Quit worrying about your problems and start worrying about your customers’ problems.
I am a 24 year old know-it-all salesperson.
On this particular Tuesday, I am meeting with Len Mattioli, the owner of American TV and Furniture. We are sitting at a dinette set in the furniture department. The meeting keeps getting interrupted by Len’s employees. When they aren’t interrupting, Len’s loses focus on the meeting to make sure customers were getting waited on and sold properly.
When I get back from the meeting, I go into my sales manager’s office and say, “I hate calling on that asshole Mattioli.”
“We don’t talk about our customers like that in this company, Chris.”
“But he wasted an hour of my time,” I shot back.
“That’s your problem. You’re fired. Go home and think about what Len’s problems are. If you come back tomorrow and you’ve figured that out, I’ll hire you back.”
I go home with a another problem, the potential loss of my job. But instead of worrying about being fired, I start thinking about Len’s problem. The next morning, I am at his store at 10:00 AM when it opened.
“Len, you’ve got a problem,” I say.
“You spend an hour or two with me to get a couple of sixty second spots written. Then, you meet with all the other reps and do the same thing. You’ve got to be spending twelve hours getting copy done. Why don’t you let me handle all of your production? I’ll even meet you after hours when you can focus on advertising alone. That way, you can get a week’s worth of advertising done in an hour. That gives you eleven hours back to work on all the other things you have to get done.”
“How much would you charge me?” he asked.
I thought for a minute and said, “Why don’t you pay me $1000 a month in merchandise.”
“Deal,” he said.
I got my sales job back and picked up a second job where I handled the advertising for one of the biggest accounts in the market.
It all happened when I took the best sales advice anyone has ever given me: Quit worrying about your problems and start worrying about your customers’ problems.