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How to Sell Anything

How to Sell… anything!

Originally written for an office products company, this sales formula works in every industry.

So I was driving to an appointment to sell some office furniture the other day and a cop pulls me over and says, “Have you been drinking because your eyes look a little red.”

Undaunted, I immediately shot back, “Have you been eating donuts because your eyes look a little glazed.” We can learn two things from this. 1. Never shoot back at a police officer even verbally. 2. Some police officers have very little sense of humor.

Before my wife disgruntledly bailed me out 6 hours later I had a good chance to think about the office products business. And here is what I thought. Business is good. But enough regressing. How about all those actors on the cover of People Magazine. They deserve it. Yea, right – they majored in drama in college. Now I’m kinda sorry I double majored in applied calculus and statistics – they never told me they have no practical application. And that I’d never be in the tabloids. Oh well, college still was the best 9 years of my life. Or was that high school?

Truth is, one of my wives gets People Magazine, I usually don’t recognize anyone on the covers, let alone on the inside in some of the “in depth” articles. Obviously the writers in People magazine majored in drama, too.

Amazing: 4 million copies a month dedicated to just what I wanted to know: whose brand of dress someone is wearing, and what someone on the set of ER eats for breakfast. Outside of Robert DeNiro, I don’t like being around anyone who absolutely knows they’re God. I’m already in enough trouble with the police.

Yeah, so where was I? Oh, yea… selling office products. I was selling office products while I was playing golf. Yes, I shoot in the mid 80’s. If it gets any colder than that, I don’t go out. And my drives are always in the 200 to 300 yard range. That’s 150 out, and 100 to 150 yards to either the right or the left. No telling which before the shot, the shorter side of the fairway being the better guess.

But I sell a lot of office products on the course. Well, I don’t really sell office products at all. I’m glad if I know which end of the fax machine to put the paper in. And thank god – of your choosing, we don’t have thermal fax machines anymore. I mean, is it paper towels, TP, fax paper – I get so confused. More than once I’ve left the bathroom in pain. Luckily, it seems I don’t have to know anything about office products to get firms to buy from me.

You see, in sales – and this is true for any industry – people buy through relationships. And I have relationships with most of the women that buy from me. Wait a minute – that didn’t come out right. Especially if my wives find out.

But it’s true. Clients know they can count on me when they have a question, problem, or need something. They have my cell phone number and I always answer it. Product questions? I may not know the answer but that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t find out for them in a hurry. My efficient staff makes it easy for me to be the slacker I appear to be. Our product specialists send detailed information to people that need product specs. And pricing is a blend of my feedback along with industry norms and competitors’ bids. And I’m there before, during and after the sale.

For whatever reason, people trust me. They know while I can be pretty funny, I’m always honest, 100% trustworthy and eager to please. It’s fun being funny and having relationships and having everyone around you always smiling and laughing – isn’t that the way you’d like to do business? So would your clients.

And that’s the way you sell a lot of office products. Just be yourself and develop relationships. When clients like you and trust you, they’ll buy from you.

Here’s the bottom line. Don’t get caught speeding and give lip to the cop: it costs $450 and the guys in the drunk tank all look like they’ve been on one too many episodes of cops. Yeesh… you’d think if someone had only one tooth they’d take better care of it.

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeff Dobkin is a funny speaker about sales, motivation, marketing and direct marketing. He writes sales letters as well as technical business papers for clients, and also direct mail, direct selling long-copy ads, brochures and collateral, annual reports, TV scripts and stuff like dat dere. He has written 5 books on marketing and 2 humor. 610-642-1000 rings on his desk. Email Jeffrey Here! Or write to: Jeff at Dobkin dot com.