The First “Art of Selling” Award Winner

"Art of Selling" Award

I’ve observed, bought from, trained, and worked with many extraordinary salespeople in my 30 years of business. And I’ve written and spoken about them at my training programs and presentations. It finally occurred to me last Saturday–as I was in front of such a salesperson–that I should formally recognize them when I see an outstanding, exemplary job of salesmanship.

So, as I was sipping on a cold Old Style, sitting in the warm sun at the Chicago Cubs Spring Training ballpark in Mesa, AZ, I devised the “Art of Selling” award.

It’s still a work-in-progress. For now, the criteria are that a salesperson must display sales skills beyond the average, ordinary, and expected.

The person’s example of professional salesmanship must be remarkable, and something worth sharing with my readers and clients.

Of course my business is selling and prospecting from the inside, but really, sales is sales, regardless of the form of communication, so honorees can be anyone. They don’t even need to have “sales” in their title, or necessarily have a job for that matter. The sales situation and example is what I am interested in.

I don’t know how frequently or how many of these recognitions I will award. I’d rather not have to follow a minimum, maximum, or time schedule. I’ll know it when I see it, whenever and however often it is.

There’s not a trophy, a plaque, a badge, or cash. Not even a logo yet. That all could change.

With that, here’s the first “Art of Sales” award winner.

The First Recipient
As I drove toward HoHoKam Park, the Chicago Cubs Spring Training facility, the line into the main north parking lot was backed up about a block. Being quite impatient and hating lines, I noticed the locals standing on the street waving their signs with “Parking $7” hand-scrawled on them.

It looked like a solid plan.

I wheeled a quick left onto a side street, and a guy on a bike–it was a team effort–escorted me a few houses away to a yard where he was parking cars. Before pulling in, I saw a little kid on the corner holding up another sign and yelling out to anyone in the area: “Water $1.”

After paying the guy, I walked back toward the main street to the stadium. The kid approached me as I walked by and very confidently and articulately said,

    “Sir, would you like a bottle of water? They are just $1, it’s a lot cheaper than what you would pay inside. It’s a hot day, and you can drink it walking to the stadium.”

I was shocked. Pleasantly shocked at how smooth this young boy was! He had no reservations about approaching me, he got my attention, and presented solid benefits with the eloquence of a seasoned sales adult.

I slowed, smiled at him, reached into my pocket, handed him a dollar bill and continued walking and told him, “Nice job.”

He now was the one who was surprised. “Don’t you want your water?”

“No,” you keep it and sell it again,” I said over my shoulder. “It was worth it just seeing and hearing you.”

I was still smiling a few steps later when the guy on the bike circled back by me. He said, “Not too bad for a seven-year old, huh?”

Now I stopped. “Excuse me, did you say seven?”

“Yeah, he’s my son. He enjoys it. Does a pretty good job, doesn’t he?”

Uh, yeah. He could likely hit quota right now at some companies.

Meet Will. Seven. As in years old.

It has been quite some time since my now-adult kids were seven, but I’m thinking that today, typical seven-year olds on this Saturday morning would be in front of a video game, playing with Legos, or eating cereal with their hands. Not out hustling bottled water to adults.

And proficiently at that.

I knew I at least had to get a picture, since there would be some kind of article here. We went back to him and his dad said, “He’d like to get a picture of you Will.”

Will didn’t know what to make of it at this point. I said, “Hold up a bottle of water.”

“Cold or warm?” That cracked me up. He’s a questioner too. It didn’t matter, I told him.

As I left his dad told me that besides loving being out there selling, that Will was also quite a baseball player. Well, with the ambition this boy has already shown, I wouldn’t bet against him doing well in that area.

But, if that doesn’t work out, he certainly has a very lucrative career ahead of him in sales. And now he has a sales award to put on his resume–although that would be quite a few years away.

Keep it up, Will!

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