Talking Turkey With Uncle Hank


You make a sales call. You say your hellos and then start talking turkey – the business of your meeting.  That’s what we call the nuts and bolts of negotiating a  deal.


If you get it, you’re elated.  You’re at the top of your game. If you don’t, you hit yourself over the head. Maybe your presentation wasn’t good enough. Maybe you should have pushed harder. Maybe you didn’t get your point across.


Then again, maybe there was nothing wrong at all with your presentation – or the package you offered.  Maybe, instead of talking turkey, you should have been talking turkey.


There’s a difference.


You see, during colonial times, legend has it that a one day an Indian and a settler entered into a ‘shooting partnership’.  At the end of the hunt, all they had to show for their labors was a wild turkey and a crow.


The settler, used to bargaining with the Indian suggested, “Now, you may have your choice. You take the crow and I’ll take the turkey; or if you’d rather, I’ll take the turkey and you take the crow.” The Indian reflected a moment on the offer, then replied. “Ugh! You no talk turkey to me a bit.”


In other words, the deal was laid out too fast.  The Indian wanted to talk.  He wanted some good old conversation before getting down to business.  So we can also say talking turkey means to speak with someone as he wants to be spoken to.


The same thing holds true in business.


In fact, studies have proven that the best way to increase your odds of winning a sale occurs in the 10 minutes of conversation – and that conversation precedes any talk of business.  It’s the time it takes for most people to see if they can relate to each other.


So, here are some tips to help make the most of that quality time:


  1. Don’t jump right into business. Get to know your prospect at a more personal, and social level.
  2. Keep the conversation focused on them – not you. Remember, everyone likes to talk about themselves.  It makes them feel good. When they feel good about themselves, they actually feel good about you too.
  3. Find some common ground. In conversation, find something you may share with the prospect. Whether it’s an  interest, activity or find that you grew up in the same neighborhood or that you kids went to the same school. When you have something in common, it creates a positive connection. Just remember to be truthful, because if you’re not, it will come back to bite you.
  4. Meeting over a cup of coffee or tea, or being where you have access to it really helps.  There’s something about warming drinks and smells that conjures up good vibes.


So that’s it from Uncle Hank.


And, by all means, have a Happy Thanksgiving.


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