Columbo and Sales

Columbo (TV series)

Lt. Columbo. LAPD.

If you are in sales, please go watch an episode or two of Columbo.

I decided this morning that it might be fun to model my sales calls after Columbo.  (What is Columbo’s first name, by the way?  They must use it in the show, but I haven’t a clue.  Salvatorre or something like that, I’ll bet.) 

Columbo has a knack for hanging around and getting what he wants.  He always prevails in the end and that’s what we want as sales people, right?  More importantly, he gets his adversary to shrug and say…you got me, Columbo, you are right.

Also keep in mind that Columbo is right.  Always.  No innocent has ever gone to the chair on Columbo’s watch.  The show is simple.  The good guys and bad guys are set from the beginning of each episode.  There is no mystery there.  What makes the show fascinating is Columbo’s skill in making the bad guy admit that he is the bad guy.  The “gotcha”.   Perfect agreement and buy-in every time.

In a way, that’s what sales is.  The Gotcha.  But it isn’t gotcha in a swindle kind of way…or at least it shouldn’t be…it is a gotcha in the good way, in the Columbo way. 

When I sell my advertising, I have to remind my clients that they want to generate an extra million dollars in revenue next year.  I can’t run in there slap him around like some Dirty Harry punk detective, I need to go in all out Columbo style.  You need to lay it out, step by step, for your client.  This is who you are and this is where you are going to be.  The nice thing about sales is you’re not trying to send a guy to Sing Sing, you’re trying to help him keep his business afloat!

So go watch Columbo.  I’m not going to spend a lot time here explaining why and giving you a big sales pitch.  Just do it.

(Hey…Just do it!  That’s kind of catchy.)


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