A Tale of Two Sales People: My Recent Purchase Experience

For the past five years I’ve been pulling my kids in a trailer and occasionally riding for myself on a bike I bought over twenty years ago.

My sons are growing up, learning to ride their own bikes, and finding their own fun on two wheels, so I decided it was time for me to rediscover the long-distance riding I enjoyed.

I wanted to buy a new bike, but I wasn’t ready to walk into a store and speak with a salesperson. Bikes had become so much more technologically advanced and expensive since I last purchased one.

As I started to research all of the new advancements and possibilities, I was reminded of the steps my customers take when they’re looking to purchase new equipment or technology. They do a ton of research, speak with friends and colleagues, and are about 80% ready to buy when I’m brought in as one of the salespeople to compete for the deal.

My online research and readings had me about 60% ready to buy, but I needed to speak with someone who was knowledgeable about bikes and had made a similar and more recent purchase, so I immediately called my friend Dominic.

For years Dominic has been riding competitively, leading tour groups and gravel rides, and even organizes a one-day ride across Illinois from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, which I will be doing in 2023.

Dominic asked me about the riding I like to do, my research, and what was important to me. Our conversation led me to start looking for an aluminum bike that sat up higher in front with higher-end components to help with my long-distance rides.

Now I was ready to walk into a bike store and start my buying process.

I told the first salesperson about the two different bikes I was interested in, the level of components, and that I wanted it in aluminum. He immediately took me to the more expensive carbon fiber bikes and explained why I should consider these instead. They did have some cool features that the aluminum bikes didn’t, but it would cost me more than I budgeted for or really needed. I reminded him that I didn’t want carbon fiber, but he immediately doubled down on why it was so important and shouldn’t consider anything else. I thanked him for his time and walked out of the store.

The salesperson at the second store had a completely different approach. I mentioned the bikes I was interested in and wasn’t shown any bikes at all. Instead, like my friend Dominic, he started asking questions about my current bike, the riding I like to do, how often I ride, and where I like to ride.

He agreed the bikes I wanted to see would work well and then pointed out that there were some awesome gravel trails where I liked to ride and asked if I did any gravel riding.

I told him that I’d always wanted to but thought I needed a different type of bike for gravel. He brought me over to one of the bikes and explained how this one had everything I was looking for in a road bike, but also had the capability to ride on gravel because of the carbon fork and wider wheelbase that allowed for gravel tires.

My world just doubled in size. I could do all of the long-distance road rides, and then switch out the tires to explore all the gravel and dirt trails I used to just pass by.

Then to top it all off, he explained how to get used to the new disc brakes, their generous return policy, and how I’d receive two complimentary tune-ups. This reminded me of the level of service that Benco Dental and our manufacturing partners work to offer our customers so they’re happy and comfortable with their big purchases for years to come.

The exact bike I purchased was available for the same price at both stores I visited. Which store do you think I bought it from?

Buying my new bike turned out to be such an awesome experience. I was provided with incredible service, an amazing product that exceeded my expectations, an opportunity to reflect on my customer’s purchasing process, and a spark to want to write more stories like this.

I strive to run my customer meetings by focusing on the customer’s point of view, asking the best questions, truly listening to their needs, and always working to show them their gravel roads.

If you’re looking for a dental sales representative and full-service distributor who puts the customer first and will work to get you what you want, please reach out to me or your local Benco Dental representative.

Why You Need a System to be Successful in Sales

The most successful customers and businesses I’ve worked with always had a system. That’s why I’m on a mission to create my own system that will allow me to work on the extra things in my career and life that I know will help me achieve my vision for success. 

I’ve been able to identify some new methods that are helping me accomplish more of these extra tasks—but I’ve also come across some that I know won’t work for me, like habit stacking. If habit stacking would work for me, I’d floss more.

And even though habit stacking doesn’t work for me—habit tracking does.

One morning I was scrolling through my podcasts for a sales topic that spoke to me. I have a few staple sales podcasts where I like the host and their interview style, so I usually skim their topics until something jumps out at me. The air dates don’t really matter because the great sales tactics and sales people are always timeless. If the podcast really resonates with me then I will check out the guest’s website or podcast—they all have them.

While scrolling through the Salesman Podcast with Will Barron, a certain title caught my eye: Why Strategy, Not Working More Makes Millionaires with Brian Margolis (show #615 April 12, 2019).

