Saturday, May 14, 2011

Everything I learned about sales I learned from my dog

Meet Billy:



He’s a six year old Maltese-Shih Tzu based in Sydney, Australia living it up with his own bedroom and personal maid service in my parents’ home.

Cute little guy! You might be thinking. And yes, that’s true. What won’t be immediately apparent to you, however, is that Billy is also a sales guru. From timing his own purchase right through to his unlikely friendships with cats, pitbulls and even my dad, Billy is a star example of everything you’ll ever need to know about selling.

But let’s begin at the very beginning.

I had never meant to purchase a Billy. I was out looking for a tulip stem coffee table on a break from studying tort law. Passing the pet store on Crown Street a little puff of black and white caught my eye as it charged across the window and barreled straight onto the head of an unwitting, sleeping spoodle. The little puff then arched into what I later learned to be his play pose, demanding to be chased. The spoodle assessed the puff for a moment, then closed her eyes to resume napping.

I couldn’t help but be curious. The puff remained in play pose, expectantly. Any minute now, the spoodle will come to her senses and play with me! Probably a minute passed. Then, the puff cocked its head to one side, confused. And then barreled! right onto the head of the sleeping spoodle again, squeaking happily!

The spoodle opened her eyes. This time she got up, crossed the window and barked at the little thing that was insisting on ruining her afternoon nap. Not interested in playing!! Back off!! And one more time, she closed her eyes and curled haughtily into a ball.

The little puff of black fur sat for a moment. What to do? He made a few circles, sat again. Ran around a few times, thinking. And then ran over to the spoodle and leaped! onto her head again, squeaking happily!! Slowly, the spoodle opened her eyes and looked at him, as he paced back and forth, squeaking.

And miraculously, begrudgingly, she began to play with him.

Score 1, persistent little black and white puff.

Curious, I went inside. Was the little energy puff a dog, cat or bunny rabbit? I couldn’t quite tell.

‘Just pick him up’, the pet store attendant had encouraged. ‘He won’t hurt you!’

‘Oh – I don’t want a pet’, I had replied reluctantly. ‘I’m just looking’.

‘No worries at all!’ She had said with a smile, ‘You can still pick him up, you don’t have to take him home…’

I reluctantly did, the puff looked up at me (it had eyes!) and then wagged what seemed to be a tail and kissed me, and within minutes I was leaving with puppy pads, ten chew toys, puppy vitamins and a cardbox pet carrier.

Lesson Number 1: we buy with our emotions

He was not the coffee table that I needed and had left home to buy. He squeaked like a squeeze toy and did an un-coordinated puppy dance when you set him down. On day one, he got so excited while we were playing that he peed on me. He was expensive and I was a student. I lived in a tiny studio apartment. I studied long hours every day, and could barely keep my apartment orderly without puppy pads and chew toys. This purchase made absolutely no sense for me.

Lesson Number 2: we may buy with our emotions, but then we justify with our logic.

As I trudged down the street carrying the yelping Billy in a box, my mind started pedaling. I had just ended a long-term relationship and needed the companionship. Billy would never let me down. Billy was loyal! Also, dogs are great for your health, that’s why they bring them into old people’s homes. Billy was practically medicinal. Or at the very least, therapeutic. Plus - I’ve always loved dogs. Why not treat myself with the things that I love? Why had I been denying myself happiness for all these years? I studied hard. Yes – great job! I thought to myself. Way to make a terrific purchase decision. The table can wait.


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