The Tao of Sales
An Easier Way to Sell in Tough Times
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Sales Success Stories: We learn to stretch our own capabilities by observing others. Find what’s true for you and what challenges you in each of these stories. Ask yourself:

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Tanda Meets the World's Best Car Salesman
© E. Thomas Behr, Ph.D.

Tanda Fox, who worked as a sales executive for Estee Lauder, tells the story of shopping for a new car. She arrived at the dealership, having "psyched" herself up to do battle with a car salesman. She was met by a salesperson who patiently and attentively explored with her what she was looking for and what she wanted to pay. No tricks like "I have to talk with my manager," or "How much are you willing to pay per month." At no time did he offer to "sell" her a car. After about 30 minutes, he recapped what she'd identified as her needs and desires, and then invited her to test drive a car that matched her criteria.

They drove for about two minutes. The salesperson sat in the front seat, polite, attentive, relaxed, saying absolutely nothing. Finally, the silence got to her, and she had to ask a question. "Aren't you going to tell me anything about this car's features?" she asked. "Sure," he said, with the same air of polite interest and concern. "What would you like to know?" This continued for about ten minutes as she gradually relaxed with him until all her questions were answered.

They came back to the showroom and, as they were getting out of the car, he said, "It sounds like this is exactly the right car for you." "Absolutely," she replied. "I love it." "Then let's go buy it," said the salesperson.

When Tanda entered his office, she saw two walls filled with plaques and awards. Not only was he the leading Porsche/Audi salesperson in the United States; he was their top salesperson in the world.

Lesson learned: The greatest value we bring clients or customers is this sense of how things work: creating balance by helping them question their own goals and solutions, expanding their sense of what is possible, clarifying their awareness of outcomes, but not as an expert, or an opponent, merely as a friend.