Date: 31/03/2020
Author: Kevin Murphy
Company: J44 Brand Consulting

Can you cope with another personal reflection? If not watch the video.

Years ago I was a double-glazing salesman. Yes, one of those people who knocks on the door, sits in the lounge and won’t leave until you’ve signed up for new windows.

I was taught the trade by a rascally old chap who had outstayed his welcome more times than most of us have had hot coffee and his wisdom was based on a traditional view of speciality sales – the more you tell ‘em, the more you sell ‘em.

So my fellow salesmen and I would spend hours waxing lyrical about the window frames, the glass, the air gap between the panes, the locking mechanisms and the hardwood frames in which these everlasting aluminium windows would nestle (yes, aluminium, it was that long ago).

And it was fine. Until Colin Hesketh came along. He would sit in people’s lounges and just listen to them. He would be so silent that his prospects would tell him about the draughts and the heating bills and the rot and the painting that needed doing every couple of years. And he would nod sympathetically.

Then his customers would tell him about their children and their work and their holidays and their problems.

And finally, they would ask if they could buy some windows from him – if that was OK?

Colin sold more windows than any of us, and he did it by listening, not by talking.

He did it because he took the time to empathise and sympathise and understand the cares and complexities of his customers’ lives.

At the end of each sales session (we called them ‘sits’, because what you had to do was sit there until they signed) Colin knew as much about his customers as a friend or a neighbour might. He had said about half as many words as the rest of us and he sold about twice as many windows.

Be like Colin. Shut up. Listen to your customers. Hear about and care about their lives and their problems.

Then you’ll know how to help them - and sell to them.

Our business insight video will help.