I began a career in sales at age eleven. Upon many years reflection I had learned unknowingly the key principles of selling before the age of twelve, and, spent the rest of my life perfecting a principle based approach to sales free from any scripted techniques. Such learned were, supply and demand, diversification (cross selling) market research, service provision, listening, understanding, knowing the product (drawkcab) backward, value processes and, above all else sincerity.
In the beginning
Me and Victor my dearest friend of all time made a trolley out of old pram axles and began navigating the rail tracks, farm sheds and deserted houses, old pump stations and garbage tips in search of for aluminium, brass, copper and lead. We were scrap metal dealers and dealt a good hand of important lessons in supply and demand. It was cash driven business, no taxes, no overheads, tax was a word that did not exist in our vocabulary, and even lessons at school did not include this subject.
Supplying a demand
In those days a lot of household rubbish was discarded over the fence into vacant lots. Amongst the debris were aluminium pots and pans, bits of brass, copper and lead. The 60’s brought new demand from Japans industrialisation revolution. Base metals were melted down and cast into alloy componenents.
Forget scripted sales pitches, your customers will see through any smoke screen very quickly and once they do, trust will fail and the next honest salesman that comes along will be higher on their agenda.
Diversification An Early Important Lesson, the right place, the right time
On one of our scrap metal collecting excursions, while removing a copper system ball from a disused sheep trough an enquiring farmer suggested we could pluck wool from a few dead sheep scattered across his paddocks out back. For this he would pay us $1.00 per sack. He pulled a few dirty Hessians from his Ute and pointed in the direction of the paddocks where the dead sheep lay in waiting and instructed us in ways of gathering wool. Finally he drew our attention to a line of trees on the horizon; this was the homestead location and the delivery point. I learned an important early lesson about being in the right place at the right time and having the blatant nuance to grasp the opportunity as it arose. Confidence played a major role in obliging me and my friend many successes in our nave business ventures. And we would venture many challenges over the ensuing years, as we quickly diversified. Scrap metal, textiles, furs and rare bird eggs became part of an impressive port folio. We were always flush, the school lunches that mum made were fed to the ducks on the way to school and replaced at recess with pies, chips, chocolates and coke.
We took advantage of our position and did the rounds, knocking on neighbouring farmers doors and offering to pluck wool from dead sheep for $1.00 per sack. Soon we had half a dozen regular clients. Our services became in such high demand that on occasions we just had to wag school, but in order to avoid the truant officer we had to close down the fur trade, besides the task of capturing live fur was painfully unpleasant for me, Victor and the poor little rabbits.
I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I would be producing silk ties and cufflinks and selling them all over the world.
This is just one small episode in my inclination to sales, through out my industrious career I always sought to maintain a principle based philosophy and it worked.