Why I Can't Catch a Taxi -- And You Can't Sell

Posted by Jill Konrath

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April 19, 2012

Several weeks ago I was in New York City doing a workshop for a client. I left early to meet with the VP of Sales before the session began. At the front desk of the hotel, when I asked for directions to the coffee shop, I discovered it was almost eight blocks away -- which was a shocker since I thought it was just around the corner. 

Dhail cabang! Now I was going to be late. So, I called Herb to let him know that I was walking as fast as I could. When I got him on the line, he said, "Get a cab. It'll just take a minute."

"That's okay," I replied. "I like to walk."

But here's the truth. I am a total taxi failure. They never stop for me. I can boldly step out into the street to flag one down just like New Yorkers do -- and they drive right past me like I don't even exist. It's happened so often, that I've given up on it.

Clearly I was not born to be a taxi rider.

Over lunch, I finally fessed up to Herb and his leadership team. They laughed at me -- and then let me in on a dirty little secret. If the lights on top of the taxi were on, they already had a passenger. If they were unlit, they were for hire.

Duh! No one ever told me that before. In Minnesota, where I live, everyone has a car. We've never learned the appropriate taxi-flagging techniques. And, I can assure you that it's not an innate skill.

What does that have to do with sales? Over the years, hundreds (or maybe thousands) of people have said to me, "I just can't sell" or "I'm just not a natural born salesperson."

Here's the deal. Sales is every bit as much of a skill as taxi-flagging. If you're having trouble, it's because you just don't know how -- yet!

  • If no one ever gets back to you, it's because you don't know how to pique their curiosity.
  • If you keep hearing the same objections, it's because you don't know how to eliminate them.
  • If you keep losing to the same competitor, it's because you haven't figured out how to to beat them.
  • If your prospects stay with the status quo too often, it's because you haven't helped them understand the value of changing.

But once you learn these things, everything changes. I can't wait to go back to NYC with my newfound knowledge. This time, I'm confident I'll catch a taxi.

YOUR TURN: Has anything like this ever happened to you? What did it take to finally figure out that you just weren't doing it right? Please share your story in the space below.

Topics: Fresh Perspectives, Success Strategies

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Jill KonrathJill Konrath is the author of three bestselling books, AGILE SELLINGSNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. She's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh sales strategies, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.



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