Selling Steak Knives to a Vegan…A Lesson in Salesmanship

Posted by Carl Gould on August 17, 2010
7 Stage Success with Carl L Gould, News Articles / No Comments

The last time I needed a steak knife to cut meat for myself was almost twenty years ago.  The mainstay of my diet is green vegetables, and other culinary dishes that you can easily carve up with the side of a fork.

So why am I now the proud owner of four high end new knives that are designed for a carnivore?  The sales presentation won me over! Because I felt that the sales associates gave me a lot of value, I felt obligated to reciprocate by making a purchase. 

What influenced me was his…

1.      Enjoyment of the job.

2.      Knowledge of the product.

3.      How he handled objections and questions (before they came up).

4.      His certainty that the products were right for me.

5.      His authenticity in presenting his product line. 

1.Enjoyment of the Job:

            He was having fun! It’s refreshing to see someone actually enjoying their work for a change. He wasn’t jaded, stressed, burnt out, bored or tired of customers. He seemed genuinely grateful for the opportunity to present to us. 

2. Knowledge of the Product:

            The sales associate was a college-aged young man selling kitchen cutlery. Although he had very little experience as a ‘culinary technician’ he demonstrated excellent product knowledge. He answered every question we had accurately and without pause. What little experience he did have, he shared with us at the appropriate times. 

3. Handling Objections:

            Interestingly enough, he treated every objection calmly, naturally as if it wasn’t an objection at all and professionally.

            Clearly he was well trained on a scripted presentation…and he stuck to it! The presentation materials were well designed to handle many of the questions that were to arise.

            To his credit, he stuck to the program and was not distracted. 

4. Certainty:

            He was committed to us buying one or more of his knives, regardless of our dietary preferences.

            He knew his product was among the best and his confidence came through.

            While he was clearly looking for angles for his product to suit our needs, he also maintained an indifference to rejection.  In other words, he didn’t seem to care if we didn’t buy. Powerful combination. 

5. Authenticity:

He was himself. Made no apologies for it, nor did he make any attempt to fit a ‘typical salesman’s mold’. He wore clothes that were age-appropriate for his generation, was neat and organized. Very effective. 

I have coached many people in sales and have acted in the capacity of sales trainer, and I can tell you this young man is well on his way.


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