“Selling is easy,” Dad would say.

“Just be yourself and believe what you’re saying.”

I was “home-schooled” for my earliest sales training. Adding a showroom on to our home was the biggest investment Dad made when he started his own business. I would watch and learn as my Dad met customers in his tiny new showroom as a little boy.

I learned many lessons from Dad in his little showroom attached to our house. I learned those lessons mostly by osmosis. Just like Dad didn’t teach me to drive – my godfather taught me – he didn’t teach me how to sell, either.

In fact, Dad didn’t believe selling could be taught. He believed anyone could sell. “Selling is simple”, he would say, “be yourself and believe what you’re saying.”

More often than not, clients came to Dad’s showroom through the recommendation of others. When they met Dad, I could see they liked him and his personal approach to solving their problem. Most of all, they liked the solution he proposed. I saw Dad ask questions and listen to homeowners. Sometimes, it seemed Dad was a psychiatrist, not a salesman.

Customers told Dad everything, especially their complaints. The conversation would go from horrible weather to unreasonable bosses, then from unbearable physical ailments to torturous family problems and from noisy neighbors to lousy sports teams. Of course, they would also tell him about the leaky windows, broken screen door or outside walls that needed paint. He would listen before he talked.

He could commiserate and sympathize with all of their problems, but he could actually solve the problem they were having with their home.

“You mean I won’t ever have to worry about painting wooden storm windows or climbing a ladder to put them up and take them down?” the customer would ask.

“Nope, never again, not after I put in your new triple-track, self-storing, combination glass and screen aluminum storm windows. Here, let me show you how it works,” Dad would tell them as he displayed his sample window. The next thing I knew, the customer was sold on these new-fangled storm windows. Price never dominated the conversation or even played much more than an aside. The conversation always ended up being more about Dad being able to make this one particular ailment go away – forever.

It didn’t even seem the sale was ever in question. The only price negotiating seemed to be how much more it would cost them for Dad to do more, like haul away the old wire screen frames that were stacked in the rafters of the garage, waiting to have the green brushed off of the copper wire and a fresh coat of paint applied to the wood.

“Could you please take all the old stuff away”, they would practically beg. The question of price was lost as the solution to their problem was found.

Since every sale is a transfer of trust, Dad’s potential clients must have ultimately made the decision to trust Dad. His sales were sealed with a handshake.

Be yourself and believe what you’re saying … Maybe Dad was right and the foundation for good selling is really just that simple.

Check back next Tuesday for my next blog “Are You Smart Enough to Lie?”

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