A young salesman was sitting across the table from his sales manager and mentor. The crusty old sales veteran offered the following comments:
“Jim, you look great today. I especially like that tie. In fact, I admire that tie so much, that I am wondering if I could borrow it for a day. I have a presentation tomorrow to a key client, and if I could wear that tie, I would feel like I could not fail to close the sale."
“Sure, Norman, I’ll be glad to lend it to you. Here you go.”
“Thank you. Now let me offer you a lesson. Let’s assume that the tables were reversed and you had asked me for the tie. In fact, go ahead, ask me if you can borrow my tie – the same one you just gave me.”
“Norman, I love your tie. I could really use that tie for a presentation tomorrow. Do you mind of I borrow it?”
“I am glad you like the tie. As a matter of fact, it is my favorite tie, and I only wear it on very special occasions. When I was getting dressed this morning, I said to myself: ‘Why not wear Aunt Matilda’s tie today; the new guy is starting in the North Shore territory, so it is an important day!’
You may wonder why I call this tie ‘Aunt Matilda’s tie.' I’ll be glad to tell you. You have not been around here long enough to have heard my personal history, but it is common knowledge that my mother died when I was six year old, and I was pretty much raised single-handedly by my Aunt Matilda. She was one of the most frugal women I have ever known. She would not spend a nickel more than necessary on herself. Most of her clothes came from K Mart.
I followed as she walked straight to the back, found a Manager and asked to see the special Limited Edition of imported silk ties reserved for Preferred Customers. We were shown an impressive collection, and Aunt Matilda said to me: ‘Pick out the one you like the best. Never mind about the price!’ So, I chose this tie – 'Aunt Matilda’s tie'! I could not help noticing as she handed her money to the clerk that she gave him six $20 bills. $120 dollars for a tie in 1983! Can you imagine!
Aunt Matilda died in her sleep at age 87 just last month. This remained her favorite tie, and I wore it to her funeral.
Norman paused, and drove home the point of the story:
“Compare the ‘value’ of the tie before the story of Aunt Matilda and after the story. Same tie – but a completely different value. Sales, my boy, is all about telling the story to make sure that you help the customer to place the appropriate value on the product or service that you are selling. It is all about the story. The value lies in the story!”
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I welcome your feedback on this issue