General Fiction posted July 6, 2022


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All the world is a stage and I was but a simple salesman...

Capitalist Survival 101

by Reese Turner


My father was a salesman. Not by choice, but life leads us where it will and we either enjoy the ride or live in frustration. Also a Sunday School teacher, his SERVICE to others was natural. Those examples proved to be foundational to what I ever accomplished in sales.

In my late teens, I became active for a political candidate in my state. One of that candidate's leading supporters came to visit; a wealthy, successful marketeer who wanted to inspire us. Somebody asked him how his success related to our candidate, relative to promoting him. He answered, "Your key to success is in your mirror: Stand close, focus on eye contact, practice great smiling, recognize that YOUR formula for success is that you have two ears but only one mouth; Listen twice as much as you speak" - And, speak mostly using questions. Repeat and record customers' answers." We lost that election, but I gained a winning formula for life.

In my twenties, I served our country in a foreign land where my duties included work with local leaders and politicians. I was not the "officer", but rather his assistant. He was a great Navy Captain, always committed to representing our country well. I wrote his speeches and worked the crowd as he spoke. I learned so much from those warm, humble people and from how he demonstrated such sincere respect for them!

Later, after college, in corporate life, all three points above merged. My degree was in International Business. Selling industrial products was our mission. In my thirties, I gave sales training to new hires, made sales calls with them. In my forties, I gave sales and marketing lectures at a local university. My "teaching" - always essentially those three points, tailored for relevance:

> Address any sales opportunity focused on SERVING the customer's needs.
> Ask questions! Listen carefully, then ask more detailed questions based upon
their answers. Write down their answers. Demonstrate sincere interest.
> Empathize with customers and their needs. Immediately write a follow up (I used
hand-written post cards to insure they remembered me). Keep it brief, never
gushy, but unquestionably sincere. My Captain taught me to teach. It starts with
connecting!

Non-teachers are challenged by the taught. Students are naturally skeptical of outsiders. Therefore, for effective teaching, the guest lecturer must believe in the subject and have obvious, comprehensive experience from application. Through teaching, I stayed motivated and sharp, knowing the taught would be judging me.

My class closing: "Sales is not for everybody. Competition is tough. Disappointments are inevitable. Your own company will sometimes let you down. Your legal and credit people can be hard-nosed. Your vacations will never be without interruptions via customers' unforeseen, urgent needs: YOUR opportunities! Finally, bosses will always push you. Yet, free travel, fine dining with customers (avec sassy wines) at star restaurants, swanky hotels, rent cars, golf on Fridays, most weekends off? Hey, somebody has to do it!"

I called my teaching, "Capitalist Survival 101".



Teaching Affected Me contest entry


BTW, My WORD program says 498 words! Words cannot express what my Navy service, two years in the Philippines and tutoring from Captain Burke meant to my life. I shall not bore you with my toys and joys, but I will always be in his debt for giving me some great coordinates by which to chart my course for life. And, I never miss an opportunity to express my love and appreciation for the Filipino people. I shall seek out Barrio Fiestas in Heaven! And to my dad. A great salesman for his products and Jesus.
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© Copyright 2022. Reese Turner All rights reserved.
Reese Turner has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.