We enjoyed many excellent speakers at a professional association meeting that I recently attended in Baltimore. One related a story about an insurance agent who sold a $14,000,000 case because he didn’t rush to judgment.
A successful businessman who attended his church came up to him at a social event and asked him to do a favor, “A guy just proposed a $3,000,000 permanent life insurance on me to protect the business that I own. How about running the numbers with your company and seeing if you can do any better?”
Rather than jumping at an opportunity to grab an easy case, the producer answered, “I would love to help you out but I can’t do what you’re asking.”
“What do you mean?” asked the incredulous business owner.
“Well, I have no idea if you need $3,000,000, $20,000.000 or none at all. Do you know what your business is worth?”
“Not really. I’m too busy running it every day and assumed that the agent figured that out.”
You can guess where this is all going.
Agent ‘Ethical Guy’ said there wasn’t enough information to make an informed decision of that magnitude and suggested that the business-owner get a third party valuation of his company.
Mr. Business Owner agreed.
When the unbiased appraisal came back with a valuation of $14,000,000–the proposal from agent ‘Lazy Guy’ got thrown into the shredder. Agent ‘Ethical Guy’ sold a huge case and performed an excellent service for his new client.
As a small-business owner selling a service or tangible product, you can learn much from the above story. When not in your shop you are a customer just like everyone else and I am willing to bet that you occasionally go into stores looking for something that you know very little about. In such a case, you are seeking a competent and honest salesperson to lead you in the right direction. You want to be properly informed about the positives and negatives before making a purchase.
The people who seek you out in your business are no different. Listen to their wants and needs. Take the time to properly inform them of important aspects of their desires. Then, and only then, make a recommendation based on your expertise.
You may be surprised by the whale you reel in rather than the small-mouth bass that was originally on the line.
Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES
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