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The Cure for “Salesheimer’s Disease”

Have you ever been ‘frozen’ in a ticket sales conversation?

We all get that sinking feeling every once in a while.  You’ve either lost your place in the conversation, got distracted, or reached a verbal dead end.  It’s been called “Salesheimer’s Disease”; your brain goes numb, and it feels like there’s nothing left to say that would make any sense.

What do you say when you don’t know what to say?

Fortunately, there are a few phrases you can get to know and memorize that can get you out of sticky situations like these, and save the call in the process.  Have these responses handy next to your phone, just in case you may need them:

  • “Tell me more about (the last thing you were just talking about).”

Ask your prospect to GO BACK to a previous, recent place in the conversation. It could be their kids, their past experience at the arena, the new draft pick you just got, their group, or anything else that was just previously being discussed.  Whatever it was, ask them to elaborate; they’ll talk for several seconds, which will allow you to regain your composure.

  • “How did you get started in (the work you do)?”

Same principle here; this question shifts the mental focus of the conversation onto the prospect, allowing you the precious time you need.  Remember to keep listening during this “rebooting” time; they may be telling you something that’s critical to discovering which of your team’s programs would be perfect for them!

  • “I’m so sorry… I was distracted here in my office.  What was that you were saying again?”

Most people understand office distractions.  It’s happened to them, and it’s really OK to come out and tell your prospect what may be happening behind the phone call.  Some prospects actually enjoy that kind of up-front admittance, and as a result will become more forthcoming with the information you need to sell them.  (Go figure!)

  • “What’s the biggest challenge that’s on your desk right now?”

This may seem like an odd question to ask.  It’s not one that people hear often.  But it’s one that gets a B-to-B prospect thinking in a way they hadn’t been thinking before.

Most decision-makers have at least one or two critical challenges literally in a file on their desk at that moment; an employee HR issue, a proposal that needs to get out, a brochure from the competition that just came in the mail with an offer that needs to be addressed.  If our product is going to solve a problem for our prospects, we need to find a problem to solve, or else there’s no sale.

If you get a legitimate answer to this question, be prepared with solid suggestions as to how a solution including your team can help.  (If you’re stuck for what solutions your team offers, this subject is covered in detail in my Sales Dominance training program for sports ticket sales reps.)

Salesheimer’s Disease isn’t fatal.  It’s happened to everyone in the business, and it becomes less and less prevalent with experience and knowledge.  The good news is that there’s a cure; the antidote for all professional sales reps, no matter what the industry, is to be fully prepared.


Bill Guertin has spent over 25 years in becoming one of the most dominant sales professionals. He serves on the board of advisors for the newly launched Sports Executives Association (SEA). Learn more about Bill and check out his ultimate sports ticket sales mind set when you join the SEA today.

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2 Responses to The Cure for “Salesheimer’s Disease”

  1. eddie007 August 28, 2018 at 8:08 am #

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  2. Henry Larry April 22, 2024 at 11:54 pm #

    This article is a gem. I appreciate the practical strategies provided for overcoming Salesheimer Disease. It is all about being prepared and attentive.
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