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Stop, Ask, and Listen: Proven Sales Techniques for Turning Browsers into Buyers

Stop, Ask, and Listen: Proven Sales Techniques for Turning Browsers into Buyers

by Kelley Robertson

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"This book gives every sales professional, in any market, a step-by-step process to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before. Worth its weight in gold!"
—Brian Tracy, President, Brian Tracy International, and Author of Advanced Selling Strategies

Does the sheer thought of selling make you nervous and uncomfortable?

Do you find it


"This book gives every sales professional, in any market, a step-by-step process to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before. Worth its weight in gold!"
—Brian Tracy, President, Brian Tracy International, and Author of Advanced Selling Strategies

Does the sheer thought of selling make you nervous and uncomfortable?

Do you find it difficult to overcome price objections?

Do you wish you could close more sales with less effort?

You are not alone. Most people are not natural-born sales professionals. Making a sales call stresses us out. Meeting our sales targets month after month is difficult and frustrating. We make a living but we know we could do better, close more sales, and earn more money.

Selling does not have to be difficult.

Now you can quickly and easily learn the techniques used by top retail sales people. They are deceptively simple, yet extremely effective. What’s more, they can be used by sales professionals in any business to improve their results.
Stop, Ask & Listen: Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers Into Buyers will show you:

  • The 11 most common mistakes sales people make and how to avoid them.
  • How to create a connection with your potential customer quickly and easily.
  • The 33 questions that will gain your prospect’s trust.
  • How to deliver an engaging and captivating sales presentation.
  • A four-step process to overcome virtually any objection.
  • Lots of examples, sample scripts, and action plans you can use to apply the concepts in the book, no matter what you sell.
Whether you are new to selling, an experienced veteran, or a sales manager training, supervising, and coaching a team, you will learn valuable strategies that will help you increase your sales and earn more money.

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Read an Excerpt

Stop, Ask, and Listen

Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers Into Buyers
By Kelley Robertson

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-470-83367-X

Chapter One

The GUEST Approach to Selling

"Guests are always welcome."

In recent years many different businesses have begun to approach their clients differently. They are now calling them guests, which has been the norm in the hotel industry for decades. Many restaurant chains as well as other businesses use this term. A gas station around the corner from my house boasts a sign on its door that reads, "Welcome, guests."

A simple word like "guest" versus "customer" can make a dramatic difference in the way we perceive the people who pay our salaries. A customer is someone who makes a purchase. A guest is someone we welcome with open arms and look forward to interacting with. A guest is more of a friend, someone we will treat with dignity and respect.

I'm not suggesting that you immediately begin calling all of your customers guests. What I would like to introduce to you is the GUEST model of selling. GUEST is an acronym for a five-step sales process.

1. Greeting your customers.

2. Uncovering the customers' needs.

3. Explaining the product or service.

4. Solving objections.

5. Telling them to buy.

Many sales-based organizations have their own sales model or structure. The GUEST model is designed to fit into most sales cycles. These fivesteps are the key components to all successful retail selling. The majority of salespeople in retail don't follow any structured process, preferring to allow the sale to flow naturally. I've heard many justifications and rationalizations for this:

"You can't follow a structured process."

"Customers just take control of the sales process."

"It takes too long to go through a process like this."

"My store is too busy."

"I'm too busy."

"I've done it my way for years and I've been successful."

The list could go on and on. In fact, I could probably write another book just listing the excuses I've heard from salespeople. Here is the point. The GUEST process works. Ultimately, you need to take control of the sales process. If you don't, the customer will, which is what happens in approximately 80 percent of all sales transactions that take place on the retail floor. I have seen salespeople shadow customers around the store trying desperately to sell them something.

News flash! Consumers will not buy from a salesperson they don't trust, don't like, or who doesn't show confidence. I have known salespeople with a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge who can't close the number of sales they are entitled to because they try too hard.

