4 sales lessons we learned from our dads

Contributor, Sell to Win

When men become fathers, they become many other things, too.

Teacher. Lifeguard. Corrections officer. Amateur chef. Guy who suddenly starts wearing white sneakers with tube socks. The list goes on.

But one thing they might not be prepared for is turning into a Dad, in the most stereotypical sense of the word. For some men, it’s a receding transition. Growing a cool beard or keeping up with fashion trends may allow you to maintain some intrigue, but most fathers will inevitably become very similar versions of the men who raised them, right down to the bad jokes and constant complaints about the price of gas.

Still, there is some good news. It may have been tough to admit when we were kids, but the fact is Dad had a lot of wisdom to offer. In honor of Father’s Day, let’s look back at some valuable lessons our dads have shared with us, and how those nuggets of wisdom can apply to our own lives as salespeople. Are you intrigued? Hi Intrigued, I’m Dad! (Sorry, had to.)

Sweet moves, dad!

Lesson 1: “They Just Don’t Make Them Like They Used To”

Inevitably, Dad would share this little tidbit while he tried to fix a kitchen appliance for the third time in a month. I’m fairly certain this phrase was code for, “I probably should’ve just hired a guy for this, but I’m going to pretend like it’s the dishwasher’s fault.”

Whether that part is true or not, there’s an important lesson here. In a world where integrity and dependability are increasingly hard to come by, it’s important to associate your name with trust. Keep the promises you make to your prospects and provide more value than they’re expecting. If you fail to live up to the buyer’s standards, you’ll be lumped in with all those other broken dishwashers that talked a good game and didn’t deliver. So be the Maytag, okay?

Lesson 2: [*straps something down in a trailer*] “That’s Not Going Anywhere”

Ok, Dad. If you’re reading this, I’m just going to tell you that this one makes very little sense. Whatever you pack in a trailer is literally going somewhere. That’s why it’s in a trailer. But I suppose saying, “This is going exactly where I want it to go” would be even stranger.

Still, there’s a reason why a well-secured trailer is a point of pride for dads everywhere, and it’s something you can probably relate to. Success in sales depends a lot on preparation. If you’ve done all the prospect research you can and taken the time to construct a personalized solution for your buyer, you won’t have to worry about your pitch flying apart as soon as you hit the first bump in the road.

Improvising your way through a tricky sale can work in a pinch, but being prepared and having a sound process from the beginning gives you the confidence you need to sell effectively.

Lesson 3: “We’re Not Trying to Cool the Whole Neighborhood”

See also, “Do you need all of these lights on?” / “Who touched the dang thermostat?”

If you’ve ever left the front door open for more time than it took you to walk through it, you’ve heard this line. Dads are always calculating cost savings in their head, and no surprise, they want the whole family to be on board too. The problem is, they usually just sound like insane cheapskates yelling about air escaping. (Not my fault, Dad! I didn’t invent the principle of heat transfer!)

In this case, we’d suggest using Dad as an example of what not to do. If you’re facing a tough sale or are falling short of your monthly quota, your strong desire for a certain outcome might force you to be reactive and emotional—which reduces the chances of you getting the outcome you want.

If you feel like you’re losing your cool, step away and refocus before entering another interaction with a client. And always remember that inviting others to be a part of your solution without badgering them will ultimately result in a discussion that feels more positive for everyone involved.

Lesson 4: [*Dad makes bad throw*] “You’ve gotta learn to catch those”

How a dad can hide his own deficiencies and make his kid feel insecure all in one phrase is a skill I’ll never understand, but it’s extremely impressive.

Besides the slightly skewed moral code here, Dad actually makes a pretty good point. In sales, you are owed nothing. You might get stood up for a meeting. You might have a prospect make objections that are simply beyond your control. You might even not be crazy about the product you’re selling. Learning to adapt to the various curveballs you face is essential for success in the sales field. And when you let one slip past you, put in the work to make sure it doesn’t happen again the next time.

If any of these classic dad cliches made you cringe (or secretly made you smile), you’re in good company. Got any more dad lessons that we missed? Tweet them to us @nutshell!

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