Why you gotta man up to sell, and how to put your big boy pants on

One of my old bosses pulled me aside and absolutely ripped into me in the inventory room.

This was while I was working at a retail store of a popular cell phone company. We had a special promotion on tablets. I was supposed to upsell a customer but I didn’t. So I got yelled at by a small Italian woman.

But it was one line she said that made me think differently for the rest of my career.

My old boss yelled, “How did you know what that customer really needed and what they didn’t? They probably really needed that tablet! But you didn’t even offer it, so you won’t know!”

And still, looking back on this moment… Do people really NEED tablets? Kind of a stretch if you ask me.

It’s worth noting this lady was just over 5 feet tall, and I’m about 6’3”.

But still she had every right to put me in my place.

And that was because I pre-qualified customers before I actually qualified them.

Basically I was too afraid to sell when I should’ve. And I’ve tried not to make that mistake since.

I’ll give you an example from the other side of the table.

My oldest dog has allergies, but for a long time we didn’t know what was wrong with him. This was both irritating and ungodly expensive.
For years, my dog would get these weird rashes on his belly. Every couple of years, he would get a high fever out of the blue and we didn’t know why. He also had bouts of just not eating, which we knew wasn’t good.

And we didn’t figure this out for years. We also went to the vet every single month. Even though we had pet insurance to cover the major expenses, we still would leave the vet every month with a hundred dollar bill out-of-pocket and no real solution to our problem.

One of the worst nights of my life was when we drove to Tufts Vet in Boston in the middle of the night because our dog had a fever of “unknown origin.” His fever was on the cusp of being very deadly. I was afraid he wasn’t going to make it.

Even months after that, we were afraid he would have a similar fever out of the blue again.

Until one day, we had an appointment with a vet who just happened to offer an allergy test as an “Oh by the way”. She said it wasn’t cheap, but it might explain some of his symptoms. I believe the allergy test was around $250-$300.

It was worth every penny.

Fast forward to today, our dog hasn’t been to the vet for anything serious in a long time other than just routine check-ups and shots. He’s on special prescription food and medicine because of allergies. His food is a little more expensive than normal dog food, and he takes medication regularly. But they also say an ounce of prevention costs less than a pound of cure.

And we spent thousands of dollars trying to find out what the problem was. If only that doctor had offered that allergy test to us earlier. Even if it was 10 times its price, it would’ve saved us a lot of money and headaches in the long-run.

That vet had the courage to sell us a solution when we had a major problem. Too many people, including myself at some points, view selling as panhandling. But if you do it right, you’re just diagnosing a problem, and prescribing a solution.

And how is that vet? She moved on to another Veterinary hospital. I think she moved closer to where the rest of her family was. Whoever hired her is lucky as hell.

John

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