The Barstool Helper

Discussion in 'Small Business Helper' started by tsbhelper, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. tsbhelper

    tsbhelper Small Business Helper Forum Moderator

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    This is a sales story... wish it had a happier ending. Back in 72 I was a classified ad salesman for a major metropolitan newspaper. There was a company called Barstools Unlimited that sold unfinished wooden furniture. They specialized in barstools.

    They ran retail ads with the paper for a while but dropped out. Story I got was they had no results. Decided to try my luck selling them some space in either the new or used furniture section of the classified ads.

    Went in and talked to the owner... long and short of it was he wanted nothing to do with newspaper advertising... it hadn't worked for him.

    Back then I had this classic line "Advertising doesn't cost, it pays". When I ran it by him, he laughed at me and was getting ready to throw me out on my ear. Then I pulled my best trick out of the bag and used it on him.

    It went something like this... tell you what, I'll make you a bet that advertising works... here's the deal. You run a little bitty three line ad in the classified section with me, for 10 days. In it you say you will give away one barstool each day to the tenth customer who comes into your store and mentions the ad. If you haven't had to give away ten barstools at the end of ten days, I'll pay for the ad myself, and any barstools you did have to give away... it won't cost you a dime.

    He refused my offer and threw me out. I hadn't yet taken the Dale Carnegie Sales Course at that time, so I wasn't quite as smooth as I am now. End result was a lost sale, and I felt pretty bad about it.

    The rest of the story is a joke on me. I only worked in classified for about a year until I went on to other things. About two years later I was going through the classified section and lo and behold!!! Here is this 1 column x two inch ad (about twenty lines) in the used furniture section. It was for unfinished wooden barstools... by the same outfit whose owner threw me out. Go figure...

    The Small Business Sales Helper
     
  2. The Helper

    The Helper Administrator Staff Member

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    +1,212 / 2 / -1
    Is there some sort of hidden message there?
     
  3. tsbhelper

    tsbhelper Small Business Helper Forum Moderator

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    Hidden Message

    Not sure about that. It really did happen, just that way. You win some, and you lose some. As it turned out I was right... advertising does pay, and advertising unfinished furniture at good prices in the used furniture section of the classified ads was a good idea, and it did work for him. Yet I lost the sale...

    Maybe I should have come back later and taken his temperature, or something. If I had already taken the Dales Carnegie Sales Course at that time, or used some of the principles I talk about in the Sales Section (more coming soon), probably he would not have thrown me out on my ear.

    Some people are born to sell, others have to learn along the way. This was one of those along the way experiences that didn't seem to have much meaning at the time. Best thing I can think of that I learned was that in addition to sheer guts, sales work takes patience and persistence... virtues which I did not possess in great quantities at that time.

    Hope I have learned better by now.

    The Small Business Helper
     
  4. Wargasm

    Wargasm Administrator Staff Member

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    yeah i encountered simmilar stuff :)

    infact i informed companies how buy computers for their employees and get a tax reduction..

    i was smart enuff to leave out a few pieces of vital information ..


    we do not have the cheapest prices but we do carry the highest service level ..

    and yes those companies went to our competitor who happens tobe 10% cheaper then us ...

    they are not only 10% cheaper then us they are also a competitor who assembles their own machines ..

    now there is nothing wrong with that if your into computers infact i even buy parts there for my own comps ..

    but you do not wish to sell to employees/customers with zero puter knowledge unless you have one helluva support desk that is open after closing time ..

    so the next batch of 900 comps went thru my store :)
    not that we have the brightest persons on the helldesk . but atleast we have 200 of them in the call center ..

    unlike my competitor who was able to build 200 puters in one month (gotta salute that)
    but was totally not prepared with his 3 man staff to handle support ..
     

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