Here's a typical sales story. The customer is looking at a product. The salesperson launches into a canned pitch about the product. The customer asks some questions and expresses some objections. The salesperson tries to overcome or defend the objections. The process ends with the customer saying, "Got a card? I'll be back." These words are the kiss of death in retail because few of these customers ever actually return. The reasons are simple.

The salesperson did not greet the customer properly.

The salesperson did not ask the customer any questions.

The salesperson delivered a rehearsed presentation instead of focusing on the customer's needs.

The salesperson did not gather sufficient information to overcome the customer's objection.

The salesperson did not give the customer a reason to make the purchase!

The GUEST approach to selling addresses each of these issues. If you make a conscious effort to apply the concepts in this book you will notice an immediate improvement in your sales. The key is to concentrate on the process rather the outcome. If you work through each step instead of trying to close the sale, you will increase your closing ratio. Too many salespeople work hard to close a sale because they need to reach a certain level of sales to earn commission, their boss is hounding them to close a deal, or they haven't reached their sales quota. The result is a desperate attempt to get the customer to part with their hard-earned money. These customers feel threatened, manipulated, coerced and often leave the store without making any purchase at all.

On the other hand if a salesperson concentrates on the sales process the customer will be more relaxed, feel more comfortable, and will be more likely to buy. In my workshops I encourage salespeople to allow the sale to progress naturally. I instruct them to pay attention to their customers instead of focusing on closing the sale. This runs contrary to most sales training where the emphasis is on closing the sale. My philosophy is that the sale will happen when you put all five components together in a relaxed, comfortable manner.

The average salesperson's sales cycle looks something like this:

Half the sale is spent in a passive role! It's no wonder consumers aren't anxious to make a purchase.

Here is the sales cycle of a typical successful salesperson:

Typical Sales Cycle for a Successful Salesperson

Greeting 1%

Qualifying 9%

Presentation 30%

Handling Objections 30%

Closing 30%

This individual divides his or her time equally among presenting the product, handling objections, and trying to close the sale.

The GUEST model of selling suggests this breakdown:


Presentation 25%

Handling Objections 10%

Closing 4%

Greeting 1%

Qualifying 60%

You will notice that most of the time is invested in uncovering the customer's needs. When done properly, this step will eliminate many objections. Unfortunately, most salespeople either don't understand this or refuse to believe it. Most still feel that they have to skate quickly through the qualifying process to have enough time to deal with objections.

A business acquaintance of mine works in advertising. When I approached him to produce a training video he began asking me questions to fully understand what I needed and wanted in a video. Because he took the time to learn about my business needs, I immediately saw the value in this $45,000 investment. Not once did I express an objection about the cost because he demonstrated the value while he uncovered my needs and presented a solution. He made sure that he positioned himself and his company as a problem-solver and a solution-provider.

Another friend of mine owns a training company that provides a variety of training programs to retailers. In his sales training he does not discuss how to overcome objections because he believes, and rightly so, that if you qualify your customer's needs you won't hear any objections. My experience in consulting has confirmed this as well.

As you progress through the book you will begin to see how the GUEST model of selling differs from, and is more effective than, the traditional style. It focuses on the customer rather than on closing the sale. It is designed to make people feel important.

Stop treating your customers like a pay cheque and view them as guests in your store. This may sound awkward, particularly if you have been accustomed to using aggressive selling tactics. If you discipline yourself to follow the blueprint provided here, you will soon notice a difference in the way your customers respond to you. In return, they will be more willing to part with their hard-earned money. They will be willing to buy from you-today-at your price!


Excerpted from Stop, Ask, and Listen by Kelley Robertson Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for Kelley Robertson and Stop, Ask and Listen

People will pay a premium for quality. We’ve used concepts similar to what Kelley presents in Stop, Ask, and Listen and they have helped us succeed. If they work for us, they’ll work for you. I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about increasing sales and customer loyalty.

