Mr. Shmooze on the Roof!

I always love to run into real time Mr. Shmooze stories I can share with our readers. Here is one from over the weekend.

I was having a beer with a friend who had some roofing issues and had been told by two roofers he needed new roofs. But this is not just any house . . . it’s a moose, with multiple roofs angling up as many as four stories. So a full re-roofing could be easily in the $30,000 range . . . an important job for most residential roofers. I had recommended another roofer to him that had provided excellent service for me and who had branched off from a bigger company to form his own firm. I trusted him and knew his lower overhead operation would be very competitive. Here is what my buddy said about the meeting.  Read More


Hello everybody,

Our next column entitled “Yessssss!” follows directly. But this week we also wanted to make you aware of a parallel column we are now writing each week for business owners and managers responsible for recruiting, training and deploying salespeople. It is co-written by our chief psychologist Dr. Christopher Croner and focuses on assessment and interviewing research and techniques, as well as some of the deeper psychology behind the selection and development of successful salespeople. If you are interested, click here to check it out and to sign up if you are so inclined.

Now . . . Back to the Art & Science of Selling Through Relationships!


Every meeting and every phone call you make to a prospect must end with a call to action or you have virtually wasted the call. Remember, in this case we are talking about prospects, not current clients, so this requires a different mindset . . . one designed to advance the relationship toward the first transaction, and that means being proactive and focused.  Read More

The Moment of Truth

Ah, the “close.”  The moment of time in the selling cycle when the transaction is agreed upon, when buyer and seller come together and the commitment is actually made to move forward, together, with the deal. In this context, I am not talking about the mechanics of the close, like a formal real estate closing after the decision to buy/sell has been made earlier. I am talking about the moment of truth when a buyer makes the emotional leap and decides to buy . . . the real essence of the transactional process. In that context, I want to mention a specific communications technique that can work very well at that moment . . . validation and reassurance. Let’s use an automobile transaction as an example.  Read More

Getting the “Special” Treatment

So I had a clogged drain in the kitchen recently. I tried a few of the usual remedies that never work, like liquid drain stuff and then I relented and called a plumber. Actually, not a plumber . . . that would be unfair to guys I really respect. I called one of those national companies that specifically address blockages. You know, the crackerjack order intake system, “The ‘specialist’ will be there between 10 and 12 and will call you first,” so I sat down, switched on a ballgame and waited. Sure enough the call came in and the “specialist” showed up. He fished around a little and said, “That is a deep clog . . . my estimate for the work is $400.”  Read More

Talking Over the Customer. Interrupts Intimacy . . . and the Sale.

So you are in a nice restaurant and deep into a conversation with your friend(s) and the waiter comes over and interrupts you, blurting out, “How is everything?” or “Can I get you anything else?” It’s OK once, but when it happens twice, or three times, you really have to ask yourself why the restaurant would not simply take a little extra time to train their staff to come up to the table, wait to make eye contact and see if the people want to be spoken to or not at that moment.

On the phone with a service provider? It usually starts with them asking you to repeat the same information you gave earlier to the computerized prompt, then a script and finally getting to the point. And then, all too often, the serviceperson on the phone, again, interrupts and talks over us, often with a time delay from a remote location.  Read More

Death by PowerPoint! (cont.)

OK, so if you read last week’s column, I talked about being careful not to drag an audio guy through a visual presentation (or vice versa). We need to figure out how our clients like to be presented to before imposing a one size fits all format.

But now let’s assume that we DO have a visual person on our hands and he has INVITED us to show our deck. That is great, so long as we DON’T do the following (which, unfortunately, I see time after time):  Read More

PowerPoint- Don’t Miss the Point

I sat through another deadly boring PowerPoint presentation yesterday. It’s getting so that when I see one coming I almost start to feel nauseous. So you probably think I hate PowerPoint presentations, right? No, I just hate BAD PowerPoint presentations AND PowerPoint Presentations that are imposed upon me whether I like it or not. Let’s talk about this second point for a minute.

You see, I am not a visual guy. I am an audio guy. I like to talk to people, not look at slides and graphs. Pretty basic, huh? But how many salespeople, who have come to me over the years, bother to try to figure that out in advance? Maybe, oh, 1%, and of course those people almost always close me because I am so impressed that they respect me enough and have done their homework to be sure the meeting is satisfying to ME, the buyer, not THEM, the sellers. So while most salespeople are having a great time putting on their shows, I am dying a thousand deaths . . . “please be the last slide . . . PLEASE!”  Read More

The Reluctant Prospect

There is a certain kind of buyer… we all know him/her…  who just cannot pull the trigger when it comes to closing. He keeps delaying, or analyzing or just scheduling meeting after meeting. This is very tough on us as salespeople because sometimes it feels like we are close, only to be delayed again, so we never really know if we have a real prospect or not, but we keep trying.

In these cases, you may be dealing with a prospect who is paralyzed by fear… generally the fear of making a mistake. These people feel great emotional pain when they get something wrong, and they try to avoid that pain at all costs. So they defer decisions, not just with you but in many areas of their lives, and they actually prefer the stress of carrying a lot of ambiguity over taking what they perceive as a chance. Read More

What is the #1 Thing Human Beings Look for in a Conversation With Anyone?

So you are talking to a prospect about, say, an annuity product. The conversation goes something like this:

  • You:  “Mr. Prospect, you may want to consider an annuity as part of your investment mix.”
  • Prospect: “An annuity?!  I just read those are terrible investments.  Why would you recommend that?”
  • You: “They are NOT terrible investments. Where did you read that?”
  • Prospect: “I don’t remember, but they said annuities came with higher fees and more risk than people think. Are you going for fees on this?”

OK . . . let’s stop the tape for a moment. Do you see where this is heading . . . the conversation is quickly turning confrontational with the potential of even getting hostile.  Here is how a psychologist would handle this situation using a very simple but powerful technique called “validation.”
Read More


That’s right! After a one year sabbatical to recharge after writing five years of weekly columns, we are tanned, rested and ready to broadcast another set of tomes on the “Art & Science of Selling Through Relationships.”

In speaking with a number of you informally, we have also changed, hopefully for the better. We are now plugged in to all social media so you can read our columns anytime, anyplace and you can easily share them with your colleagues and friends. We hope you will . . . it would be fun to take Mr. Shmooze viral and share thoughts around the world with like-minded people . . . people who do well by doing good and who love to mix the excitement of great relationships with their day-to-day work and missions.

We have also grown. We have now a staff of research assistants and a psychologist who are helping us dig deeper into relationship dynamics, including the behavior and hot buttons of our most important business partners, our buyers and customers. In the coming weeks and months, you will see some fascinating findings on turning people on, and off, and how top producers master the game of emotional connections.

In order to support this expanded initiative, we would like to ask you, for the first time, to make a donation to the Mr. Shmooze program.  People tell us $20 per year is about right for 50 columns, so if you would like to help us help you, please click the button below to participate. (The columns will keep coming either way unless you decide to opt out . . . we are just hoping for a fair number of contributors to support the research and quality we pledge to maintain).

Mr. Shmooze Editorial Board
Richard Abraham, Brett Hunsaker, Dr. Christopher Croner and Miranda Toops

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So here we go . . . column #1 of the new era. Enjoy!

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