Sales Training

The other day I got a call from a young man in the neighborhood. He was following a very familiar script I had heard kids tell me over the last twenty five years. “I have an opportunity to get a scholarship. Can I come see you tomorrow?” I told him I did not have time. He never got to telling me what the actual product he was selling was, he never even got to actually tell me he was selling anything.

I hung up. I felt badly because I knew he was following the instructions he was given, but they were flawed. I have spent my life selling things. I started selling jaw breakers in third grade. Then I sold Burbee seeds, Girl Scout cookies, Avon, Electrolux vacuums, cable TV, Mail Opening Machines, I taught people how to sell telephone, and on and on. I. Was fairly sure this kid was selling Cutco knives. They are great knives. I have had them for over twenty years. He could sell them if he could get in to tell people about them, but his cold calling needed improvement.

I felt bad enough to call him back. “This is Mrs. Lange, you just called me.”

“Yes, hi, thanks for calling me back.” I think he thought I was going to give him a chance to come see me. I was, but not for the reason he thought.

“I’ve been in sales my whole life and your call to me needed lots of improvement. I would be willing to give you twenty minutes to help you improve your cold calling technique.”

Now, if some middle aged lady told me I did a bad job on a phone call I’m not sure I would want to go talk with her. This kid did not take the easy way out and said, “I would appreciate that.”

So this morning he came to my house. I spent an hour giving him the most condensed sales training I could. I had written down exactly how his call went with me so I could be very specific with hi. He took notes, he showed me his materials and asked questions about how he normally does his presentation. We talked about all the ways he could change to be more successful.

He has had success at selling when he was able to sit down with someone, but getting more prospects to give you may time is the key to really being successful. He asked to see my Cutco, I think to make sure there was something I didn’t have that he might sell me. He discovered I really did have everything already. In the end I did buy my favorite product from him to give as a Christmas gift to someone.

Selling is a great skill, especially for a young person to do. Helping people become better sales people is the one thing I really miss about not working. I wish him luck and if you have bad knives, let me know and I’ll have him call you. Hint, you probably have bad knives.

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