When I was 18, I fell in love for the first time. No, not with a guy but with a used red 1984 Honda CRX. Remember those? I saw it parked out front of a local VW dealership. It was truly love at first sight, but like many first loves, there was a problem. It cost more than I had, which meant I needed a parent to co-sign. I needed my dad’s permission to buy a sports car— and that was not going to happen.
I explained my plight to a 60-ish old school car salesman, and he said, “Just bring him in, and I’ll take care of it.” I had to con my dad to even come look at the Honda “Civic,” and it was a nearly instant “no” until the salesman arrived. “Sir, I can see she really likes this car, but what do you think?”
“I think no.” The salesman is undaunted and said, “I agree with you, and I was going to try and talk her out of it.”
I thought, “WHAT is he doing?! That traitor. I thought he had my back.”
Then, he proceeded, “You see, that particular year Honda made 2 engines. This car has the smaller one, which means she will have a tough time getting it over 70 downhill with a tailwind(Sadly, this was true). She said she likes to camp, but with this car, she will only ever get to bring one friend. Her boyfriend will hate it because as you can see… (he winked to me—nudge to dad) no back seat.” I left the dealership an hour later with keys in hand.
Now it could be argued that he manipulated my dad, but he hadn’t said anything that wasn’t completely true. He simply helped my father see that this car solved some problems for me and my dad that my dad didn’t realize needed solving. The experience taught me to have a bit of respect for the sales profession for the first time.
Selling is about helping people solve problems. Some problems are big, like the need for a reliable car that won’t get your teen killed. Some are small, like the need for a comfortable chair or a place to have a healthy quiet meal that’s not too crowded. All of these problems are important to someone.
Business owners who are not naturally salespeople have a tough time understanding this. They don’t realize how important the problem they help solve can be to the person who has it. As a result, they don’t put themselves out there enough, don’t charge enough, feel bad asking for payment, and in general, don’t promote what they do well enough. If you are not putting yourself out there, you are holding out on those who really need your special brand of service.
Some problems save money, some make money for others, and some just make a person feel good about themselves for a little while (like getting your nails done). That is worth a whole lot in a world programmed to make you feel bad.
Even if you are not in sales, you, as a person, have something special to share—something unique that this world needs that only you can provide. Are you well compensated by asking for what you need? Do you feel guilty asking for money or even recognition for what you do everyday that makes life better for those around you? If you are, you need to start by recognizing yourself. Take note of how valuable what you do is, how much it makes the world better, and how many problems you solve just by being you, even if it’s just being a great companion to your life partner or dealing with the cats so your spouse doesn’t have to.
*Make a list of all the problems you solve and look at it from an outsider’s perspective. Do you ask for enough compensation? Are there more ways you can connect with the people who most need what you have to offer? Work on trying to really get into the FEELing space of realizing how much of what you do helps others.
As a side note, I had that car for over 10 years and 170K miles with no breakdowns until the end. You better believe that salesman’s efforts solved some pretty big problems in my life.
Jill Thomas CHT
Soul Connect Hypnotherapy
Author of the book “Feed Your Real Hunger” & “30 day weight loss Jumpstart” Hypnosis CD