In the podcast Margolis explains how his Pillars System helps you create a simple weekly strategy that allows sales professionals and entrepreneurs to earn more by focusing on less. 

Your tasks in The Pillars System are meant to be kept simple and small enough to fit on an index card. I immediately took interest in Brian’s system because it highlights how improving on a certain skill or executing some tasks more regularly will help your business and career take major leaps over time. 

I reached out to Brian via LinkedIn and asked him why people need systems and why the Pillars System works he said, 

“You can grind your way to a certain level of success with just your talents/skills alone, but if you want to go to the next level, you need to have an actual strategy. A strategy that tells you ahead of time where to intentionally spend your limited mental energy.  If you count on making the right decisions about where to spend your time and energy in the heat of the moment, you will usually do the urgent, not the significant.”

The Pillar System is a proven way to create that strategy.

Here is how The Pillars System is supposed to look on an index card. 

PillarsIdeasTo Do 
One BlogFuture Blog IdeaMeeting
3 WorkoutsNetworking GroupWeekly To Do List
4 Hours STA
1 Hour Website
Stain Deck

The first column is for your Pillars and other two columns on the index card are for your To-Do list and an Ideas section. 

The To-Do list has your main tasks for the day, these are the tasks that you already perform on a regular basis for your work or personal life. The ideas column is for the thoughts that pop in your head throughout the week that you may want to work on. You put these new ideas here so you can re-visit them later and so they won’t interfere with your daily routine

Here are some of my Pillars that I identified as things I wanted to work on and accomplish each week:

  • One blog 
  • 3 workouts (20 mins + stretch + 25 pu)
  • 4 hours STA
  • 1 hour on website

The list of four things you see above are the extra things I want to work on each week in addition to my regular job and family obligations. It contains both professional and personal goals. The tasks are written in shorthand to fit on the index card everyday.

Here’s what each Pillar actually means for me:

  1. One blog – My goal is to finish one blog draft each week. It doesn’t have to be ready to post but I should be able to send it to my editor for future posting. Now I added in the finalization of a draft I received back from my editor to post. This pillar actually started as just writing for two hours a week in order to make writing become a habit but it evolved over time.  
  1. 3 workouts (20 mins + stretch + 25 push ups) – This actually started off with more days and longer workouts but I soon realized that pillar that wasn’t being reached each week so I changed it to three days a week and only twenty minutes. This made the task more manageable and shortly after that I was checking it off each week. 
  1. 4 hours Sharpening the AX (STA) – This refers to doing outside learning about sales and other subjects that I believe will help my business. It can be reading a book, article or listening to podcasts. Podcasts allowed me to increase this from two hours to four. 
  1. 1 hour website – Everyone said to do a WordPress site and it just takes time to learn. I’m still learning.

The Pillars strategy allowed me to frame each week with my main tasks like meetings, sales calls, family duties and then add in my dream tasks (Pillars): writing, working out, reading/learning, etc. 

One of the other things that the Pillars System emphasized was having a Friday Night Feeling: something that left you feeling finished at the end of each week. I took that one step further to make sure each day I had a Five O’Clock Feeling. And before any of you super sales people or wannabe Gary Vees start messaging me on how, “There are no weekends!” “I never stop working!” Or “This is why you’ll never achieve your dreams!” Just Stop.

The Friday Night and Five O’Clock feeling allow me to look back at the end of each day and each week and have a sense of accomplishment knowing I did what I set out to do. This allowed me to then look forward to tomorrow’s tasks and enjoy the time I had with my family. 

Remember, the system is all about focus and simplicity and not more work.

Habit tracking through Pillars has allowed me to accomplish things I’ve been talking about doing for too long. One of the other real benefits is that it has allowed me to be present and actually enjoy what I’m working on at that moment. 

Before I would get frustrated that I was working on something when I really wanted to be working on what I was dreaming of—knowing deep down that I wouldn’t be working on that either—and that’s where the real frustration lied. But now I am working on those dream projects and seeing rapid growth. I also know that these Pillars will eventually become habits and part of my daily routine which will allow me to create and conquer new Pillars. I may actually learn how to play guitar one day. 

If you thought learning new habits was hard, see what happens in my next post where I’m forced to think of myself as a brand, a logo and just a few adjectives. 

Here’s a preview — I literally made myself look like a dick.