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”
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.