What if salespeople were real?

What if salespeople were real?


I might buy something from them–that’s what. And I just did. A new car, to be specific.


Short backstory: my teenaged son Gabe and I were rear-ended big-time while driving to Washington to see my older son, Jesse. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t our fault, that my car was totaled, and that you might want to wear sunglasses whilst driving into blinding sunsets if you’re speeding and driving a large Dodge Ram behind innocent small cars.


So we ended up shopping for a new car, sponsored in part by the other guy’s insurance company.


This wasn’t our first go-round at buying a car, thanks to previous distracted drivers. But partly because I’m me, and partly because I want to show Gabe how adults interact, I only do business with salespeople who are real, respectful, listen well, and who we really connect with.


Which brings me to Matt.


He wasn’t your stereotypical Idaho auto salesman: Latino, pony-tailed, soft-spoken and intelligent. And after just a few minutes, the test drives that some people dread turned into something more like, “let’s go drive around the Valley and talk about rap, soul music, English majors and creative writing.”


Gabe connected with Matt right away. (Two long-haired guys who like the same music? A done deal.) They spent a good hour talking about producing rap beats, which software they use, where they get their best samples, and their favorite songs by Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples. It wasn’t manipulative–this was way-technical stuff, something you couldn’t manufacture as part of any sales gimmick.


Same here: Matt just finished his English degree, so he and I talked about job prospects, creative writing, the realities of working in academia–and also 1970s soul music, and the first concerts we ever went to (me? Black Sabbath. Boise, ca. 1980).


He didn’t push any particular car, but listened to what we were interested in, offered different cars to try based on our comments, and didn’t rush or manipulate or make promises. He just, well, hung out with us for a few quality hours and helped us figure out what we wanted. We felt comfortable asking him real questions about the cars, and he gave us real answers.


Yes, I did buy a car there. And felt great about it.


I’m sure Matt made some money for his company yesterday–that’s the point of sales, after all. But Gabe and I have by far the coolest car we’ve ever had (keep in mind my low-ish standards there) that totally meets our needs. Plus an awesome new friend.


The moral of that story: Be Like Matt. Be yourself: real, smart, quirky, willing to connect with people and listen to them. The more real you are, the less you try to “sell” yourself or your product or your idea, the better off you’ll be.


And that’s a happy ending.


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