Salesmanship Part 1

andy rooneyI hate to sound like Andy Rooney here, but have you ever noticed….how few people try to sell you anything anymore? I’m not talking time share pitchmen, or vacation club scam artists (more on that later), I’m talking about the person behind the counter at the retail store or anywhere else where you may need help making a purchase.  You’d think that in a tough economy people would be doing their best to convince you to part with some of your money.

I have two stories to tell you along these lines; one today and the other tomorrow.  Today’s story involves Dave Sinclair, a St. Louis auto retailing institution.  He’s famous for his television commercials, featuring just Dave standing behind a somewhat hokey-looking podium that has his logo on it.  No flash, no gimicks, just Dave talking to you about his latest deals.  Click on the link to meet Dave (somewhat) in person.  Sinclair is in his 80s and must have gone straight from the maternity hospital to the car dealership. or so it seems.  Dave is a blue-collar guy selling blue-collar cars to blue-collar customers.

Lately a lot of his TV spots have centered on the fact that he sells GM and Ford products exclusively.  No foreign-made cars at Dave Sinclair.  He encourages his viewers to buy from him, of course, but if not, “then buy American from somebody.” But, that’s not today’s story.

The story is that Dave’s business is good and he’s hiring…..and that he’s getting few takers.  He prefers to hire older workers (baby boomers) who know what hard work is and aren”t afraid of it.  In his usual straight-ahead approach, he told a local TV reporter “I’m not paying people to stand around.  I”m paying them to sell cars.”

In a world where the first question from a lot of job applicants is “How much vacation do I get?” his approach obviously makes a lot of people nervous.  It’s not touchy-fealy, or politically correct.  But it’s brutally honest, and that’s something that’s sorely missing today.  Personally I’d rather work for someone who’s upfront with me than someone who smiles all the time while he’s planning to stab you  in the back.

I believe it’s Sinclair’s honest approach that’s kept him in the car business for longer than most of his customers have been alive.  Good luck, Dave.  I hope you find the folks you need to keep the legacy alive.

Episode 7

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 7.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

My Twitter ID is michaelbuckley and you can also find me on Friendfeed.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

Today we’re going to take a look at inexpensive, but very effective, ways to promote your brand, both your personal brand and your business brand.  We’ll talk about ways to turn the dozens of random contacts you make every day into prospects for your business.

01:08 How many prospects have you talked to today?  You may be surprised at the answer.
03:25 The value of gift certificates.
05:43 How to turn casual meetings into B to B sales.
06:41 Logo clothing is a conversation starter
07:56 So is a professionally produced name tag.
08:20 Say “cheese”.  Why you need a supply of good photos.
08:55 The “elevator speech”
12:10 Generation “Y”, baby boomers, and social media

Helpful links:

Marketing Your Retail Store in the Internet Age by Bob and Susan Negen.
The Profitable Retailer by Doug Fleener and Patricia Luebke
Baby Lock Sewing Machines Dealer Locator
Elevator Speech Dos and Don’ts
The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch

Direct download: Episode_7.mp3

More on Baby Boomers

As a follow-up to episode 5’s discussion of baby boomers, here’s a link to a post on the same topic from Mine Your Own Business, the Tacony Corporation blog.

Episode 5

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 5.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

Our music is called “Shenandoah” and it’s by Larry Allen Brown from the Garage Band web site, find it here.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

2:04   Harvey Korman
2:45   Missouri Department of Revenue–How not to do customer service.
6:57   78 million Baby boomers are a diverse group.
US boomers range in age from 44 to 62
They ARE on the internet
44% of internet users age 50+ have broadband service
They use the web for a variety of purposes.
If you’re not reaching out to boomers, you’re missing business.
10:45 Contact me on Twitter and Facebook.
http://twitter.com/michaelbuckley
11:16 Anna Farmery–Healthy Business Relationships
http://www.theengagingbrand.typepad.com
12:23 More Anna–The Engaging Brand Episode 167, Joe Medina
Brain Rules
13:12 Minor League Baseball, the Gateway Grizzlies, and good marketing.
16:34 Donna Papacosta–Adding time codes to show notes
http://trafcom.typepad.com/blog/

Direct download: Episode_5.mp3

That little blue pill costs GM $17 million a year – 04/16/06 – The Detroit News

Link: That little blue pill costs GM $17 million a year – 04/16/06 – The Detroit News.

From the "You Think You Have Problems?" department, this item from the Detroit News points out that the world’s largest automaker is also the world’s largest purchaser of Viagra.  As part of their employee health plan, so-called lifestyle drugs contribute to the $1,500 per vehicle that GM spends on health care.

General Motors provides health care benefits for retirees as well as active employees, and currently insures two retirees for every one active employee.  GM recently cut benefits for salaried workers, but changes for union workers are a little more difficult.

The article concludes, "GM appears likely to approach the UAW about eliminating this perk when the moment’s right."