by David Berky
I had the opportunity
recently to talk with a person who turned out to be
quite a salesman. But, unfortunately, he was the type
of salesman that give sales people a bad name.
The item I was interested in was a very complex item,
not something that is stocked on store shelves or can
be found anywhere.
I had already talked with several other sales people
about the particulars of the item I wanted and most
of the sales people were unable to help me due to the
complexity and specific configuration of this item.
After having researched this item with several other
sales people, I began to notice a trend. Grossly simplifying,
I would divide the types of sales people I encountered
into two types.
The first type of sales people are those who could do
anything, find anything and meet my every need regardless
of the complexity of the item and the specific configuration
I needed. Anything was possible and instantly available.
"Yes, we can do that!" was their favorite saying, with
"no problem" coming in a close second.
The second type of sales people were those who would
give me the extent of their knowledge and then offer
to research anything they were unsure of or did not
know. As I got into more detail about the item and configuration
I wanted, I got more "I don't know" and "I'll have to
check and get back to you" responses.
Now, which type of sales person do you think wasted
my time and which provided me a real service?
It's not hard to guess. From the first type of sales
person I got any answer I seemed to want. Anything was
possible and doable in the time frame I needed. The
sales person knew everything there was to know about
their product and had a ready answer for my every question.
And, as you may suppose, this type of sales person ended
up giving me a lot of misleading information, incorrect
information and even a few outright lies. They mostly
wasted my time because they almost always over-promised
So, did I purchase anything from this type of sales
person? Of course not. Not only were they unable to
help me find exactly what I wanted, but they wasted
hours of my time in the process.
I never want to purchase anything from this type of
sales person. After a few experiences with them it was
clear that their only concern was to sell something.
They didn't care if it was the right item for me. The
sale was the most important thing to them and they would
say and do anything to get that sale regardless of what
was best for me, the customer.
Now, the second type of sales person is what I would
call a sales & service person. As I would interact
with them, it became more and more obvious that their
primary goal was to make sure I found either exactly
what I was looking for or the item that was most ideal
for my needs.
They would try to understand my situation and my needs
so they could find exactly the right product. They weren't
trying to sell me something that was close enough. They
wanted me to have exactly what I needed (even if I didn't
know exactly what I needed at first).
This type of sales person spends their own time researching
my questions so that they can provide accurate answers.
This sales person will tell me when they can't help
me and will try their best to refer me to someone who
The key difference between these two types of sales
people lies in their interest - self-interest or customer-interest.
The second type is the most effective in the long run
and often in the short run too.
When a sales person goes out of their way and spends
time researching a product for you, you start to feel
inclined to purchase from them. You feel comfortable,
confident and then even obligated to purchase the item
from the sales person who helped you the most.
Price will always be an important factor in your purchase
decisions. But aren't you more likely to purchase from
the sales-person who has "gone to bat" for you, rather
than the one who promised the moon and only delivered
Even when they both deliver the same item, the obligation
you feel towards the person who went out of their way
to help you will win the sale almost every time.
Also, who do you think I am going to turn to for my
next purchase? I won't even consider the self-centered
sales person, I will go right to the person who helped
me and satisfied my needs, not his need to fill a quota
(or his own pockets).
So if you are going to try to sell me something, sell
me on your service first.
© Simple Joe, Inc.
David Berky is president of Simple
Joe, Inc. a marketing company that sells simple software
under the brand name of Simple Joe. One of Simple Joe's
best selling products is Simple
Joe's Money Tools - a collection of 14 personal finance
and investment calculators. This article may be
freely distributed so long as the copyright, author's
information and an active link (where possible) are