Just one customer


Here is an old story worth repeating.

An enthusiastic young salesman applied for a salesman’s job at a megastore similar to Walmart that sells a wide variety of stuff.

He is hired and begins his first day at work.

After the day ends, the sales manager comes to him and asks, “How many people did you sell to today?”

The salesman replies, “One.”

The manager got angry and said, “Most other salespeople here sell to a minimum of 15 people per day. You should be ashamed to call yourself a salesperson!” The salesman keeps quiet. The manager asks him, “By the way, how much money did we make on that sale?”

The salesman says, “Around $100,000.”

The manager can’t believe his ears and says, “$100,000 in one sale!! How the heck did you do that?”

Salesman – “Well, a man came in, and I sold him a fish hook and a fishing rod. Then I suggested he should take his friends along. Then I sold some more fishing gear for his friends and convinced him to buy that as well as a lot of fish bait.”

The sales manager then asked, “Well, that’s smart, but it does not equal $100,000.”

Salesman – “Yeah, so then I asked him if he had any accommodation to stay near the place he planned to go fishing. He did not, so I suggested he buy our premium camping tents for himself and his friends. He agreed!”

The manager replies, “Wow! Then what?”

The salesman replies, “When he was about to leave, I asked him where he planned to go fishing. He said he was going to go down the coast. I then suggested that he get a powerful motorboat for that, big enough to accommodate a couple of his friends. He bought them.”

Sales manager – “Seriously?! Then what?”

Salesman – “He was then about to leave, but then I asked him how he planned to transport the boat, the camping tents, and all that gear.” He said he had a mid-sized car. I said that car wouldn’t be able to pull the boat. So, I suggested he buy our powerful 4X4 pickup truck, and he did!!”

The sales manager is astonished and can’t believe what the salesperson managed to pull off. He exclaims – “You sold all that to a guy who came to buy a fishing rod?!”

The salesman responds. “No, he came to buy medicines to reduce stress. I looked at him and said, Sir, FISHING is a far better way to reduce stress!”

I seriously doubt that this is a real story apart from eliciting a few laughs or two from us, but we can derive profound lessons from this anecdote. While business people would immediately emphasize “cross-selling,” which is not a bad idea after all, you can expand your thinking and consider the other insights.

Do not underestimate the potential of newbies. Given the opportunity, they might surprise the veterans with what they can accomplish. One sale versus multiple sales on the surface may not be impressive, but have you ever considered the deal’s value rather than to consider the quantity of the transaction? This makes me think of people who are always busy with activities, but do not produce meaningful results. It also reminds me that we are always impressed with significant volume transactions and sales, but how does the bottom line look at the end of the day?

The story also reminds me that the initial transaction may not be vast and significant in many of my own entrepreneurial experiences. Still, once good service is offered, and a relationship is developed, the business will always grow and expand.

What this anecdote teaches us is that in all transactions, we need to do three things:

1.  ATTENTIVE LISTENING. What is the customer looking for?

2. CAREFUL OBSERVATION. Is the customer sure that the thing he or she is looking for is what is needed?

3.  INTELLIGENT INQUIRY. You might discover that what the customer is looking for may not yield the best advantage through careful questioning. Then you would be in a better position to recommend something else that can provide maximum benefit.

In other words, and as often as I would mention in the many webinars I give today, if you do this, you cease be an effective salesperson, instead, you graduate into becoming a valued consultant.

All these are not complicated; they are called “excellent customer service.” And even if not all your customers love you because you fail to provide them with good service, do not be discouraged; somebody else will still love them and will not leave them abandoned. They are called your competitors.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class online will be held from Aug. 25 to 27. Develop your leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)



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