One Sunday, my wife and I were working around the house, and the doorbell rang. My wife went and answered it. She returned in a minute and said, with a little emotional tremor in her voice, “There’s two boys at the door, and you need to go talk to them.”
When I got to the front door, there were, in fact, two young boys, 8 and 10 years old, looking up at me expectantly. Their bikes were laid over in the driveway behind them. I didn’t realize that I was about to witness a FANTASTIC sales call. Yep, there they stood with great big smiles on their faces.
I asked them, “How can I help you fellows?”
“How could we help you?” one replied.
Surprised, I asked, “What do you mean?”
They replied, “Our mom’s birthday is coming up, and we want to raise $100 to buy her a birthday present! We’ll do whatever work you need us to do; sweep, rake, move things, pull weeds or wash your car.
I said, “Well, I really don’t have anything for you to do at this time.“
Once again, their answer surprised me: “Sir, we do good work, and your front patio is covered with leaves. We can take care of that for you, so you won’t have to.”
I thought, Wow, that sounds good! So I said, “OK, you can clean my front and back patios, and I’ll pay you $20.00. Go ahead, move everything off the patios, sweep them, and then put it all back.
They said, “OK,” and the sale was made! They immediately got to work.
I was wowed by their sales approach. First off, they knew I had a problem. They could see my front patio was covered with leaves. They had a goal: $100! They were polite, respectful and had positive attitudes: evidenced by their big smiles. They asked the right question: “How can we help you?” They didn’t give up when I said there was nothing for them to do. They pointed out the problem, the need: the leaves on the patio. They told me what was in it for me: “We can do it, so you won’t have to do it.”
After I hired them, and they finished the job, they continued to school the old sales coach. They had done a very good job of cleaning my patios. They knocked when they were finished, and I went to the front door to pay them. They took me out and showed me what they had done before I paid them, and they asked if I was happy with their work. I told them that I was very happy. In fact, I was so happy, I tipped them $5.00 for their excellent work, on top of the $20.00 I had originally agreed to.
The sales lesson wasn’t over, though. Imagine my total surprise when the 8-year-old looked at me and said, “When would you like us to come back? We can come back next weekend, or we can come back in two weeks.”
I laughed and said, “You can come back in two weeks, and I should have more for you to do.” An 8-year-old had just made a follow up sale!
And he wasn’t done yet! He amazed once more when the he asked, “Do you know your neighbors, and which one’s could use our help? Dad-Gum! He asked for referrals!!
By now I was truly blown away by their sales conversation, so I asked them who had coached them. They looked at me like I had two heads and said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “Who told you what to say and how to say it?
At the same time, they both replied, “Nobody.”
The two youngsters were just doing and saying what came natural to them. They did it so well that it was sort of scary. I’ve worked with a bunch of sales veterans over the years, and I’ve rarely seen such a good sales process:
• The right attitude.
• Introductions, bonding and rapport.
• Asked the right questions.
• Told me what was in it for me.
• Asked for the sale.
• Answered my objection.
• Asked for the order again.
• Delivered what they promised.
• Made sure I was satisfied.
• Asked for another sale.
• Asked for referrals.
It just doesn’t get any better than that. And they did all without any coaching. My partner, Hugh, wants me to hire them for Red Cap!
Hmmm, maybe I should be worried. If too many salespeople find out that an 8-year-old can do all that with no coaching, I might be out of business. On the other hand, I guess adults need someone to teach them how to be confident and fearless and enthusiastic, like they probably were when they were eight. So it looks like my career is safe after all!
The rest of the story: They did return to do more work, and did and said all the right things again to continue our salesperson/client relationship!
Jim Hamlin is one of our brilliant Red Cap Sales Coaches, in Lubbock, Texas. He’s a tremendous salesperson, who’s been managing, training and coaching salespeople for the past 30 years. (And yes, I DO want Jim to hire his two young friends. All of us would make one million dollars! Hugh)
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