If You Don’t Believe In It, Don’t Sell It!

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The Vacuum Cleaner Guy

Lessons from a vacuum cleaner salesman.

Lessons from a vacuum cleaner salesman.

In my younger days, I sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get sucked in to selling a brand name vacuum that folks would’ve recognized (e.g. Kirby or Rainbow).

Nope, I let myself get duped into selling a canister vac named “FairFax”… a little R2D2 chromed-out dome with red rubber bumper trim.

Have you ever even heard of a FairFax vacuum cleaner?

I Made Five Presentations

In total, I cleaned 5 people’s homes for free made 5 presentations with that little machine…

Presentation #1 – SOLD (Thanks Mom!)

Presentation #2 – NO SALE (They laughed at me, but graciously lined up my next appt with the neighbor across the street.)

Presentation #3 – NO SALE (She said “Yes!”, but her husband heard her whispered acceptance. He jumped in and loudly yelled “No!” He then shoved showed me the door.)

Presentation #4 – NO SALE (He actually said “Yes!” too, but the finance company said “No!”. In those days you needed a home phone to get approved for a high-risk 29% financed loan.)

Presentation #5 – SOLD (Actually, she said “No!”, but called me back and said “Yes!” a week later. She said she kept thinking about the dust mites demonstration and finally decided she couldn’t sleep on her bug-infested bed any longer.)

After a grand total of 5 presentations, I retired from the vacuum cleaner selling business.

5 years after I left the business, my mom finally finished paying off her FairFax loan.

That was a cruel thing to do to my Mom for sure, but to this day I still feel most guilty about selling Presentation #5.

We Cleaned The Whole House

My newlywed wife and I cleaned Presentation #5’s house for her — up one side and down the other using the FairFax vacuum.

We worked hard for an entire afternoon cleaning carpets, curtains, floors, mattresses, pillows, air ducts and more… after all, it was a pretty good little vacuum cleaner.

The problem wasn’t that I only made $200 on the sale. There was a bigger problem.

So what was my problem with #5?

The Devil In The Details

That sweet old lady had just bought a brand new, state of the art, Kirby vacuum cleaner.

Part of my FairFax training was to take the old vacuum cleaner out of the house in trade before leaving the new vacuum cleaner. The customer got a generous trade-in credit, but this was a special circumstance.

It wasn’t a big deal when I lugged my Mom’s old Eureka vacuum out of her house. She was glad to see it go, and happy to get the trade-in credit, but my Mom’s vacuum cleaner was almost worthless when she bought the new one.

The sweet, old lady reminded me, as I struggled to lug her brand new Kirby, and all of her expensive attachments, out the front door, that she had just paid $1,300 for it.

Either I had done such a great job selling her that FairFax vacuum cleaner or she felt really bad about us cleaning her entire house — she helped me get everything out the door.

As I left her house, I was sure she really wanted the new vacuum cleaner; she had been impressed with all of the features and attachments we had been using to clean her home. I really believe she was happy, but I didn’t feel right.

The Kirby Trade-In

Was there anything wrong with her Kirby? NOPE!

My manager was more than happy to have me bring it in.

He promptly paid me a $200 commission for the sale (and then probably turned around and sold the Kirby for twice that much.)

The Moral of The Story

Regardless of whether or not you think I should feel guilty about the deal, the point is this… “If you don’t believe in it, don’t sell it!”

I didn’t believe in what I was doing. I had no business selling her that vacuum cleaner, or taking hers in trade, but I did.

You’ll never be successful selling something if you’re not completely sold on it yourself.


If You Don't Believe In It, Don't Sell It!, 4.8 out of 5 based on 2 ratings