Have you learned lessons in your work that have helped you become a better husband?
Each of us is surrounded by sales on a daily basis, and each of us sells things. Sometimes you sell your children on doing homework. Perhaps you sell your boss on giving you extra vacation days. Or maybe you sell your spouse on why she should marry you.
Selling is the act of persuading someone of the merit or value of something or someone. And an excellent seller is focused on bringing value to others and being of service.
I have worked in sales for the majority of my career, and it has blessed my family, my clients and my marriage. Here are three things that helped me and that will surely help you.
1. It’s not about you!
An effective salesperson focuses on the well-being of the other person and the value of the offer. It’s a stark contrast to the horror stories we sometimes hear about a salesperson who is focused solely on himself. He offers the buyer the item that provides the biggest commission. This renders a one-sided gain for the salesperson and leaves the buyer, who will not likely return for a second purchase, dissatisfied.
In contrast, an effective seller understands the benefit of establishing trust and offering value to build lasting relationships. He understands that he must seek first to establish trust and credibility. A great seller does as Steve Covey teaches, “seek first to understand, (the buyer and his needs) then to be understood.” He learns of the buyers’ most pressing desires and needs and seeks to offer the best solution for the customer. The buyer trusts that the seller truly cares for his well-being.
A great husband loves his wife, so he implements this same principle. My first priority is caring for my wife. I understand what is most important to my wife, and I focus on her well-being.
For instance, I understand that she enjoys flowers, so I occasionally pick up flowers and write a note. “Just because it’s __________.” You can fill the blank with anything. I understand that she typically has tiring days at work, so I make dinner for her. Or maybe it’s as simple as turning off the football game to do something she enjoys.
The principle of caring for your spouse more than yourself can be applied to a variety of situations. The outcome, however, is always the same: When you care for others first, you will be cared for, in the end, whether you are a salesperson, husband or father.
2. Time, creativity and effort produce value.
Many sellers struggle to find people who are interested in buying what they have to offer, a process known as prospecting. Just like the name implies, prospecting is often a tedious and difficult process.
Sellers must call many people, engage in online activities and obtain referrals from those in their network. When you find a great potential client, you sometimes have to be creative to prove the value of your offer. This is why many salespeople don’t like sales, and why some never succeed.
Finding the right client could be compared to the dating stage: finding the right person to settle down with. I met my best friend when I was 14, and I was immediately interested. On her 16th birthday, I was so creative that I got her a “pre-diamond.” I gave her a rock, and I wrote her a note saying, “When heated and pressed over time, this will become a diamond.” She kept it for years and told me about it when we got married 14 years later. Sometimes you must be patient and creative when searching for “the one.”
3. You must maintain the relationship after you close the deal.
A relationship is a delicate thing and must be maintained properly if it is to last a lifetime. Too many times, great clients leave companies because of neglect or diminishing value. Sometimes a salesperson thinks that clients will stay forever, so he becomes preoccupied with other things. The dissatisfied client will eventually leave.
Great sellers stay in constant communication with clients, taking care of issues before they arise and working to exceed expectations. They understand the importance of maintaining a long-lasting relationship.
In marriage, the same thing applies. I learned that I must commit to my spouse. This means spending time with her and not being distracted by other activities or people. All relationships have issues, but it is your responsibility to take care of them: apologize when you mess up and do all you can to prevent issues from happening again.
To strengthen our relationship, my wife and I have a dedicated date night each week. We have each other’s best interest in mind, and we seek to establish “value” to one another. I still surprise her with flowers and a note saying, “just because it’s ________.”
For us, marriage is everything, and we’ve recognized that it is important to maintain and strengthen it at all cost.
Become a salesman
I’m not suggesting that you should quit your job as a financial analyst or construction worker and became a sales professional. What I am saying is that you need to learn to sell. Remember the definition from above: “the act of persuading someone of the merits or value of something or someone.”
Focus on bringing value to your wife. Focus on her well-being and the well-being of your family. Become creative and patient. And maintain your precious relationship. If you do this, you’ll become a great “salesperson” and naturally become a better husband. It sure has worked for me.
Photo: Flickr/ projectphoto.ch