Maybe we should call this article “Shameless Self Promotion.” Full disclosure and it should be said upfront. If the band plays at an event, my typical pay for the evening is somewhere between $75 and $90 for the evening. I know, big money.

So why the band stuff? Here is the simple and truthful answer: it’s all the same.

Whether someone is selling a multimillion dollar jet to an executive or I am selling the band BackTraxx, there is no difference. Sure, the selling process might be longer due to a higher priced decision or multiple people might be involved in the decision making process, but bottom line, a sale is a sale.

I get this all the time, “But Hal, our company (or industry) is different and/or unique.”

No you are not, so just take away that thought. Business is business and we make decisions on what we want in most cases, and not what we need.

Some executives or CEO’s do not need a private jet, they want one for convenience, security, or whatever their motivation is surrounding their decision. Most bars, corporate events, festivals or wineries do not need a band, they want live music so their patrons can dance, sing along or do whatever they might be enjoying during the evening.

But the sale all starts with this:

“Hi, this is Hal and I am selling corporate jets (or timeshare) and I would like to ask you a few questions.”

• Do you travel for business?

• Have you ever had a private jet/airplane and if so, tell me about the experience?

• How often and how far are the destinations?

• How many people travel with you?

• Tell me about your senior executive travel budget?

Now my turn:

“Hi, this is Hal and I am selling my band BackTraxx and I would like to ask you a few questions.”

• Do you bring in bands for live music?

• If so what type of bands do you bring in?

• Tell me about your typical audience or patrons?

• Do you want people to dance & sing along to familiar songs regardless of age?

• What do you pay your bands, especially the larger ones with more band members?

In the case of the band (or really any sales situation), if there is an interest on their part they will start to ask me questions, which shows they might want to make a “deal.” If there is no interest or any questions, you can wrap up by saying, “Do you have any interest whatsoever?”

If you are genuine, sincere and they realize you show genuine empathy while not just pushing yourself on them, they will have more reason to be genuine with you. People want to be helped and not sold.

When you talk, talk and do more talking, you are probably boring them and they want to end the sales meeting. If you are asking questions, real questions, you will probably elicit a conversation and you will find out more about them by listening to what they might want or need.

Whether you are selling a band or a jet, remember it is not much different when it comes to the science of the sale through questions and uncovering information. The less you talk, the more you will find out. A great sales call results in either a sale or finding out the real reasons for their lack of interest. Don’t forget you can’t sell everyone.

Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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