Betting & Probing — Kissing Cousins

Poker and Selling:

I just sat down at a cash game at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. I was catch­ing cards and the chips were stack­ing up.  I had a pair of Kings and an Ace came up on the flop. There were only three of us in the hand – every­one else had folded. I was last to bet and one player ahead of me be ten dol­lars. I re-raised to twenty-five to see if he had the ace. If he called, I would either check down or fold. If he folded, I won the pot. He folded and I got the answer that I needed.

Either way – I needed more infor­ma­tion to make my decision.

  • As I raked in the chips, I real­ized that bet­ting was a way of get­ting information.
  • Bet­ting was just like probing!

Three hours before I started play­ing poker, I was in an account fac­ing a sit­u­a­tion where one buyer was in favor of my ideas and one per­son was against.

The Prac­tice Man­ager was openly hos­tile to me when we began the meet­ing. Instead of demon­strat­ing my prod­uct, I asked my coach in the sale (the advo­cate on my side) for a tour.  Then, we met as a group and I began ask­ing ques­tions.  Aggres­sively con­vert­ing their answers to costs, profit leaks and staff inef­fi­ciency, it became clear that almost $20,000 was the monthly cost of con­tin­u­ing on their cur­rent path.

Before start­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, I looked at every­one in the room and asked a question:

  • “If I can show all of you how we can get the $20,000 back, will you imple­ment my proposal?”

Then, I just sat there hold­ing their gaze. Poker has got­ten me very com­fort­able with star­ing directly into the eyes of other play­ers.  All of the buy­ers looked at each other and said “yes – show us how we can bridge the gap.”

It may appear that I was tak­ing a big chance. But really, what did I have to lose? It was bet­ter to ‘bet’ on my $20,000 cost jus­ti­fi­ca­tion than to wait until later and get the ‘it costs too much’ objec­tion. But it was the small prob­ing ques­tions that lead to the big moment, wasn’t it? It was the assertive math that gained agree­ment that a dis­crep­ancy needed to be addressed. It was the call for com­mit­ment that advanced the sale, right?

Prob­ing and bet­ting – they are both ways to ask ques­tions and get the impor­tant answers to make deci­sions. To me, poker and sell­ing are very sim­i­lar. If you take a risk, you get a reward. Play it safe and the com­mis­sion checks shrivel up like old oranges in the Florida sun­shine. The next time you get in a sell­ing sit­u­a­tion – go for it.  You may lose a few rounds, but my bet is that you will come out on the win­ning side more often!

Edi­tors note: Tuna’s day job is  to cover his  multi-state ter­ri­tory.   On nights and week­ends he is an accom­plished semi-professional poker player.  This is num­ber Three in his  series in the sim­i­lar­i­ties between of Poker and Selling.

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2 Responses to “ Betting & Probing — Kissing Cousins ”

  1. Duke says:

    clas­sic appli­ca­tion of “infor­ma­tion is power” !

  2. Black Belt says:

    Excel­lent descrip­tion of demon­strat­ing how two dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines are related. Risk: in order to get the fruit, you have to be will­ing to go out onto the limb…

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