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Great Salespeople Are Not Rip-Off Artists

Dan Giese has been a professional baseball player since being drafted by the Red Sox in 1999. But until two days ago, when he was called up to the Major Leagues by the San Francisco Giants, he had spent his entire career in the minor leagues.

In 2005, dealing with the frustration of not making it to the big leagues and having to support a family (his wife was pregnant with their first child), Dan Giese quit baseball and went to work selling cars at a Honda dealership in San Diego.

Unfortunately for Dan he found sales even harder than playing ball, which is why he’s back playing ball. However, a big part of Dan’s problem was that he had no conception of what it takes to be a good salesperson, or even what a good salesperson could be. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

“I think I sold maybe five or six cars in two months, so I was probably going to get fired anyway," he said. "I was telling people, ‘This isn’t a good deal at all.’ Usually Honda buyers are young, like my age, so you know how much money they make. I couldn’t rip them off. I’m just not a salesman, I guess."

There are so many stupid assumptions in that quote, it’s hard to know where to begin. The first thing that jumped out at me was that Dan Giese believes a good salesperson is someone who rips people off. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that the most successful salespeople do it on repeat business and referrals. How much repeat and referral business do you think you’d bring in if you were ripping people off?

The second dumb assumption is that “Honda buyers are young, like my age, so you know how much money they make.” It’s obvious that Dan Giese didn’t do his homework (like great salespeople do). Off the top of my head I know three Honda owners who are my age or older (not young) and are in the upper income brackets. And here’s another question: Why does Dan assume that just because these people are young they don’t have very much income? Not everyone is a minor league baseball pitcher, struggling to scrape together a living. Some young people coming out of college make very substantial incomes; just the other day I heard of a hospital that was paying first year nurses $80,000 with a $20,000 signing bonus.

Honda has cars like the Fit and Civic that start at under $15,000. They also have cars like the S2000, Pilot and Ridgeline, which start at around $30,000.

There are far too many salespeople who only sell what THEY can afford, and assume that’s all the client can afford. Maybe, instead of assuming, Dan Giese should have talked to the prospects and asked questions about how much money they have, how much they earn, whether or not they believe their income will be going up in the next couple of years and then put them in a car that fit their income and cash flow. That’s what a great salesperson does.

I hope Mr. Giese works harder at succeeding in baseball than he did at sales. Otherwise his stay in the Major Leagues will be just as short as his time with Honda.

One Response to “Great Salespeople Are Not Rip-Off Artists”

  1. Eric Segler says:

    Dan Giese gives salespeople a bad name. Inexperience and unwillingness to get to know your prospects and ignorance in what he was selling resulted in this.

    I've seen a few of your seminars on dvd, and if Mr. Giese had even seen one of them, he would have known how to work with what he had, and enjoy doing it.

    I am a new employee at a DSL and Long Distance company, and thanks to your DVDs, I have more sense than Mr. Giese.

    Good luck to Giese with the baseball career, he'll need it.

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