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Sales Make it Happen

The B-Shield
by Linda P. Kester

I flew to L.A. recently, connecting through Vegas, to train a terrific leasing company. On the third leg of the trip my plane was late arriving. I got off the plane in Vegas, looked at the monitor and it said that my flight to Philly had DEPARTED.

It was a red-eye, and the thought of spending the night in Vegas, almost made me cry. But being an optimist I thought "I have to see for myself. Maybe there is a chance." Of course my gate was in terminal B, I landed in terminal A. Purposefully I strode to the gate, passing US Airways customer service kiosk, noticing the long line. I thought "I'll be back there, but I just have to check." Get to the gate---I can see the plane! The gate agent is coming out the door, breathlessly I beg: "Is there a chance?!" He looks at me kindly and says "if they haven't locked the door.we're going to have to run." He sprints ahead down the jet way, the flight attendant is closing the door. Flight Attendant stops looks up and makes a face like you gotta be kidding me . I make a face like please , he just turns and barks out "tell the captain there's one more". I'm so relieved. I thank the gate agent wanting to kiss him---but I hold back.

Now I'm on the plane and the passengers have all settled in, moved around, making room for themselves to stretch out and sleep for the night. As I walk down the aisle there are only middle seats open---and no one wants me to sit next to them.

I walk to the back of the plane and finally have to sit down, because we are ready to push back. I take a deep breath and decide to sit in the last row in front of the lavatory - non-reclining, wouldn't you know. The guy sitting in the window seat just looks up at me. He doesn't even want to move his knee off of the middle seat. I can feel the guy on the aisle seat thinking sarcastically "great. " But as luck would have it the guy on the aisle moves to sit in the adjoining row with a companion. Yea! I'm on! I'm going home! And I'm sitting on the aisle, with no one in the middle!

I have standard procedure as a woman traveling alone. I immediately take my work and my i-Pod out of my backpack. Nod a friendly hello to whoever I'm next to, but make it very clear that I'm not interested in talking. I had done this on the three prior flights with much success. I didn't talk to anyone; I listened to my favorite music and was very happy to read. However, when I moved over to the aisle seat and immediately reached for my i-Pod, I very uncharacteristically said out loud "I can't believe I made this flight". The guy who didn't want to move his knee said " Feeling a little giddy ?" And it did capture how I was feeling. I was somewhat dizzy with my heart pounding. So, the woman who prides herself in getting work done on a plane (me) had a nice conversation with a fellow passenger.

While thinking back on that experience I realized the only reason that genuine contact was made was because my B - (rhymes-with-"witch") shield was down.

What is a B-shield ? It's what automatically deploys when my friend Kristi and I are out at a bar and some guy uses a lame line like "You two are so beautiful, my friends and I were wondering if you'd want to join us." The B-Shield is up! We respond with "no, that's ok; we don't see each other very often." Why does the B-Shield come up? You know why! That guy wants to get. something.

It's the same exact thing when you call on a vendor. (You knew there was a sales point coming, thanks for bearing with me!) Most sales people can't just simply strike up a conversation with a prospect. They think robotically "I'm selling.I must control the process.I have to get, get, get from this call." The person on the phone senses this immediately. They put up their guard or B-Shield if you will. The sales rep's hidden agenda and the vendor's reaction immediately destroy the trust-building process of communication.

Most reps don't consider the possibility that there can be flexibility in how they communicate and build a relationship. They need to concentrate on ways to get their personality through the phone, breaking the vendors' pre-occupation, and swap overconfidence for humility.

If you use your natural language abilities, not some lame script, to break their preoccupation, you'll find the vendor communicating with you in a natural way. You will have disengaged their

The bottom line is to build a dialogue, ask good questions (there is an entire list of good questions on my web site) and enjoy the process of establishing a new relationship.

So, that's how to disengage the B-Shield with a vendor. If you want tips to disengage the B-shield at a bar, I'll give you my friend Kristi's email address. She'll hook you up!

Linda Kester helps leasing companies get more volume. If you liked this article, you can get just the "tip" (the nugget of sales information without Linda's flight story) and 364 more tips her new book, 365 Marketing Tips for Equipment Leasing. The book should be out by the end of the year. Past articles can be found at