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In our last blog, we talked about how you can have “Beginners’ luck “ forever, by being a model. Well, a smart dummy, kind of like our favorite detective, Lieutenant Columbo. If you’ve ever watched the hit TV series, Columbo, you know he was a master at disarming his suspects by looking and acting like he’s a model. And Columbo still has its killer. You can do the same in sales by disarming your prospects when you are playing the dummy seller.

Master the Dummy curve takes time and practice. It is a process that takes place throughout your career in sales. As you get better at using the Dummy curve approach, you will accelerate your growth by learning to put your prospects at ease and discover their pain. Let’s take a look at an example of Dummy curve in action :

Carlos is a salesperson and he works in the heating department of a large store. Carlos is a college student who works a summer job in New England. As you may know, New England summers are quite hot. Few people buy home heaters in July. Carlos waits patiently for a customer to come in, but since he’s had no prospects for hours and is fed up with standing, he sits down on a bucket to rest.

Finally, a little old lady comes up and asks: “Do you have radiators? “ Carlos gets out of his bucket and says: “Why yes, we do.” He takes her to the radiators and they walk through them together. They read the boxes and take out the instructions. He just learns by his side, which strengthens their bond and creates a relationship between them. Soon the lady said, “I’ll take this one.” Now where do I pay it, son? “ Carlos says, “Well, right over there; let me accompany you. “ He pulls the radiator to the cash register, someone calls him and she continues on her way.

Three weeks later, the company calls the department store manager and tells him: “Hey, your heating sales are up 300% from the same three weeks last year. What’s going on there? “ The manager answers, “Well, we have this kid named Carlos, he’s sitting on a bucket.” Corporate then retorts, “Well, send him here to heating school. He’s doing great. Let’s make him even better.”

So Carlos goes to heating school and learns about BTUs, radiant heat and much more, thus strengthening his knowledge of heating products. When he returns to the store a week later, he sits back down on the bucket, but this time he leans forward. Another little old lady enters the heating department. Before she can even say anything, Carlos jumps out of the bucket and says: “Can I help you?” “Well yeah,” she said stepping back, “I’m looking for a radiator.” “Oh boy, do we have heaters! “Carlos said enthusiastically.

Carlos shows him all the products and introduces him to the dog and pony show, talking about the fifteen different types of radiators he has in the store. He goes on and on, layering functionality on perks, bombarding the lady with all the information he learned in heating school. Finally, he stops and asks, “Do you have any questions?” She says, “Only one.”Carlos responds, “Yes what is it?” She obediently said, “Will that keep a little old lady warm?” Carlos doesn’t know what to say. Exhausted, the little old woman goes away and does not buy a radiator.

Carlos’ sales are down over the next three weeks. As he sits on his bucket, he begins to wonder why his numbers have dropped. “I was doing so well,” he says to him. “Then I went to heating school. When I came back to present my product knowledge, I did worse. Hmm. I’m going to go back to what I was doing at the start. Ask a lot of questions, listen a lot, and don’t talk too much. “

Carlos goes back to some of those things he did before the product training on purpose, like asking questions instead of delivering product and feature monologues. Suddenly, he notices that his sales of radiators are on the rise again. Carlos responds to prospects’ questions very politely with his own questions, and in doing so, he discovers the real intent of their questions. Carlos discovers the pain. He notices that more people are hooking up with him and more people are buying instead of apologizing by saying: “I will think about it.” He’s doing more of these “fictitious” things on purpose and accomplishing goals from his previous weeks, in which case Headquarters calls him in to congratulate him. Carlos finds that he doesn’t work as hard, and he sells more. Pretty silly, eh?

Oh, one more thing: stay tuned for more on the Dummy Curve. In our next blog, we’ll cover all three stages of the dummy curve.

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