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The Secret of Sales

I Didn’t want to be a Salesperson

I’ve been in sales most of my life. I never really wanted to be there, it just sort of happened when I got out of college and my Dad found me a temporary job at the real estate agency where he worked. When I worked there I was a relatively new salesperson, and after a terrible start (a topic for another blog), I had found my way a little. I had learned about closing questions and “asking for the order”, and “qualifying” buyers, and I thought I was starting to do pretty good. I was writing agreements of sale, and my buyers were making offers.

I Didn’t See It Coming

One day , after a pretty good morning, I went to meet my Dad at a local “Fine Dining” restaurant so he could buy me lunch. I came in, found the table where he was sitting and sat down. The waiter took our order, and I told my Dad, fairly bursting with pride, that I thought I finally had it down -things were going well and I was finally a real salesperson. He looked at me for a minute and then, smiling,  handed me the salt shaker saying, “Ok, if you’re a real salesperson, sell me the shaker.”

I was a little surprised and flustered. I always though (and still do) that my Dad was one of the best salespeople I had ever seen, and the idea of performing in front of him made me a little nervous. I said,”Dad, I’m a real estate guy, not that kind of salesperson. How am I going to sell you that thing?”

He smiled even a little broader and said to me ” Sir, let me show you the what a terrific package this shaker makes for the salt to be served on your restaurant’s tables. Please notice the clarity of the glass and the clear edges of each of the eight sides. The shaker is a single piece of glass, that looks attractive, but has a thick durable base to withstand the possibly careless handling of the shaker by your customers. And finally, please notice the star like shape of the holes at the top designed to allow the even flow of salt to the food, making the user’s experience manageable and pleasant. How many would you like to include in your order?” As he paused, he put the shaker down, as I gaped at him. ” And that is how you sell anything, by demonstrating features, detailing benefits, and finally, making the value exceed the price”

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A Simple Lesson

A light went on in my little head as I absorbed my sales lesson. People search for features but they buy benefits, so our job is to demonstrate those benefits. And people will pay One dollar for 95 cents worth of anything all day long. With those two lessons, I generated my families income for a long, long time, and earned the money to eventually open my own firm . So do you do those things? Do you makesure that the benefits of your product are what the buyer needs? Do you demonstrate how the features generate those benefits? And finally, do you make the value exceed the cost? If you haven’t thought about the job in those terms, give it a try – you might find that these simple lessons can work for you as well.

Written By

Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.



  1. Ryan Hukill

    October 29, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Great lesson and/or refresher for anyone in any arena of sales Bill. I enjoyed it!

  2. Mana Tulberg

    October 29, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Bill, Amazing story to share. I have to give your father’s approach to sale a try in a way that I am still “Me”.

  3. Kim Wood

    October 29, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Every time I read your posts, I hear you talking to me – I love that!

    It took me a long time to accept the fact I was a Salesperson actually. I think that’s kind of sad now, cause I’m proud of what I do! Although not sure I’d still define it as “SELLING” houses. Maybe selling Kim Wood though 🙂

  4. Bill Lublin

    October 29, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    @Ryan Thanks for the kind Words and Happy Birthday yet again! 😉

    @Mana – Being yourself is absolutely key, though you have to keep the cutomer in mind – I might suggest you read Kim Wood’s latest post about that

    @Kim – Its always about selling Kim Wood – Even for me 😉

  5. monika

    October 29, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Jay’s dad did the same thing to him only it was with a pen.
    The lessons learned are priceless as you well know. Converting features to benefits is crucial in real estate.
    Excellent post!

  6. Steve Simon

    October 30, 2008 at 5:24 am

    The poor car salesperson sells features, not benefits. That was one of the easiest examples I could give my students when covering “Salemanship”:
    “This car has power door locks!
    “The power door locks provide additional security when exiting or entering the vehicle in a dark parking lot”

    “It has power door locks”
    “The children cannot open thelocks, unless you let them”

    “Power door locks on this Baby!”
    “Unlocking the car when both hands are full, couldn’t be easier!”
    Good post, a topic that should be more robustly covered in RE Courses…

  7. Julie Anne Barrington IL Realtor

    October 30, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Great post! Putting ourself in their shoes and seeing what the benefit would be. Just thinking positive from their eyes will help us to see what it is that will sell them the product.
    There is always room for growth. There is always more to learn.

    Julie Anne

  8. Andrew

    November 1, 2008 at 4:27 am

    I’m new to AG. Really enjoying it so far…

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