Lessons from Dad
Article By Stuart Selbst
I don’t talk much about my family in my blogging and coaching with the exception of my wife Loree. But on this Father’s day, I am moved to talk about lessons I learned from my Dad.
My dad was a career salesman who had a desire to make sure that his customers (that is what he called them back in the day) had the best service in his industry. My father taught me about sales and selling. He said many companies had very similar products and price was often the cause of lost sales. Success was often just about being in the right place at the right time. As a boy, I would tell my father that I was never going to be a salesman. I was going to be a chef, doctor, fireman or whatever I was thinking on that particular day.
When I was a little boy of 6 or 7 years and on break from school, my father would sometimes take me to work with him. We would walk into his customers and he would always introduce me as his “special helper for the day.” I recall seeing the secretary or receptionist light up when I would say hello. I would then get to meet the boss. My father sold chemicals and cleaning products so many of his customers were in charge of building maintenance. To me as a little guy, these men were big, tall and very intimidating. To my dad, they were his buddies. He would take the time to talk to them about what was going on in their life. He would basically “shoot the bull” with them before he would get down to business and talk about what chemicals or cleaning products they needed. When they would say they didn’t need anything, Dad would start asking questions about what problems they are having. The customer would ALWAYS have an issue that they couldn’t resolve. And, of course, my dad would ALWAYS have a product, chemical or solution that would solve their problem so the customer would buy multiple cases of whatever that product was. Even back 40 years ago, sales was about asking questions and finding a solution to a problem.
The lesson I learned from my Dad about business I could never find in a book or in school. That lesson was to know how to ask the right questions for the situation, listen to the answers and relate it to what service or product you have to fill their needs and take away their pain points.
I’ve learned many lessons from my dad. Some of the lessons he taught me are how to treat people with respect, not to be afraid to stand up for yourself and to be a good, honest and caring man.
I am very proud of my father who is now 70 years old. He is still and will always be the finest man that I know. Every time I speak with him I learn something new. On this Father’s Day, I would like to say thank you to my Dad for teaching me these lessons, for guiding me through life and for being a great role model to me and my sisters. Dad, thank you for all you have done and continue to do, I love you.
I invite all of you who read this blog to comment with what you have learned from your Dad. If you are curious, yes the picture above is of me and my dad.
All the best in success,
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Author: Stuart Selbst