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Salesmanship: How do you know if you love your job?

by Warren Tyler

Someone once said, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never work another day in your life.” I repeat this incessantly. In fact, I let people know, “I’ve never had a job.”

Part of my life in addition to teaching, speaking and consulting is spent as an indentured servant in my wife’s store which keeps me aware of what salespeople on the front lines go through, especially with today’s anxious and hard-nosed consumers. It’s also an opportunity to support another of my contentions, which is that I love what I do so much that I would do it for nothing—and not just because my wife doesn’t pay me.

So, in my retail salesman’s role, how do I know if I love my job? Last night while in bed reading, my wife, Tara, looked over at me and asked if something was wrong? Now Tara isn’t the most sensitive person in the world. Our children get punished for being sick. In 18 years I don’t ever remember her inquiring about my emotional state. Moreover, she walks the walk. Tired, sick or crippled, she is at her store seven days a week—most days for 12 hours or more. I haven’t figured out whether she is obsessed with the business or just loves it.

Once I got over the shock of Tara’s inquiry, I asked her, “Have you ever had moments of deep sadness?” She gave me a strange look. However I continued, “I was just laying here thinking of Noble and Mickey.”

In Vermont where we used to live, there is no ambient lighting, so without a moon, it is pitch black. Returning from trips I would go into the pasture and call just once and Noble, a huge red thoroughbred, would lead the charge unseen (scary) from a far corner, so eager was he to see me. Later in life, he was in such

pain from an earlier episode that he couldn’t walk. I called the vet, “When do you know when it’s the end?” The answer was when he isn’t glad to see you anymore. That never happened. But upon an examination, the vet said it was time, and that she would take him and bury him. Well, she came with help, but when I came home later in the evening, they had been unable to load him. I walked over, took his lead and he followed me onto the trailer. To the very end, he trusted me.

Mickey the Briard was an AKC champion and my best friend always, died in my arms one evening after a long life. As I told my wife, after a few perfunctory days, I never grieved over people, only my animals. They never let you down. Friends and family can’t com- pare. In the words of James Taylor, “They’ll hurt you and deceive you.” But never Noble and Mickey.

So, what does this have to do with selling? Even in my bluest moments, the instant the first customer comes in, my thoughts from last night of Mickey and Noble vanish, letting me know how much I love selling. Even the most difficult customers can’t upset me. They are the best; for they present me with a challenge that I always win.

Always Warren? I didn’t say I sell everyone first time in. I am saying that using the human skills I learned long ago and teach now, I just can’t remember a customer with whom I failed to get into a comfortable conversation. Some of the techniques of getting close to a customer are having the courage to broach subjects others avoid, never talking about flooring until she asks, and always speaking about the customer’s interests and never our own.

Warren Tyler has 52 years of retail flooring experience. He is one of the industry’s most sought after speakers, and his training materials are among the most requested. Call 804.384.7588 or email