Selling; the little things

IT technical people don't like to be told this, but we all sell. Selling is getting people to accept or adopt something you want them to. Every human sells to their spouse, their kids, their neighbours. Practitioners sell to their boss, their peers, their team, their ITSM "customers". We consultants sell (and better sell hard in the current economy). And of course the vendors sell but you don't need me to tell you that.

After a couple of decades in the vendor industry, observing sales people like specimens, I have an abiding interest in sales. This is demonstrated by my Make The Most sales methodology. My poverty and the lack of uptake of MTM demonstrate that those who can't do, teach.

Anyway this is by way of extended introduction to a little story I thought I'd share with you. I told it to my son today.

The national boss of a vendor arrived in Canberra. Steven the salesman picked him up from the airport in a crappy old Toyota. The boss told Steven he would pay the deposit if Steven bought a Porsche. Steven took him up on it.

Now why did the boss do that? Because he knew hungry salesmen are good salesmen. And with the monthly payments on a Porsche, Steven was going to be hungry.

(Because the boss was a great salesman, he read Steven precisely: young, aspirational, good looking, single, no house... he knew what to offer. And he knew Steven was worth it, that he would repay the seemingly generous offer. And he did.).

But that's not the moral of the story.

Because the next time the boss arrived at the airport, Steven is taking him to see some government department and he arrives in the same crappy old Toyota. The boss asks where is the Porsche and Steven explains it is parked at home.

Aussies don't like rich show-offs ... much - they like them more than Kiwis do. Either way, we antipodeans don't worship material success like most of the Northern hemisphere does. Canberra is a government town. It is also a hot sprawling town, with outdoor carparks. Right outside the buildings. If Steven pulled up to see underpaid civil servants in a Porsche he'd never sell anything again.

Boss 1, Steven 1.

And a great illustration of how a detail like car ownership can be pivotal to salesman performance, in several ways.

(I told the story to my son because I had just asked my wife if a shirt I put on looked too expensive - I was going on a sales call)

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