Monday, June 25, 2007

In A Nutshell

So, here we are in our 201 part series answering questions from The Book of Myself, from a mother to her daughter. And today, we are down to

64. I hated this particular work assignment:
When I was self-employed, I got to do things I loved to do and do them pretty much the way I wanted to. But, I also had to sell my services. And I'm not good at that. When I was growing up, if I asked for something and was told no, that was it. Ask a second time, and I lost something I already had. I didn't do that very often, as you can well imagine. So, I don't do well at sales, because I get moderately sick to my stomach is I have to ask again. I couldn't sell Bedouins shares in an oasis.

There are a couple of things about this that puzzle me. One is that Forrest had the same situation I did, and he is one of the best salesmen you'll ever meet. He once sold an extremely expensive camera that had terrible balance to a customer who had commented on the John Wayne poster behind the counter by telling him that that it was a very good camera, which it was, but that "only a real man, a real John Wayne" could manage it.

And, I make my living selling ideas. I have had few jobs that didn't involve me helping people recognize ways that they were getting in their own way and helping them to develop the skills to overcome them. I've convinced people who thought that young children thought like adults that they not only don't, but can't. I've convinced people to totally change the way they talk to their children and what they expect of them and how they discipline them. I've talked parents into being less strict and more strict, into granting more freedom and cutting the chaos and getting some structure in there, for Pete's sake! I am very skilled at looking at what is happening now, comparing it to what is needed, and tailoring a plan to help this parent get from here to there with maximum success and minimum resistance.

When I was in college and working waiting tables, I always got good tips and part of it was for being good at selling. I remember the woman who really wanted a piece of cheesecake but thought that she shouldn't. When she asked me how many calories in it, I answered, "Oh, our cheesecake is calorie free. We only charge for the cheesecake; we add the calories free." And, she laughed and had a slice.

When I was a Junior Achievement adviser, I gave the kids sales skills lessons, and our group made record breaking sales. How to recognize which people were willing to be talked to, how to talk to them, how to find out what features they needed, how to answer objections, how to close the deal. I can teach it. I just can't do it.

Hell, when I was trying to sell my own services, there were times when I knew that the prospective client would be more trouble than the money was worth or was totally inappropriate for the services I was offering, and the more I tried to talk them out of it, the more they insisted on doing it. So, why can't I sell when I know it's selling? When I'm trying to make money? Where is the disconnect between what I do and what I can't seem to do?

1 comment:

Gurukarm said...

I totally am in your court, MG - I too have the same problem with the idea of "selling" my services or myself (job interviews) but have also had the experiences of selling people on ideas or needs that weren't about me... oh, hey, maybe that's the difference, huh? (duh, light goes on here! I never thought of it that way before.)