Helen Ross 29 March 2017 2 min read

Show up and throw up is dead

I love some of the phrases that get bandied about in the sales industry. “Show up and throw up” is my current favourite. Not only because it rhymes, but also because you instantly want to screw up your face at the image it conjures. It’s a little gross, right? So is the sales tactic it describes.


For those who haven’t heard it before, I came across a great explanation of it: “This negative metaphor illustrates the tendency to join a call or meeting with a prospect (or in trying to broaden an existing relationship) and overwhelm the listeners with information about your business and capabilities, which may or may not be of interest or even relevant to the purpose of the meeting.”


Many years ago when I first started in the work force, I was in customer service (not much has changed – stick with what you love, folks). The company I was working for introduced sales KPIs. Now, in and of itself I had no problem with that. Sales is an important part of any business. My problem came with some of the suggestions I received on how I could go about meeting these new targets. Comments like “just get them on the contract and let cancellations deal with them” weren’t uncommon phrases. Now thankfully that particular suggestion didn’t come from my boss, but that kind of mentality was as pervasive as it was and dangerous.


If I do not genuinely believe a product/service/person will solve my customer’s problem, I won’t recommend it. I call this Ethical Sales. My focus is not on getting a sale across the line, but on solving a customer’s problem. Often times these have the same end result, but not always. This is where the difference lies.


Many products can patch a customer’s problem - the way a bandaid patches a bullet wound. Only a few will actually solve it. This, for me, is key.


At least some of you are probably wondering at this point how Commerce Vision stays in business if my approach is to completely ignore the numbers. Here’s the thing: if a customer trusts you, you can build the kind of relationship that extends beyond the current transaction.


I may recommend an alternative solution (sometimes even an alternative company entirely) for a particular problem, but my customer now knows they can come to me. They know my interest is genuinely in their success. It’s not just lip service. Instead of getting a single sale across the line, I’ve gone a very long way towards building a relationship that can span years. I’ve taken that customer a huge step closer to being loyal.  And loyal customers come back to you for future solutions. They also recommend you to their friends and colleagues.


My advice? Stop trying to tell customers what their problems are – and how your product will fix that. Listen to what they’re saying and provide a solution that you yourself would be grateful to hear.


Show up and throw up is dead.


Show up and solve is in.