Five Invaluable Sales Lessons from Mom

Among the three children descendent of their DNA, my parents gave life to two successful salesmen. Mom is now 87 years old and still very sharp. As I look ahead to Mothers’ Day and think back on what she has taught me, it occurs to me that she was my first sales manager, with many of her parental lessons able to translate fully into the sales world.

Here, see what I mean:

1) Adapt—Mom is one of those “make lemonade out of lemons,” go-with-the-flow people. Three years ago, I took her to a James Taylor concert out at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. The plan was to picnic on the lawn and sing along with each of his familiar tunes. When it started to rain. mom simply pulled her chair under the nearest tree, never complained, never missed a note, and kept singing.

Sales lesson: Things are not always going to work out as planned. You can let disappointment stop you, or stay focused on the goal and persevere.

2) Improve Your Skills
—It was my mother who first gave me a copy of Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” She wanted me to learn how to listen more and I wanted to meet girls. Both skills were mastered. Wink, wink.

Sales lesson: The number one reason why someone buys from you is your ability to understand the buyer’s needs and then meet them with your solution. So seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

3) Patience, My Son—Farquharsons are known for their short fuses. After I had spouted off one too many times as a teenager, I remember my mom telling me that anger is a waste of energy. Worry, too. I now hear myself passing these lessons along to my girls, though I’m certain with far less eloquence. We spend a lot of time upset and troubled, but then when things work out, we look back and wish we hadn’t gotten so worked up.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Kelly Mallozzi

    1. Please bring your Mom to GraphExpo this year – I wanna meet this chick – she sounds awesome!
    2. Thanks for the plug in #4
    3. With regard to #3 and your patience, I guess I am surprised. If memory serves, when our webinar provider screwed up a major call for us, you broke a chair. Where was your famous Scottish temper control then, huh?
    4. As always, you rock.

  • Ira Blacker

    Great stuff, all true. Listening is crucial and I especially like your point 5, as that is my style. I have fun with the customers, at least those that have a sense of humor. I enjoyed your blog, please check out some of mine:

  • Bill Harris

    So, what you’re sayin’ is I can stock up on the healthy eats for just visitin the folks? hmmm….. Seriously, great blog :)