A Simple Act of Selling

My daughter, Emma, needed help moving out of her apartment at UMass Amherst and we needed to rent a U-Haul trailer. Less than a mile from my house is a service station (Google that if you’re under…35) that is along my walking route. As I passed by, I noticed the presence of the kinds of U-Haul trailers we would need, so I stopped by to make an inquiry.

Despite the fact that it was 10:30 in the morning, there was no one in the office. A man walked out one of the service bays and said, “He doesn’t usually get in until 11.” When I asked if he could help, the man explained that the two businesses were separate but then quickly added, “If you ever need your car repaired, I can be of service to you.” Then, he handed me a business card and smiled.

And there it was. A simple act of selling. As a salesman and sales trainer, I appreciated it tremendously. It was a great little add-on to our brief exchange, completely unnecessary to the conversation, but also completely apropos to the moment.

It is said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. His was a 10 on a scale of one to 10. I know nothing of his competence or expertise. I have not checked out his reviews. I don’t even know if he works on the kind of older Volvos that I own. But through the combo platter of politeness and salesmanship, I am quite certain that I will be calling on him in the near future.

At the end of this day, consider how many casual conversations you had and think about how many times you could have handed someone a business card and said, “Who does your printing? Packaging? Labels? Signage?” Whatever. You should be giving away cards the way Andrew Carnagie gave away libraries.

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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  • jkmiller

    Thanks Bill. Your blogs are always worth reading. I can’t even count the number of times an accidental encounter with someone in an elevator, hotel lobby or restaurant check out line resulted in discovering a prospect or sales lead. You’re spot on as usual.

  • Melissa Sienicki

    It’s such a simple technique, there’s no pressure or rush, and the other person walks away with your name in their mind. Seems brilliant to me! Thanks, Bill.

  • Ryan Lesperance

    Being a salesman yourself, I can see your excitement around this man’s simple approach, but would you really bring your car to a place just because he said he fixes cars in an unrelated conversation? I sure wouldn’t. If the man would have went out of his way to get me answers or because he couldn’t offer the help I needed he would offer a complimentary oil change. That is an art. That would make me bring my car there and tell everyone I knew to bring their car there also. That is selling in my opinion.