Ed had helped me to the truck with the packages — three in all — and smacked the back of the vehicle as it moved away. I couldn’t wait to get home. I couldn’t wait to share with my family all the things I had learned while at the shop. I couldn’t remember being so excited about a purchase.
Then it hit me.
The purpose of the trip to Ed’s shop was to buy a replacement belt for the vacuum cleaner. $1.50. I walked out with three machines — and had never been happier about a purchase.
Just a year earlier, a random vacuum sales rep had knocked on our front door, was let in, demonstrated his amazing machine and was escorted out. One visit to Ed’s and a vacuum, floor steamer and a hand vac left with me.
Knowing my uncanny ability not to be beguiled by any casual sale, the bewildered look on my family’s faces begged the obvious question:
“How did this happen?”
Having conducted sales training all around the country and for some of the biggest and best organizations in the world, I was forced to analyze this transaction.
The conclusion: Ed was one of the best salespeople I had met to that point.
His greeting? Terrific.
His probing of the problem? Exceptional.
His customizing facts and benefits? A model.
His use of evidence to support his case(s)? Remarkable.
It wasn’t what Ed did that made him better than others; it was more of what Ed was.
Ed’s enthusiasm for what he did could not be contained. To date and ever since, I have never found anyone with the enthusiasm for a product or service that matched Ed’s zeal for vacuums. It was infectious.
Crazy, right? Vacuums?!
As he probed the problem of my broken belt, he asked me about the floors in my home — shag, hardwood, pile? He asked about the makeup of the family, the kinds of messes we made, how frequently we were able to clean up after them.
He asked about our current equipment, how we came to buy it, and what we thought we were getting. In short, he knew just about everything one could know about the dirt in our home.
Then came the education.
With energy, excitement and passion, Ed taught me about vacuums. Suction and sweeping, construction quality, replacement part availability, ease of the DIY fix, expected longevity.
How did he know all this? He had sold vacuums his entire career. He had represented every major manufacturer. He had designed his own models. He read about them at every reasonable opportunity. He COLLECTED vintage vacuums.
There was no doubt I was in the presence of vacuum greatness.
Enthusiasm is not bouncing off the walls. It’s not speaking loudly or jumping up and down. It’s not about singing out how much you “believe” in a product, service or company. It’s an intense and eager enjoyment of a subject. It’s the joy we experience and communicate when we are truly inspired by something.
All great leaders have it. All great salespeople have it.
Distilling down what selling really is: Selling is the transfer of our enthusiasm to another person — giving our passion about a subject to someone else.
For Ed, it was vacuums.
Oh yeah, I bought the replacement belt, too.
Patrick Morin is a partner with The Cross Partnership, a global consultancy that is engaged by private equity groups, boards of directors, and CEOs to improve the performance of their invested companies. The Cross Partnership works with select start-ups, growth companies, and turnarounds to stabilize operations and ramp up revenue and employee performance.