Can a former "madam" of the highest class call girl service in New York City teach a business owner of a "traditional" business anything about selling?
Sidney Biddle Barrows first gained notoriety when she was "busted" for running a call girl service in New York. She was a young, attractive woman with family roots going back to the Mayflower. Why would a high class person like this get into such a business?
Somebody thought she had something valuable to say, because Fortune magazine named her story, The Mayflower Madam, the outstanding business book of the year when it was published.
Sydney understood that she was never in the "sex" business. Customers could get "sex" at a street corner for considerably less than from her service. She was in the "fantasy" business.
Everything about the business, from the appearance of its advertising to the high-class hotels where her "young ladies" met clients to how receptionists talked with clients on the telephone to the appearance of her "young ladies" contributed to her fantasy illusion.
Today Sydney is a speaker and business consultant. She will "mystery shop" a business and develop powerful suggestions for business improvement. She has joined with sales and marketing guru Dan Kennedy to contribute new insights to the world of sales literature.
Although Uncensored Sales Strategies is certainly a provocative title that will sell books, this book could have been called "Selling As Theater." Sydney Biddle Barrows and Dan Kennedy both view the sales process as a performance for the benefit of the customer. You select an "audience" of highly qualified prospects. You create or choose a "setting" at your office or wherever you make your presentation. Your sales presentation should be carefully scripted for the contingencies of the customer’s interests and objections. The "costumes" or clothing that is worn by the saleperson and the members of the service "team" should be chosen to build confidence and trust and should be appropriate for the business setting.
The customer service experience should be carefully crafted for a "wow" response, and include upsell choices for enhanced benefits to the customer.
The sales process and customer service delivery builds value for the customer, who will then prefer to continue to do business with you and may be willing to pay premium prices for the experience. (Do you expect to pay the same price at The French Laundry (an extraordinary restaurant) as at McDonalds? Where will you go with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day?)
Uncensored Sales Strategies is a welcome addition to other sales training books that usually focus on techniques (and are also valuable). The only criticism I have is the price of the book is too low. At a $19.95 list price, readers might not take it as seriously as they should. Studying and implementing the ideas in this book will certainly contribute to the survival and growth of your business in these challenging times.
Buy it on Amazon: Uncensored Sales Strategies: A Radical New Approach to Selling Your Customers What They Really Want - No Matter What Business You're In.
For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!