An off kilter look at sales tips & tricks for telesales professionals

Issue 30:  Gorilla Edition

Do you have an 800 lb. gorilla living with you?
You know those accounts that take over your life completely? Everything revolves around them – always (and they will tell you that is how they like it).
Oh sure, when you were trying to earn their business it was easy. You put in effort, find out what they needed, and started doing it…  ALL of it! They are so cute when they are little.

What you do in the beginning as “extra”
becomes standard business practice
after THREE times!

All of those “things” they asked for, you know the ones you did to earn their business, have become their expectations NOT an exception.

Once = an exception
Twice = a favor
Thrice = standard
A great example of this is free shipping. Many times this is something that people throw in to bring in an order more quickly. If you throw it in the last week of every month – I can promise you, your prospects & customers will start waiting for it.
Another example is “I never buy anything at Macy’s without a 20% off coupon, they’ve trained me that if I wait a little while it will show up in the mail.” 20% off is now standard price, the customer doesn’t even see it as a discount.

to become ordinary.

It may not sound right, but it is all about managing what they expect – early. No one wants an angry 800 lb. gorilla in their life!
Early when you’re trying to earn someone’s business have conversations around what doing business together will be like.
Find out what they WANT… what they NEED… and what is missing in their current vendor relationship.
Also talk about what your ‘standard’ might look like– PLUS what you would be willing to do that is extraordinary just for them.
You’ll need to keep reminding them that the extraordinary is just that or it will become ordinary quickly.
Late if you already have 800 lbs. of expectation in a customer start to ask more questions BEFORE doing.
Stress it isn’t that you aren’t going to do something – more that you are trying to ensure you match their expectations.
No one wants to have less service, but a few more questions will make sure you’re keeping that gorilla happy AND still have time for other things (like finding the next 800 lb. gorilla by prospecting).
Zoo Keepers don’t LIVE with the gorillas!

Here is the key – 800 lb. gorillas are very nice to visit when they live at the zoo.

That means that you – as the salesperson in charge of the relationship – need to ensure you don’t let the gorilla account control how you spend your time!
Much like the zoo keeper you have to manage them. Big accounts can be very lucrative – it isn’t that you don’t want to have an 800 lb. gorilla in your account base.
You don’t want it to be THE ONLY account you have, so make sure you manage the gorilla NOT the other way around.
This edition comes from a series of coaching conversations with a client who had one H-U-G-E and demanding customer.
Now your 800 lb. gorilla may not be a customer but something else that is stopping you from doing what you know needs to be done.
The key is to manage the gorilla NOT let it manage you.


There are lots of books out about how to handle 800 lb. gorilla accounts.
Look on your favorite online book reseller and search for:
  • Large account management
  • Strategic selling 
Two I have read and liked are: SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham and Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath. 

TeleSales Twist

One of the key buying points in telesales many times =
Responsiveness to requests for information, order processing, product delivery, etc.
I’m all about delivering value the prospect & customer needs; where I think telesalespeople miss the mark is NOT asking what level of responsiveness is needed every single time!
What is needed in 5 minutes today (for a meeting or to satisfy a boss's curiosity) - might be able to wait until tomorrow or another day.
Manage your gorilla – ask… THEN make sure you deliver!

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Lynn Hidy, founder of, is the specialist at creating profitable telesales sales people and organizations. She knows you can make six figures over the phone - she does it! Working with Lynn you will learn to create a phone experience where they will forget you aren't actually having a cup of coffee together.

To find out more about Lynn, read her latest articles, or subscribe to A Chip Off The Block, her free newsletter - call 315-751-0146 or visit

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