In 1887, John H. Patterson, then the owner of National Cash Register (N.C.R.), developed an intricate sales process called the N.C.R. Primer. In this system of selling, he required that N.C.R. sales people remember over two hours of sales scripts.

The N.C.R. Primer laid out contingencies for every aspect of selling. Every possible prospect objection had a rebuttal, every question had an answer, and closing the sale consisted of just handing the prospect a contract and pen. This systematic process led to N.C.R.’s monopoly of the cash register industry.

Now, 126 years later, we see sales people across all industries using the same techniques to persuasively pitch their products with enthusiasm and canned closing routines. The same exact techniques developed over a century ago.

However, back in those days prospects had no access to information other than the sales person, they weren’t bombarded by hundreds of sales people every week, and most importantly, N.C.R. sales people were essentially the only ones using the N.C.R. Primer.

The world of selling has changed dramatically, and while much credit should be given to John H. Patterson for his impact in that world, his ideas are outdated in today’s market. Prospects don’t need a persuasive pitch with a canned rebuttal to every objection. Rather, they need a sales person who is distinct from the competition by asking strong questions to determine whether there is a fit.

Your competition is out there right now using some spinoff of the N.C.R. Primer. Your prospects are expecting the canned presentation with rehearsed high-pressure closing techniques. Recognizing that fact and being totally distinct from them is what will set you apart.

How do you set yourself apart from the pack? Please share below.

Marc Wayshak is author of the book Game Plan Selling and a sales conference speaker.


Get 25 tips to crush your sales goal. Written by Marc Wayshak, sales strategist & author of the book, "Game Plan Selling."

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