Today, I was having a conversation with a prior co-worker who has been questioning me on how to go about selling a product he has used to lose weight. His weight loss transformation has been remarkable, but he is apprehensive about sharing his story because he doesn’t think he can be enthusiastic about it. He’s “just never been that type of person,” he tells me.

That got me to thinking about what it takes to be a good marketer and sales person. My first job was as a telemarketer for Kirby vacuum cleaners. I was 17 years old at the time and lived in Hawaii. We worked from a phone book at that time, calling random people and marking out the phone numbers that were no longer valid. On my first day I was nervous and my voice shook and cracked as I began to read the script I was given. I never felt right about reading from the script and, after numerous people hung up on me on that first day, I went home feeling like a complete failure.

Honest-1 (1)That night, I tossed and turned and thought about how I could do better on day two. I decided I needed to do three things: make the script my own, believe in what I was selling, and just be honest. The first few calls I made that day were hangups. I sat back for a moment, regrouped, and began again. The next person I spoke to asked, “are you trying to sell me something” and I said, “Yes! Absolutely! We want you to see a demonstration of the Kirby vacuum and you are going to get two free things for your time. A free sofa, chair, or room carpet cleaning of your choice and your choice a a free gift.” The person on the other line said, “Well, I don’t normally say yes, but since you were honest with me, then I will see what you have to offer. But first, how long will the appointment take?” I told them, “the time can vary-but will most likely take at least an hour. Maybe longer” They set up a weekend appointment. At the end of the month, I had set several appointments and, of those appointments, we sold five vacuum cleaners. My boss told me that it was a record for that office. He asked me what my secret was and I told him, “I was honest with the customer.”

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My boss at Kirby had the other callers sit in and listen to how I spoke to the customers and made my calling approach the example of how to set appointments. I was excited that my boss had noticed my performance. Since that time, I refuse to take a job that would require me to sell something I do not believe in or one that requires me to mislead a customer in any way. After all, I am the voice of the company.

Who is speaking for your company? Have you developed an open and honest relationship with your employees? Do they feel comfortable speaking to you about their concerns? Do you feel comfortable speaking to them about your concerns?

As a side note, just this year, Kirby Vacuum cleaner company made me proud of having worked for them when they proved that they care about the little things. Watch the video here:

I believe the key to running a great business is hiring people who believe in building great relationships with others through honesty and mutual respect. After all, if you don’t care about the customer, how do you expect the customer to care about you?

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