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Guest Column: Credibility In The Selling Process

June 2, 2010
By Len Rashkin


My last column described what you have to do to create credibility in
the eyes of the coffee buyer. Decision makers want to deal with
professional salespeople and a company who they can trust and like.

Len Rashkin


My last column described what you have to do to create credibility in the eyes of the coffee buyer. Decision makers want to deal with professional salespeople and a company who they can trust and like.

So, before I continue in the selling process, I want to give homage to Stuart Daw, who was a true professional in the OCS industry and who, by example, set selling standards very high in selling credibility, coffee knowledge, buyer’s motivations and closing techniques.


There are many really enjoyable stories that Stuart told, but the one on creating credibility, I would love to share with you. I was on the board of director of the National Coffee Service Association in the mid-1970s and one of our convention guest speakers was Stuart. He got up on the dais looking very dapper in his brightly colored sports jacket and tie. He went on to tell about his early days, when he was selling coffee to the restaurant trade. He sat down at a local coffee shop and started to have a conversation with the owner, while ordering a cup of coffee. While speaking to the owner, he all of a sudden reaches down on the ground and picks up a five cent coin and proceeds to give it to the owner of the restaurant. The owner, says “why are you giving me this coin.” and Stuart replies, “well, it is not mine and this is your business, where I just found it.” Stu went on to tell the owner that he was in the coffee business; he sold the owner on his coffee. Stu said, that this little ploy, showed the owner how honourable he was and with his gift of gab, he landed a new account. OCS will miss this remarkable man, who is now a legend in our industry.

After creating credibility, you now have to know, understand and learn how to use trial-closing statements in your presentation. I call this area “The Keys to the Vault.” The following is taken from my program, ”The Complete Guide to OCS Sales Training”.

It simply goes something like this, “if I can do this for you, will you do this for me?”

“Miss Decision Maker, if I can show you a better method of brewing coffee, that will increase the quality of your coffee, give you better value, along with superior service, would you be willing to consider changing to our service?”

Most likely the buyer will say yes to your challenge. She has now given you a commitment to change services, if you can prove to her that you and your company can fulfill your pledge to give better value, better quality coffee and equipment and superior service.

A trial closing statement confirms and reconfirms where the buyer is on your selling scale. It reinforces the decision makers understanding of the benefits throughout the sales presentation, in order to close the sale at the end of your presentation. Let’s take a look at some trial closing statements.

‘”Miss Jones, can you see how this brewer can save valuable employee time by not having to clean pots, etc.?”
“Mr. Clark, Have you ever seen someone dump coffee because it was burnt? Can you now see a savings with this new style brewer by no longer dumping coffee down the drain?”

“Jane, Would you agree, that company morale would increase if you gave everyone choices on what blend of coffee and tea they wanted?”

“Brian, you mentioned that the coffee you just tasted was excellent, can you see your employees staying in the office more often, rather than going to the local café?”

Now, to put the above into a real selling mode, you take all of the agreed upon selling points that the buyer has acknowledged and remind him/her what they said, just before you ask for the order (closing statement), and now summarize all of the trial closing answers. Keep in mind that you have to remember what the decision maker said throughout the selling process. Here are some examples on summarizing their responses. 

“Mr. Clark, you acknowledged that having choices was very important for your staff and the coffee was excellent.”
“Our three burner automatic thermal brewer with a hot water spout was, in your opinion, more suitable for your company.”

Len Rashkin is a pioneer in the OCS industry. His industry awards include “Silver Service & Life Time Achievement, NBPA’s Hall of Fame, Crystal Bean & 3 NCSA Java Awards for marketing excellence. Len has been a guest speaker at NANA, NCSA, CAMA. Currently a OCS consultant on sales & marketing & has authored two OCS training programs.

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