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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
MAY
02

Behind Door #1

I've been in the market for a few bigger-than-normal-ticket items, and experiencing a variety of salespeople and tactics has reminded me not only what drives me crazy about an overaggressive close, but also how much variety there is in the circumstances of each customer. To some extent, salespeople must be prepared for those with any number of budgets, preferences, and requirements. Yet it astounds me how often they ignore these requirements, as if the benefits of the item should trump all else...like whether the customer can actually afford to buy it.

There's a story I'll never forget from my working life, an experience I had while working a tradeshow booth with one of our company executives. It was just me and her, and she was exponentially more classy (and wealthy) than I was. These facts don't usually come into play, in that they are there and exist, but there's no need to dwell on them or have them influence your day-to-day reality. But on this particular day at the show, she asked if I had put any bids on any items at the auction booth across the aisle from us. The auction funds would benefit underprivileged children, a worthy cause if ever there was one, yet as I perused the items, there was nothing within a price range I felt comfortable paying. When I shared with the executive that the items I wanted were outside of my price range, she looked confused and almost hurt. "But, it's for the children," she said. To which I wanted to say, "That doesn't change my budget," or remind her that raising my pay could certainly help my ability to contribute to such causes. Instead I'm pretty sure I said nothing, too stunned by the logic that a worthy cause should suddenly somehow generate money that I didn't have.

That's kind of how I felt this weekend with salespeople pushing the benefits of cutting edge technology, touting the per-day cost of something that would last a person many, many years. Isn't it WORTH this much per day, they would ask, to experience such comfort and luxury? To which I will say, yes, it IS worth it. But that doesn't mean I can afford it. This is all to say that there were probably several disappointed salespeople in town this weekend. And the takeaway isn't so much a Read the Room kind of thing (although it sort of is), but more just a reminder of how many different sets of circumstances there are, how many budgets, how many different requirements or preferences exist out there. Not just between different people or families, but also even within ourselves and our families, as our individual situations improve or fall apart or shift over time. Perhaps it's a comfort to know there's something (some couch, car, piece of jewelry, electronic device, musical instrument, or antique appliance) for everyone.

MAR
20

To Sell is Human

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I'm long since past the days of reading textbooks, so I confess that the thought of reading for anything other than pleasure causes panic and painful flashbacks. I kid, I kid. Anyone who's read Schooled knows I loved being a student and dreaded the beginning of real life, but now that I'm in it, I do groan when I see informative books on the shelves. Who reads these? I once saw a stat of how many books you could read in your life if you were an average reader (and most of us read far less frequently than the average reader), and the number was disturbingly low. And if I can only read a very select number of books in my life, I certainly don't want to read any that are not for fun, don't make me laugh, and do nothing to help me escape.

So whenever I find myself reading a business-themed book, it surprises me. Even more so when I really enjoy it. Which is exactly what I can say about this book. True that I work in sales already, so it's not like I really needed a lot of convincing about selling in today's world being very different than in eras past. Or the presence of sales-related activities even in non-sales jobs. Or the amount of time we spend trying to move others; to convince people to part with something they have in exchange for something we can give. I already see this and fully believe it. I am the proverbial choir.

Nothing earth-shattering then, but what I loved about this book were the practical examples shared to illustrate each principle, the clear explanation of the ways we can become better and more effective movers in this information age, and the recommended exercises (sometimes very simple) to help us become better attuned, buoyant, and clear. Very readable and incredibly relatable (much like Quiet), it's always satisfying to read a book that gets it right. If you work in sales, manage a team of salespeople, or just want to read a fascinating account of the shift away from the Fuller Brush Man style of selling that was once so prevalent, you should read this book.