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What Can You Learn From Sherlock Holmes?

2 April 2012 One Comment

sherlocksmallIf you read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories, it will interest you in the quality of observation which the salesperson must cultivate. Sherlock Holmes had a remarkable ability for finding out what sort of people he was dealing with, through powers of close observation.

The author, Conan Doyle, takes pains to explain in every story that Sherlock Holmes did nothing by chance, and did not rely upon any invisible, peculiar, or mystic power to aid him in making his forensic science deductions. He had simply cultivated a remarkable shrewdness of observation. This is a quality that the salesperson must cultivate. It will enable you to understand your customer.

One of the first things a salesperson must do is to find out certain facts about his customer which are sure to be necessary or valuable to him in his work. (I call this Trigger Events – you have to look for any event that might create the opportunity for you, or better said you are looking for event that can trigger the sales for you.)

These facts will vary in different cases. There are certain facts that it is usually necessary to know, such as the name and address, when they are essential to the transaction or needed for future reference. There are certain facts of personality and business conditions in respect to which no two customers will be exactly alike, and these facts (especially such of them as show a difference from the normal on the part of the customer) are of extraordinary importance to the salesperson.

In short, the salesperson must understand his customer, and his understanding must be based on facts.

All needs are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Read more about Trigger Events here.


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  • Well written and provocative, Alen. You make an excellent point. Too often we don’t take time to observe, and even when we do, our observations are shaded by emotion versus reason. Again, well done.