—Harry Rosen, Chairman, Harry Rosen Inc.

This book gives every sales professional, in any market, a step-by-step process to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before. Worth its weight in gold!

—Brian Tracy, President, Brian Tracy International

Author of Advanced Selling Strategies

Stop, Ask, and Listen is an outstanding book! I was amazed how many practical ideas were included. When you apply these concepts you will definitely separate yourself from your competitors. I highly recommend this book to anyone in sales.

—Jim Clemmer, President, The Clemmer Group

Author of Pathways to Performance and Growing the Distance

I have been exposed to many sales processes and I have never seen one as practical and achievable as Kelley’s. It is refreshing to read a book on sales that succeeds in selling me on the process it prescribes. Stop, Ask, and Listen combines the essential mechanics and the crucial mindset of successful selling in a process that is totally achievable.

—Blair Minnes, Account Manager, Larter Creative

Stop, Ask, and Listen is an excellent book! Kelley has done what most authors neglect to do¾ include a step-by-step blueprint to implement the concepts in his book. His examples, analogies, and real-life situations reflect a keen understanding of professional selling behaviour. Good material for sales people at all levels, whether selling a Walkman or a multi-million dollar aircraft.

—Greg Marlo, Director of Sales & Marketing,


Stop, Ask, and Listen is well-written book and a must-read for any salesperson. When you apply the concepts you will demonstrate to your customer why they should buy from you, at your price. It will definitely increase your negotiating power.

—Michael Sloopka, President, Selling Solutions

I am reading, re-reading, and re-reading this book. I am convinced that there is no finer book on effective selling in existence! Because of this book, I see a bright future ahead for me in sales.

—Dave Smith, Sales Associate, Forshey Piano Company

I have studied this book from cover to cover numerous times and have to say that it is probably the most helpful self-help sales training book I have read so far. My sales results from the open houses increased exponentially this last weekend…thanks to your blueprint. Looks like my sales are on an upward swing!

—Dino Di Diodoro, Agent, Re/Max Real Estate

I have read books by the top motivators such as Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins and Stop, Ask, and Listen rates as one of the best. I have already doubled my sales from last month!

—David Hannah, Sales Consultant, Ottawa West Hyundai

"Brilliant" is the only way to describe this book. Kelley has identified the most significant challenges faced by salespeople and demonstrated how to overcome them. He demonstrates a keen insight into customer needs and wants. All salespeople could learn something from this book regardless of what, and to whom, they sell.

—Andrea Nierenberg, The Nierenbreg Group

In today’s economy, customers are more discriminating and have more information and choice. Kelley’s vision and concepts for motivating your customers to buy are unique and practical. This foolproof method of selling will distinguish you from your competition. Stop, Ask, and Listen is guaranteed to propel you to the highest level of success.

—Roz Usheroff, President, The Usheroff Institute

Meet the Author

Kelley Robertson, President of The Robertson Training Group, has been helping people improve their skills for almost fifteen years. He began by training employees, managers and owner/operators in the hospitality industry, and then became Manager of Retail Training for Sony of Canada. Since 1995, he has conducted hundreds of training workshops and helped thousands of professionals improve their sales results.

His growing client list includes the Canadian Franchise Association, Crabtree & Evelyn, Delta Hotels, Fern Resort, Hillebrand Estates Winery, Home Hardware, Rogers AT&T Wireless, Rogers Video, Sony of Canada, and Staples/Business Depot.

Kelley Robertson's articles are frequently published in a variety of online and print magazines and newsletter, such as, Selling Power, Training, Sales & Marketing, Sales Promotion, Canadian Business Franchise, Small Business Canada, Creative Training Techniques, and Executive Sales Briefing. His column appears regularly in Canadian Vending magazine, and his weekly newsletter, The 59-Second Tip, provides insight on a wide variety of business skills.

Kelley Robertson can be reached at kelley@robertsontraininggroup.com.

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