The Reluctant Salesman
Sam Olympic was a rookie car salesman eager to prove himself. He learned as much as he could about the brand, the dealership, the inventory and his customers. He was hungry. Some of the other salespeople poked fun at Sam’s enthusiasm, but that didn’t stop him or slow him down. When the sales manager led his weekly Saturday morning meetings, Sam listened and took notes. This, again, made him a target of ridicule. Undaunted, Sam Olympic forged on, absorbing everything he could to speed up his learning curve. But as he looked around he noticed that some people weren’t playing by the rules. He watched as the sales process they were told to follow was being abused regularly and it was affecting his performance. He had to find a better way.
As the days went by, Sam Olympic felt the initial thrill of his new sales career beginning to wane. Then something happened supercharging his worldview.
Nobody wanted to help the young man walking the lot in torn jeans and messy hair; after all, by the looks of him, could he afford a car? Nobody helped the man in torn jeans that is, except for Sam Olympic. Following introductions, Sam and his customer went on a test drive. When they returned to the dealership the customer asked if they could drive another car. And then another. And another. After four test drives in four different cars, Sam finally said, “I’m sorry. I guess I haven’t understood what you’re looking for. What is it exactly you want?” The customer simply said, “I want all four!”
This is where the real story begins. As it turns out Sam’s customer had just sold his dot com business for $200 million and he was now running a new company with several hundred employees just up the road from the dealership.
Sam Olympic didn’t want to lose his momentum and asked his customer if he’d kindly write him a testimonial letter. A few days later the letter arrived on fancy stationery, signed by the business mogul. But instead of hiding the letter in his book of business or displaying it proudly on his desk, as so many salespeople tend to do, Sam called his customer and asked if he could frame the letter and have it mounted on the lunch room wall… at the business mogul’s company. With several hundred employees at the company, all with transportation needs, guess who became their go-to car guy from that day forward?
It wasn’t easy showing up day after day being ridiculed, but Sam’s focus was on delivering a great experience and leveraging his relationships. He never gave up or gave in despite the nonsense he endured as a rookie. The teasing stopped and a funny thing happened, the seasoned salespeople started asking Sam Olympic for sales tips.
Hey there, I’m Michael, I’m a dad, writer, sales & marketing consultant, recruiter, life-long learner… oh and passionate Growler too. You can learn more about my services by visiting LinkedIn, and crawl into my stories right here on Medium.com.
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