Columbo was a “Who Done It” mystery show on television back in the late '70's, ‘80s and ‘90s (and in reruns for years) with the great Peter Falk – a movie actor - starring as Lieutenant Frank Columbo. He won 5 Emmy awards and 10 Golden Globe nominations for his portrayal of the sloppy looking detective who always solves the crime. His character wore a wrinkled beige signature raincoat and to many suspects, he seemed to not be very smart and always bumbling around.
If you had the chance to watch Columbo at any point over the past 35 years, you’d see the parallel to being a seller who asks interesting and powerful questions.
Columbo often came back into a room after talking with a potential suspect to ask "Just one more thing......” - and the answers he got to these last questions usually solved his case or sent him in a different direction.
He was always polite and he was very smart, although quite self-deprecating and appeared to have little style with the raincoat always being worn – even on a cruise. He never got angry or loud - although you could tell that there were people who really frustrated him.
You can see Columbo episodes now on TV.com here. In fact, you can see just the endings to 7 of the episodes here - great for anyone who wants a dose of Columbo. Believe me, if you have never watched before and just click on to one show, the first minutes might seem so old, and dumb - but watch on. See a couple of episodes to really tell what I am talking about. Am I wrong, or is this guy one of the best puzzle solvers ever? Isn't solving puzzles what selling is all about?
If you watch a few episodes of Columbo you’ll see some lessons for sellers:
- Good sellers ask great questions
- Good sellers listen a lot more than they speak
- Good sellers are great observers
- Good sellers are hard workers
- Good sellers focus on others, not themselves
- Good sellers are humble and talk up others
- Good sellers don’t show off their knowledge
- Good sellers gain insight from more than just one person
- Good sellers solve prospecting puzzles
What other movies, video, or TV episodes are good for sales professionals to see? What helped you learn about the finer points of communication?
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the "Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.