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Selling by helping


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Winter had struck in Iowa. Unfortunately it also had arrived inside my house. It was a balmy 56 degrees. And dropping like a rock.

I was home alone after farming my family out to a warmer home. Naturally, this happened on a Sunday, so I was weighing whether I wanted to suck it up and pay the time and a half or wait until Monday to get it fixed. I called my furnace repair shop of choice and explained to the woman who answered that the furnace would not come on and it was getting nippy.

I asked her what the difference in cost would be if they came out right away or waited until Monday. She politely told me and pointed out where the cost variations were the most significant.

Ouch. OK, I told her … I think I will wait it out. After all, I am from Minnesota. We live for this weather. Being cold would help me stay alert and get some work done, right?

Then she said, “Don’t forget to fire up enough space heaters to protect your pipes from freezing.”

Hold up a second! I hadn’t thought about the pipes freezing. There was only one space heater in the house. I did the quick mental math and decided that going out to buy five or six more heaters or calling around to our friends and neighbors to borrow a bunch seemed like a bad plan.

See what she did? Sneaky. She cared about my situation. She offered good counsel. She didn’t push her service. She didn’t argue with my decision. She actually tried to help me avoid buying from her that night. And in doing so, she let me figure out that I needed what she was selling.

The very best selling looks a whole lot like helping.

Drew McLellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and blogs at www.drewsmarketingminute.com. He can be reached at Drew@MclellanMarketing.com. © 2009 Drew McLellan

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