Traveling Salesman In Nebraska (Bizarro Ted Kooser)

He had a simple way of going about his business.
He’d wake at dawn, get out of bed, then take
a fresh white button down shirt out of this week’s motel
room’s closet, and a suitable tie for the day out of
this week’s drawer.

He wasn’t one to mix it up or make it needlessly complex.
Wasn’t the kind to choose a tie and then a shirt and then
get out of bed and only then get around to actually waking up.

No sir. He had a simple way of going about his business.

And that extended to how he got dressed.
One pant leg at a time. One shoe on, then the other shoe.
Not on the same foot, but on the opposite one. Simple.

And that simple way of going about his business
extended to how he went about his business
when he was in the act of going about his business.
One foot in front of the other. One foot on a higher step
followed by the opposite foot on the next highest step
not occupied by a foot so that an ascent of the steps
to the farmhouse door could be made. One set of steps
after the other. One screen door after another.
One doorbell after another. One farm after another.

His simple way of going about his business extended
to his approach on making the sale – sales, being his business.
He wasn’t one for gimmicks. Wasn’t one for reading books on sales
to learn the latest tricks of the trade. And he viewed them
as that – tricks. If what he was selling didn’t amount to
a good value for his customer, then he wasn’t going to
trick them into buying. He simply wouldn’t sell that product.
These principles had lead him to reject products other,
less scrupulous salesmen would have sold in a heartbeat.
But he’d been getting by with his current line by a) keeping it
simple and b) selling something he stood behind.

Sales to him was simple – you make a good offer, and
either they buy or they don’t. And if they don’t, you just
tip your hat, and move on. And whether it’s the first call
of the morning or the last call on a day of rejections and
defeat, you make the offer with genuine enthusiasm and –
most importantly – a smile on your face.

“Morning Ma’am. You look like a busy lady, so I won’t
beat around the bush. For the very reasonable price of $5,
I’d like the offer you the opportunity to bite into my face
as if it were a bright red candy apple.

“Now, if you have nothing but big bills on hand,
it’s very easy for me to make change. So,
should I get the bandages and disinfectant out?”

And the city slickers who like to make everything so very complex
might point out that this is not the proper way to execute
the assumptive close, that by asking “should I get
the bandages out?” he is making the classic sales mistake
of giving the prospect the opportunity of saying “no.”
That a much better phrasing of this particular assumptive close –
the by-the-book phrasing of it – would surely be:
“I’m going to get the bandages and disinfectant out
so we can get started.”

No matter. You see, it may come as a surprise to those city slickers,
but business was booming.

And when you have a simple way of going about your business,
you don’t even thinking about messing with something that’s working.

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