Here’s a little story about a brush salesman called Martin. It includes quite a bit of the soft selling philosophy in it and is applicable to cold calling, professional services as well as selling brushes door to door!!…….
Once upon a time there was a door-to-door salesman called Martin. Martin was the best door-to-door brush salesman in the land. Whilst his colleagues starved, Martin achieved massive success and rewards. His colleagues could not understand it because Martin did not seem like a typical sales person at all. He was not pushy or use all the closing techniques they were all taught on the courses. In fact Martin was just an ordinary nice bloke.
Things had not always been that way for Martin. His colleagues forgot that once Martin was the least successful brush salesman in the company and had nearly been fired on more than one occasion. His company produced a revolutionary multi-purpose brush of excellent quality that was very flexible, and very cost effective. He found that when he was trying to sell his multi-purpose brush to people they could not think of why they would need one.
The price also seemed very expensive for a brush. Martin was failing miserably, just like his colleagues. He didn’t even like selling and hated pushy salesman that tried to get him to buy things he didn’t need. He was often rude to such salesman and say anything just to get rid of them. And now it was happening to him. People were treating him just like he treated typical sales people.
One particularly miserable morning Martin was sitting in a café peering into his cup of coffee and thinking that he was not cut out for a career in selling. He was not earning much money and hated having doors slammed in his face. “I can’t understand it” he said quietly to himself “these are great brushes and people need brushes yet no one wants to buy one” Martin was at his lowest ebb and ready to throw in the towel when suddenly he had a great flash of inspiration. “Perhaps the problem is that people do not like pushy salesman. Perhaps I am focusing too much on the brushes and not enough on the people I am selling to. If I could find out why they might need a brush then they may consider buying one of mine. Hmmmmm..”
The more Martin thought about it the more it made sense to him. He decided to give his job one last go but this time he would forget that he was a salesman and just talk to people like fellow human beings. And what a difference it made!!! Instantly Martin felt more comfortable in himself. You see he knew that people needed his brushes but he just had to find out why each person would want one of his brushes. Only then would they be ready to hear about his wonderful brushes. Immediately people Martin called on started to treat him differently. Even people living in houses with stickers on the door warning off door-to-door salesmen would love for Martin to call and brighten up their day.
Martin started to take a keen interest in people’s household problems and many times he found that his multi-purpose brush was just what they needed. The people he called on would then become very interested in the brush and the fact that they could use it for other things if they should arise. Many people did not have any relevant household problems and yet as Martin was such a nice person they nearly always agreed that he could call again the next time he was in the area.
Martin never wasted time talking about the brushes until he knew that the person needed one. He realised that the brush was just one way of solving a household problem and that talking about brushes to people who did not need or want one would be a total waste of everyone’s time and people are so busy these days.
Whatever happened on each individual door, Martin was always happy because he knew that household problems arise for everyone from time to time and that as long as it was OK for him to call again, it was just a matter of time before they would need one of his brushes. In fact, Martin found that with most people it took more than one call before they bought a brush. Indeed, Martin knew that the more times he called the more likely it would be that a problem would arise where his brush would be needed. This excited him as he realised that the only failure for him now was if someone told him not to call again and as he was such a nice man this rarely happened.
Martin even began calling again on people that had already bought a brush just to say hello and check they were happy with the brush. Many of these customers were delighted that Martin had taken so much interest in them that they would often buy extra brushes for their family and friends. Martin was soon selling even more brushes to existing customers than to new ones.
After just a few months Martin had gone from hating selling to loving it. “I am not a salesman after all, just a nice bloke that helps people solve their problems”. Even though Martin did not have seen himself as a typical sales person he found a lot of the sales training he had received as useful but that the most important thing was the way he interacted with the people he called on.
Martin soon began winning the company ‘Sales person of the month’ award every month and eventually broke all company records. When Martin’s colleagues asked him for the secret of his success he would tell them and yet few listened. They just wanted to hear about the techniques he used to get people to like him, the techniques to get referrals, the techniques to close the sale. Martin would just smile to himself and remember the time back in the café staring into his coffee and he decided to stop selling and start relating.