Reader Beware

The following is adapted from the book, The Worst Salesman in the World, a compendium of bad sales behavior that all too many of us have practiced or experienced ourselves. Study well what this article has to offer — and learn to do the opposite. Meanwhile, let each “Then Again” box help to point you in the right direction. The wisdom they contain will lead you to happier buyers and increased sales.

Minimize Your Customer’s Importance

Minimize your customers’ importance by letting them know you’re accustomed to dealing with much larger orders than theirs. Get them to see themselves as second class citizens – people who should feel grateful you’ve deigned to give them the time of day.

Train them with this lucky-you’re-getting-any-service-at-all approach and buyers will accept – even expect – deplorable service. Deliver sales or service even a half-notch above deplorable and you’ll delight them every time.

Meanwhile, this lucky-you’re-getting-any-service-at-all approach does wonders to spread good word of mouth, leaving them with that warm, incomparable feeling: They knew what a small, insignificant fish I was and they still let me give them my money.

Then Again...

Nothing creates loyalty better than maximizing your customers’ importance, because everyone loves to feel pampered and important.

While working at the advertising agency Young & Rubicam, a fledgling video production company courted our business. We gave them a try and they soon became a favorite supplier. What they delivered – beyond good work and competitive pricing – was such a level of fidelity and service I was shocked to discover we were not their only client. That’s how special they made us feel: As if we were their only client.

Same goes for David’s, where I buy my clothes. The moment I walk in it’s “Mr. Saltzman, thank you for coming in! How may I serve you today?” Immediately, David establishes a level of enthusiasm and service that becomes contagious: He’s excited about selling clothes, and I get excited about buying those clothes.

Joel Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator, and consultant who teaches people in business to Shake That Brain! - for winning solutions AND lots of fun. Look for his latest book, Shake That Brain!, to be published by Wiley 2/06. Joel can be reached in San Diego at (619) 543-9432 e-mail:
Visit his website: