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Why I Do What I Do or How I Fell in Love with Sales

Best Buy.  That is the answer.  It all starts with Best Buy.  I ended up working at Best Buy a few years removed from law school because of two reasons: 1. Working in law was nothing like Perry Mason (shout out Mom for always watching it with me); and 2. Because I was really bad at law (I like to say I was the Heath Shuler of Law – high draft pick quick career). 

Lucky for me my brother was looking for a holiday job and was applying to Best Buy. He suggested I apply as well.  So I did…for overnight merchandiser.  I did not want anyone knowing I was working there and figured that was the best way to keep a low profile. 

During my interview, they suggested that I work on the sales floor instead.  Reluctantly, I agreed.  Little did I know that it would change my life. 

So when did I fall in love, and how did it happen? In particular, there was one sales experience that taught me what sales was all about:  Listening to people, earning the right to make suggestions, and getting them to the right solution.  What follows, is the story of that experience.

It was December Something or Other, 2003 and I had been working on the Best Buy sales floor for about two and half months.  I had been fairly successful, so I had moved on from Appliances to Digital Imaging (this was so long ago that people still bought cameras) and then onto finally Home Theater.  It was there where the sales interaction that changed my life happened. 

That day I was zoned in the large TV section (not HDTV, just 32-36”).  A few hours into my shift I noticed an older gentleman in a red hat, overalls, and long sleeve shirt (it was December, and he really should have been wearing a jacket), standing in front of 36” TV.  I walked over and introduced myself.  He told me he wanted to buy the TV he was looking at and asked if I could get him one from the back. 

I told him I would be happy to but asked if he would mind if I asked him a few questions to make sure it was the right set.  He said that was fine.  Through discovery, I uncovered that he was buying the set to watch hockey with his wife, whom no longer could go to the arena.  I asked if he had ever seen hockey on HD.  He said he had not.

At that time, Best Buy was running a loop on the TVs that showed some of the HD content that was available.  I walked him over to a Sony XDR tube TV, and when he saw the hockey game we were playing, he was blown away.  He was also a bit taken aback by the price and scared of the new technology.  I assured him that I would get him everything he needed, diagram how to connect everything, and if he was not happy he could always return everything for a full refund. 

He agreed that the picture was leaps and bounds better than standard definition and decided to purchase the set, accessories, and sign up for HD service.  I rang him out, and he was on his way.  I was happy with our interaction and moved on to the next customer. 

A few weeks later I was helping another gentleman when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around I vaguely recognized the face—the gentleman from a few weeks before—but before I could say anything, he started to address my current customer, saying: “Trust this man. He has your best interests at heart.  A few weeks ago I came into buy a TV so my wife could watch hockey with me since she can no longer go to the games.  He sold me an HDTV, and now we watch all the games. I make her popcorn, and we sit and watch like we were there at the stadium.  I cannot thank him enough.” He then shook my hand, said thank you and walked away. 

I now think of that story anytime I want to take a sales short-cut or feel like I know my clients needs better than they do before asking them any questions.  I also think of that experience when people tell me the salespeople are slimy. No, we are not. Real sales people are empathetic, strong listeners, and problem solvers.  Thank you, Best Buy for changing my life.

Now with Maestro Group, I am focused on helping sales people change the perception. If you are interested, please go to to get on our waiting list for our patented new offering.