Last night at dinner, my 77 year-old father showed us the obituary he had saved from when his father died. Abe Kurlan died in 1968 at the age of 68. Since I pick up the most subtle of patterns, the first thing that ran through my head was that I might make it to 86! It also got me thinking about what Abe did for a living. He was a car salesman back in the day when before he could sell you a car he had to teach you how to drive one!
I mentioned in a 2007 post that sales had skipped a generation and I provided some history about what selling was like back in the days of World War II. But last night I got to thinking about what made him so successful at selling cars. People loved him.
I remember conducting some training about 15 years ago for a local distributor and one of the salespeople took me aside and told me that I would never be anything like my grandfather. He made the point of saying that my grandfather was so likable, so caring, such a good person, that his entire family returned to Abe to buy all of their cars. He wondered why I couldn't be more like that!
But that's it. People returned to him in much the same way they returned to their family doctor. They made him part of their family. He had a great reputation. They could trust him. And the incredible part of this? He was selling USED cars for the last 25 years of his life. Not quite what you think about when you talk about a used car salesman, is it?
We spend an awful lot of time helping salespeople with their process, mindset, tactics and strategy. We spend a lot of time helping them to overcome and work around their weaknesses. We need to spend some time helping them develop the kind of honest, caring, respectable approach that Abe had, that family doctors used to have, that will cause customers and clients to flock back to them and not consider anyone else.
I call that SOB Quality, when your prospect or customer pays more attention to you than to any of your competitors. You can read about SOB Quality in my book, Baseline Selling.
(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan