Selling Big Ticket Items: the MASTER Method
Selling Big Ticket Items: the MASTER Method
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Big ticket products and services -- what are they? You see big ticket items all of the time. That one-hour photo processing machine at the drug store was sold by a salesperson. The car wash that you go to is a big robotic system that was a big sale for someone and many of the components of that system (e.g. the dryers) were big ticket items when they were sold to the contractor who erected the car wash. Characteristics we find in the sale of big ticket items include. The products or services are of relatively high price. The duration of the selling process is relatively long and consists of several steps. The duration of the process that buyers go through is relatively long. The buyers are usually looking to purchase against a set of specifications - they are looking for a solution. And so there are usually steps in the selling process to learn about and get agreement on the needs and wants of the buyers . There is often a team of people on the buying side. Sometimes the salesperson needs help from others (team sales). The products often need explaining. There is usually competition to deal with. They are rarely sold from a retail store.The complexity and price of such offerings justifies the cost and selling time of a field sales force. This book provides, among other things: Show More Show Less
6. Eliminating Obstacles

The most unforgettable obstacle I ever met
I remember when Readers’ Digest magazine had a feature called The Most Unforgettable Person I Ever Met that appeared in each edition. The authors would describe people they met that had done something unusual, had been unusually gracious, or in some other way made an impression that was, well, unforgettable. In selling we sometimes have experiences that we remember for the rest of our lives.
I remember a sales obstacle situation early in my career that I will never forget. I was trying to sell a manufacturing software package to a company that planned to install it in a new factory that was to be opened on December 1st next. I also knew that the prospect did not have a contingency plan to run the factory in case the implementation of the new system was not complete in time. So if the implementation was late, a $30 million plant with no system to run it, would sit idle. That’s costly.
When I visited the prospect to close the deal, the system evaluation team leader told me that a competitor was being selected instead of us. The reasons given were that our system was not as feature-rich and didn’t have as large an installed base as theirs did. My problem was that what the prospect said was true. The competitor’s system was better and they did have more installations. I knew this and so did the prospect. Things did not look so great.
I also knew that most manufacturing system installations are completed significantly behind schedule because of poor management of the project.
Here is what I did. I asked for use of an office so that I could prepare a detailed implementation plan. My plan showed that we could complete the installation by October 15th. Because of the great detail I provided, the plan was believable. I then explained that even if the other system were slightly better than ours, it wouldn’t do him (or his job security) much good if the plant lay idle for many weeks or months. I suggested that he ask the competitor for their plan and completion date. To make a long story short, the competitor didn’t handle it very well and I made the sale.
What I had done was to shift the emphasis from some weaknesses in our offer to its strengths. I was able to convince the prospect that an on-time installation was far more important than a few extra features, and that our project management approach was far superior to that of the competitor. This shift-in-emphasis approach can be very valuable, especially when you encounter valid obstacles.
It was truly the most unforgettable obstacle I ever met.

Michael W. Lodato Ph.D. is an accomplished expert in virtually every facet of marketing and sales, with over 45 years’ experience as a company president, senior executive, Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and as a consultant to many companies in the U.S. and Europe.

His focus is to regard marketing and sales as a set of processes to be integrated, managed and improved over time. It is from this vantage point that Dr. Lodato has become a prolific author of books, booklets and other educational materials. He is the developer of

  • Integrated Sales Process Management,
  • Integrated Territory Management,
  • Integrated Channel Management, and
  • The MASTER Method of Selling.

Dr. Lodato worked with clients in developing and implementing structured processes for sales management, strategic management, and product marketing management. His uniquely effective processes have been implemented at companies in the US and Europe and are now available in publications and on his web site,, to those desiring to improve the performance of their marketing and sales teams.

Dr. Lodato’s books, booklets, white papers and articles provide in-depth insight and detailed understanding into how to construct, improve and manage all aspects of the marketing and sales activity.  His full length books are:

  • Integrated Sales Process Management: a methodology for improving sales effectiveness in the 21st Century
  • Selling Computers and Software: the MASTER Method
  • Management of New Product Launches and Other Marketing Projects

They are available from the publisher at, and other sources including, Barnes & Noble, Borders and local book stores.  Descriptions of shorter-length publications can be found on his website and

Michael's success with clients has made a case for a business process orientation to how a company's marketing and sales activities are managed - so that their performance can be consistently and repeatedly improved over time.   With his insightful, effective methods to this challenging area, a company has a very good shot at achieving true best practice level of performance in this vital area.

Michael is an avid golfer and has degrees from Colgate University (B.S.), the University of Rochester (M.S.) andRutgers(Ph.D.).



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