DO THEY WANT TO KNOW?


If you are a business owner that sells, or an active salesperson, you probably talk to several thousand people a year. If you are a human being with ears, eyes and a brain, you are bombarded with hundreds (or thousands) of incoming messages EVERY DAY…..some of which are ‘feelers’ from business owners or salespeople because you’re on their list today.

Elaine l-o-v-e-s to shop. Everything from flea markets, salvage stores and outlets to malls, Newbury Street or anywhere in Manhattan. She’s looking for new furniture for our family room, so a couple of weeks ago we visited a furniture store. As we walked in, I noticed two ‘vultures’ waiting about 30 feet away. One of them broke away from their conversation and angled over to greet us with, “How are you kids, today?” Elaine responded with, “Just looking.” (I love watching this.) He adeptly asked, “Anything in particular?”. Elaine replied, “Sofas and recliners.” He gestured and said, “All along in here and my name is Rich if you have any questions.” Elaine thanked him and I nodded. (I’m good at my part, too. Huh?) He stayed with us, pointing out features of the next few things that Elaine touched. After a minute or so, Rich asked, “Have you kids been looking long?” I turned and said, “You know, Rich, I might be older than you.” To which he replied, “I doubt that.” (All right. I started it..I have to finish it.) “Rich, us ‘kids’ will call you when we need you or you can send another salesperson over to check on us if you don’t want to deal with me any more.” Rich was pissed. He walked away talking to himself and never spoke to us again. (We did talk with another salesperson, but the store wasn’t a fit.)

Here’s the point.
I could have given Rich my business card.
I could have told him that I could fix his Need for Approval.
I could have told him that I could teach him how not to get Emotionally Involved.
I could have given him a more engaging way to greet prospects walking into his store.
I could have offered a lot.

Do you think he cared? Do you think that he wants anyone to point out that he’s not perfect?

Do you think that he wants to know?

Now, truthfully, I didn’t try to engage Rich as a prospect, but how many of you have ever noticed someone with a problem that you could fix and said something like, “I can show you how to do that better.” and they replied with something like, “No, thanks.”

Click here.


Can you think of a question that you could ask that might begin to determine whether or not they want to know? If so, share it as a comment.

Incidentally, Pete Caputa has a very relevant post here.

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6 thoughts on “DO THEY WANT TO KNOW?

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. Did the salesperson know that his technique was bad, and could be improved? Probably not. It may have been “honed” over years of being in sales. Would asking him; “Can we sit in these chairs for a minute, I’d like to share something with you? have opened the opportunity for dialog? Besides, did you really want to be looking at every piece of furniture, or just what Elaine may have had an interest in? ;^)

  2. Ray, two thoughts.Some people are satisfied (or resigned to) earning $50-$100,000/year. Some are earning $250-$300K and still trying to do better. Which do you think he was?Second, on April 7th, I will be celebrating 35 years of wedded bliss and Elaine will be celebrating 35 years of captivity. I don’t actually look at the furniture. It’s part of our ‘together time’.

  3. Rick, I would go back to “You don’t know what you don’t know” Did this person know there could be something better for themselves? If all you “know” is that furniture sales people typically earn $50-$100K/year, and all the other furniture people you know are in that range, it becomes your reality, no? This doesn’t mean they are satisfied or resigned to earning this much. It may mean they simply don’t know any better. I can only expect that at one time, somewhere in your career, you had the opportunity to cause or see the light bulb go on in someones eyes when they finally “got it”. I would think that would be a very personally rewarding moment for you too. Yeah, there are people who are satisfied or resigned to their current lot in life. And they won’t move even if you show them the path. But do you know in advance if the person will “get it” or be satisfied/resigned? Congrats to you and Elaine! 35 years! Donna and I will be celebrating 26 years this May. And I do understand the together time concept very well..

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