GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Your products are your jewels

Respect what you sell

by Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

There is an old story I have heard many times, and I am old enough to have to admit that I have told and retold it many times myself.

Charles Wentworth III (name changed to protect the great salesperson) was the most successful salesperson in the history of the Acme Hardware Company (phony name, I have no idea who he worked for, but the rest of this story is true, I swear) His specialty was nuts, and bolts, and screws, and washers, a true commodity sale if there ever was one. But Charles Wentworth III loved his products, he loved his nuts, and bolts, and screws, and washers, so much that he treated them as respectfully as if they were the Queen’s jewels. Yes, he treated them like jewels.

He created a display case out of fine cherry wood, so beautifully crafted that it was more like a jewelry box than a display case for nuts, and bolts, and screws, and washers. He compartmentalized the inside of the case into little sections to hold all of the various types of nuts, and bolts, and screws, and washers. And then he lined the inside of the box with fine royal purple velvet cloth. It was a box worthy of holding Tiffany diamonds.

He then had all his sample nuts, and bolts. and screws. and washers, Nickle plated so that they shone like the chrome on the Queen’s Rolls Royce, and he placed them all perfectly, into his beautifully-lined display case.

Then he traveled around the countryside in a chauffeur driven limousine, visiting one hardware store chain president after another. (by late in his career, he had become so successful that he was only dealing with the top brass, who loved seeing him coming)

Once inside the big shot’s office he would take his time. Get comfortably situated in a chair on the other side of the desk, and take out his “jewelry box” and tip it towards the customer to let him see his magnificent nuts, and bolts, and screws, and washers…his jewels

He would them place the box firmly on his side of the desk, pull out a pair of sparking white silk gloves and put them on before he would take out one of the nuts, or bolts, or screws, or washers, and show them, just show them to the head honcho, who most of the time was shaking in anticipation of actually holding one of these gems. But when El Capo, went to reach for one, Charles Wentworth III would quickly pull it away out of the president’s hand and wagging his finger at him, reach into his bag and pull out another pair of sparkling white silk gloves for the CEO to wear before he handled those precious wares!

You see, Charles Wentworth III, was not just selling nuts, and bolts, and screws, and washers, he was selling solutions, beautiful plated representations of the products he was so proud to be selling. He was treating products that probably sold for ten cents a pound as if they were worth a proverbial king’s ransom. He treated his products with great respect. And that made Mr. Charles Wentworth III the most successful hardware salesman in the world!

How about you? Do you treat your products with respect? Do you deliver your services with the utmost professionalism? If not, then I would urge you to learn from Charles Wentworth III the greatest hardware salesman in the world, to heart and start doing so today, it’s a great way to separate your services and products from your competitors, and an even better way to grow your business.


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