Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2003

TRICKY SALES: If you're in sales, you know how difficult the client-vendor mating ritual can become.

A new book offers those in sales some counterintuitive advice don't always consider a ''no sale'' a business failure.

Historically, those in sales were taught to engage a prospective client and then whine, wheedle and cajole incessantly until the sale was closed. But consultant John Thull says that approach is often a dead end when corporate America's budgets and time are tight.

Instead, many would be better advised to diagnose a client's needs and problems and decide whether it would be better to bow out gracefully, leaving the door open for a future relationship.

Moreover, more than a third of all sales are ''bad sales,'' in which the customer is disappointed and the seller is saddled with high costs and diminishing returns, said Thull, author of a new book, ''Mastering The Complex Sale: How To Compete And Win When The Stakes Are High.''

Walking away from a situation that is not profitable for anyone is the right thing to do,'' he said. ''It requires that the salesperson become comfortable with both hearing and saying 'no' and moving on to the next opportunity.''

SUMMER LABORERS: Fewer teens are planning to work this summer, according to an annual survey of more than 1,100 high school age kids. They're not being lazier most say work is just harder to find, given the nation's economy.

Eighty-one percent of the teens plan to work this summer, down from 85 percent in 2002 and 86 percent in 2001, according to the 2003 Junior Achievement Interprise Poll on Summer Jobs.

Nearly half, 42 percent, plan to work in restaurants and retail this summer, while 16 percent were looking to babysit and 10 percent would be in an office. The number of teens planning to work in offices nearly doubled between 2002 and 2003.

As for pay, almost a quarter of teens (24 percent) said they expect to earn more than $7.50 per hour. The survey is conducted by Junior Achievement Inc., based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

U.S. TRAVELS: Are you a road warrior? Do you ''collect'' states?

Most of us haven't yet visited half of the 50 states, with 41 percent of people in a poll saying they have visited fewer than 20. Another 22 percent said they have been to between 21 and 30 states.

Slightly more than a third of us, 36 percent, have been to more than 31 states.

The poll of more than 2,100 people was conducted this spring by Fodor's, the travel publication company.

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