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Speaking of Sales: Breaking the Rules

Tron Jordheim Comments
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When do you break the rules in your sales efforts? We all have parameters in which to work. We all have policies and procedures. These are intended to keep business practices sensible and rational. But there may be times when it makes more sense to bend the rules and deal with the consequences later.

When you break a rule and the end result is good for your business and customers, then you become the hero. When the outcome is not so victorious, you could get written up and even disciplined. Hopefully, your employer is willing to cut you some slack when you break a rule for a good reason. Unfortunately, the odds are you won’t win every time.

Do you give out the discount, even when you’re told not to, because someone wants to pre-pay a rental for two years? Not much chance of getting in trouble over this one, right? But what about the cases that are less obvious? What about a situation in which you’ll gain customer confidence and not immediate revenue?

I suggest you look for opportunities to break some rules when the payoff makes sense. Of course, you need a good reason and more than just a fleeting hope that the long-term effect will benefit you, the customer and your business. Be careful about when and how you proceed, and evaluate rules as you go. You may discover some are unproductive; consider taking action to change or abandon them.

This practice will help you sell more, too. If customers see you’re a rule-breaker for the right reasons, they’ll want to do business with you. They’ll see that in a situation of choosing between following a policy or pleasing a customer, you’ll try to help the customer. If prospects and customers feel this way about you, you’ll rent more units and keep tenants longer.

In sum, never break rules that will break the bank. Find the ones that guarantee customer satisfaction and cultivate long-term relations. In the end, happy tenants stay longer, spend more and spread the word that serving customers is more that just a rule of thumb. 

Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an offsite sales force that helps storage owners rent to more people through its call center, secret-shopping service, sales-training and Internet-lead-generation services. Mr. Jordheim is also a member of the National Speakers Association. You can read what he is up to at For more information, e-mail

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