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  January 25, 2013
Death of a Salesman?

 


Quick... what do teachers, doctors, restaurant servers, and young girls all have in common?...

... before you answer... consider the following exchanges I’ve recently had with all of the above...

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Teacher: Mr. Kalb, I really think that your daughter is tremendously gifted and has a real shot at a top-tier college.

Me: Really?... you mean like an Ivy League type of school?

Teacher: Perhaps... although she’ll need to work on her SAT scores to get any real consideration from those universities... I can recommend a prep course that meets every Saturday morning for 4 hours that guarantees to improve her scores by at least 300 points... it’s a little pricey but the results are well worth it...

Me: Well I want to do whatever I can to help her get to the college of her choice... so let’s sign her up.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Doctor: I have reviewed the tests from your physical exam... everything looks really good except your LCL cholesterol level... it’s slightly above average... it’s nothing to worry about... but I’d like you to consider start taking a low dose of Lipitor just to get it down a bit.

Me: High cholesterol?... me?... I ride my bike 150 miles a week... do you think it could have been that BLT I had for dinner last night?...

Doctor: Just because you’re in shape doesn’t mean you can’t have high cholesterol... it’s genetic as well as life-style and diet related... it could have been that BLT you ate last night... but let’s start you on the medication just to be sure...

Me: Well you’re the doctor... so I trust you.

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My Friend (at dinner): Um... I’m thinking about having the sea bass special... is it any good?... I don’t want it to be too fishy...

Server: Oh... the sea bass is my favorite dish on the menu... it goes especially well with the Iron Horse chardonnay...

My Friend: Perfect... I’ll order the sea bass and a bottle of the chardonnay...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Adorable little girl at my door: Hi... my name is Ashley and I’m selling cookies to support my girl scout troop... would you like to buy some cookies so we can go to the Girl Scout jamboree and meet other girls from around the world?...

Me: I’d really like to help you out... but my doctor told me that I can’t eat cookies any more... because I have high cholesterol.

Little girl: That’s okay... you can buy some cookies and donate them to our military troops overseas... it’s called "Operation Thin Mints"... this way they can eat your cookies...

Me: Okay... that sounds good... I’ll donate 5 boxes.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When I first mentioned teachers, doctors, restaurant servers, and little girls... I’m sure you were thinking... oh yeah... you mean ruthless "salespeople"...

Say the word "salesman" and it conjures up mental images of Willy Loman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Avon ladies, Amway, and Fuller Brush men... men dressed in plaid jackets and brown slacks... driving big cars... with a case of samples and a book of prospects and customers...

These are the sleazy, say anything; do nothing types... with one foot in your door and one hand in your pocket... these are people trying to hustle you to buy something you don’t want... don’t need... and is way too overpriced for the value delivered...

Traditional salesmen typically rank up with politicians and lawyers as the most despised professions.

But the world has changed... and so has selling...

In the most recent census, 1 out of every 9 people (11%), considered themselves to be in "sales". These are people who are paid to sell products and/or services... professional sales people...

Now consider for a moment what the term "sales" really is...

Selling, in the broadest sense, is influencing, motivating and/or moving others to do something that they would not ordinarily do... it is providing information... it is offering up options... it is helping others make a choice... it is the art of persuasion.

Think about your work for a moment... do you attempt to motivate others to do an act (like a teacher motivating her students to do their homework)?... do you provide information so people can make informed choices (like an auto mechanic pointing out the excessive tire wear due to a bad alignment)?... do you try to influence how others act (like a computer programmer trying to develop a new useful phone app).

How about a healthcare professional trying to persuade a patient to modify their lifestyle to live a healthier life?...

Are you in customer service performing pre- or post- sales activities?

Do you provide a set of options to your clients, such as a contractor, an accountant, or a banker?... if so... then you are selling...

Even if your job doesn’t involve working with the external public (or government jobs), your position usually requires a certain degree of selling from time-to-time... selling your new ideas to management... pleading for new funding for your project... selling girl scout cookies to your co-workers to help your daughter earn that prize...

It is almost impossible to think of any position where no selling occurs...

... regardless of what title is printed on our business card... we’re all in sales.

Several years ago... I was having an argument about where to go to dinner with a friend... she is a quiet introverted artist who would seem (at least on the surface) to be the farthest thing from a traditional sales person.

We each presented our ideas and arguments to one another as to which restaurant was better. I was hoping to strike a compromise position where we could find a mutually agreeable restaurant... however all at once in a very quiet but determined voice... she exclaimed that I was a trained professional sales person... and she was NOT going to try and negotiate with a professional... so we were going to her restaurant... period!!

One of the greatest acts of salesmanship I had ever seen... from a most unlikely source...

Thank you for your kind support of OptiFuse, where we are always here to provide our customers with the information they need to make an informed buying decision.

 

Jim Kalb
President
Email -
jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com

Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse


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