This is a photo of a 73-year-old man named Jim.

I ran into Jim at the local Home Depot a couple of weeks ago. I was in there to buy spray paint for my 16-year-old daughter Emily who is not allowed to buy spray paint in Ohio. My Emily is not a graffiti artist; she was making some T-Shirts for the big High School football game coming up. As I walked in the store, Jim approached me. It was very warm outside and he said, “Hello, young fellow, it’s comfortable in here, isn’t it?” To which I said, “Yes, it is.” He then said, “How comfortable is it in your house?” To which I responded, “It’s great.” “So, your air conditioning is working well on this hot day?” “Yes, it is; my house is basically brand new and so’s the A/C.” He said, “Good for you; how’s the air at your family and friend’s house?” I told him I thought it was okay and I told him I thought he was an awesome sales professional. He smiled and said, “I’ve been in sales all my life.” When I asked for more information, he told me he was in computers and retired and couldn’t handle sitting around so he works at Home Depot representing an A/C company.

How many of us cold call? How many of us look for new business like Jim does? What he did was masterful; he tried to start a conversation with a question instead of a common line like, “Do you need A/C work?” Or “Get your A/C here.” He asks a question that makes it very hard to walk by and not answer. Throw in the fact he was neatly dressed and, shall we say, mature and I’ll bet he gets all kinds of leads others would never get. Jim has learned how to make sales. He understands you must “connect” before you convince. Something many salespeople will never understand.

This week, think about what kind of a question you could ask to start a conversation that might lead to some sales. Since I have a broad range of followers, here are some I thought of:

Do you take care of the gardens at your home?

When was the last time you had your landscape professionally cleaned up?

What do you do in your free time?

Does your group hire speakers?

How do you feel about your future?

What would happen to your family if you died next week?

When was the last time you had someone analyze your business to make sure you were doing everything you could do to make more money?

I think you get the point and none of my questions are in any way close to the quality of the question Jim at Home Deport asks. I hope you’re willing to do everything you can do to go out and make some sales this week. If Jim at 73 is doing it, why aren’t you?

Of late I’ve found myself complaining a lot. Yep, I, the motivational speaker and you know that I need to knock that off. I’m going to try and spend that time cold calling prospects and calling on clients. I know there’s some work out there; I just have to work a little bit harder. Thanks for the lesson, Jim!

And by all means, don’t miss my annual leadership and sales conference, GROW! I am teaming up with an incredible speaker and consultant Joe Calloway. He’s a best-selling author and incredible talent. To be honest, you’d be a complete fool to miss what we have put together for you; unless, of course, your wife is expecting a baby like a few have said. If you would attend a seminar of mine instead of being home for the birth of a child, you need way more help that I can ever give you! 🙂

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