenda, your agenda determines your policies, your policies determine your procedures and your procedures should reflect your character. If indeed your procedures do reflect your character, you have an integrated process, a process with integrity. We base all of our leadership training, procedural training and our philosophies on that premise.

All we’re going to try to do in this monthly discourse is dare you to remain consistent with those two premises in your day-to-day encounters with your customers. We’ll challenge you to do the right thing for customers and know that you’ll get paid, even if you’re only paid indirectly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see an industry full of Hare Krishna, passive, let the world kick my ass types. I think there are times when you’ve absolutely gotta give your customer a nudge or provide him with a reason to say yes. I just think that we need to put the service mentality (alternate pronunciation: servant) back into the term customer service.

So here’s a list of things I dare you to do: I dare you to send me an e-mail about a challenge you solved. I dare you to admit something you’re struggling with. I dare you to tell me that sales is magic and that you wouldn’t be caught dead teaching and/or employing any silly old process. I dare you to let go of anything that smells even remotely like, "Because we’ve always done it this way." I dare you to do this with the passion you’ve always wished you could. And if you take me at my dares, you might just find what’s in it for you… I dare you to find out.

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