No Bull Selling

by Hank Trisler

No Bull Selling offers practical sales advice with a sense of humor. Hank Trisler writes, “I’ve been going to sales seminars all my adult life. That’s how I got so misinformed.”


“People buy for their reasons, not ours, so we have to diagnose before we can prescribe… Feedback lets us be a heat-seeking missile. Wherever the target goes, we can follow.”

“Selling is communicating. In the process of effective communication, it is far more important to understand than to be understood.” Trisler says that one of the biggest mistakes a salesperson can make is “talking about things that don’t interest the customer.”

“I’m going to propose to you the 80-20 rule of selling… the customer talks 80 percent of the time and we talk 20 percent. When we talk, we ask questions to cause the customer to talk more… In selling, the pay is far greater for asking the right questions than for knowing the right answers. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them… One of the finest, and shortest, nondirective probes I have ever heard is ‘Oh?’”


“Objections don’t get in the way of the sales process; they are a part of the sales process… An objection merely means that the customer is sharing with us a problem, as he sees it.” If you argue, you will put the prospect in a defensive position. “The way to deal with objections is to flow with them.” To illustrate, Trisler recalls a visit to a Mercedes dealership. “I’ve been trying to justify the price of a 450SL. They sure cost a lot of money.” The dealer replied, “Yeah, they do cost a lot of money, don’t they?”


“Prospecting, in my opinion, is well over half the game in selling.”

“I believe that the easiest, fastest, most pleasant, and most profitable method of prospecting is getting referrals from our spheres of influence.” Trisler categorized his customers as A, B, or C.  “An A will send you business, if he remembers you. So never forget an A, and never let an A forget you.”

The book includes a Sales Activity Calculator worksheet. This not only determines how many contacts are needed per day in order to meet the sales objective, it puts a dollar value on those contacts. Start with your average earnings per sale. Divide by the average number of presentations per sale. Then divide by the average number of contacts needed to make a presentation. “‘You mean I make $9 every time I hand out a card, whether or not they buy?’ You got it. Could this realization make prospecting more fun? Every time we contact another warm body, we make money. The amount of money depends on our personal averages… Manage activity, not results.”

“I’m going to suggest you sit down before every sales call and make a list of objectives, in descending order of importance.” For example: Make a sale; Make another appointment; Get more information about the customer and his problem; Get referrals; Leave an atmosphere conducive to future dialogue. “Now, honestly… can’t we get at least one of them? This means that we’ll never again ‘lose’ on a sale; just some days we’ll win bigger than others…. It shields our fragile egos from the reality of failure.”

Nonverbal Communication

Trisler cites research by Dr. Albert Mehrabian who found that people form opinions based on the following factors:

  • 7% verbal (the words we use)
  • 38% vocal (how we sound when we say what we say)
  • 55% nonverbal (how we look when we say what we say)

“Fifty-five percent of your impact on people is visual… A fine rule is to dress like the people your customers go to for advice… This may make word selection seem unimportant. But let’s look at selling today. The competition is tough, so I don’t want to be at even a 7 percent disadvantage.”

Hank Trisler died in July of 2012 at the age of 75. The third edition of No Bull Selling is available on Amazon.

Trisler, Hank. No Bull Selling. 3rd ed. Thomson, Georgia: Sales Gravy Press, 2009. Buy from