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A small startup asked me to come out to London to train their sales team a couple weeks ago. Naturally, I was happy to oblige. As we worked out the final details − dates, travel, and accommodations − I learned their US-based team had rented a house for a couple weeks. Since they are a young, not-yet cash-flush company, they asked that I take the most economical flight − even if it meant me staying an additional night or two; the house had an extra bedroom, so that cost was fixed. It sounded great to me; I’d get to dust off my sales enablement skills and get to spend a weekend in London (and this time [theoretically] without the burden of a broken ankle). So I booked my trip and off I went.  

Last week I had the pleasure of trying to get un-change for a fifty at Walmart. That is, I had two twenties and two fives and hoped to exchange them for one crisp fifty dollar bill. Knowing that cashiers seldom have the power to open the magic money drawer on their own, I used a greeting card purchase to facilitate access. My transaction totaled 4 bucks and change, and, in an attempt to lessen the complexity of the interaction I handed the cashier $60 and instructed he to give me a fifty as part of my change. First he yelled at me for giving him too much money. I reexplained my intentions, but he insisted that we must first complete the transaction. I then conceded and took the $15 in fives he handed me, stripped away one, added the couple twenties and attempted to return to the man $50 in exchange for, again, a $50 bill (which, BTW I could see in the drawer). 

First a little back story. Last summer I reached into one of my air return vents (Yes, I do weird things from time to time) and found a clump of plaster the size of a baseball. Upon further investigation many of the air returns were similarly debris ridden, so I went into this knowing full well I could stand the brush cleaning, as I doubted a vacuum alone would yield the power necessary to move large rocks. On a separate note, working from home has left me with some old-lady habits, like thumbing thru all the junk mailer coupons every week. I’m amused by how the price of the same product fluctuates so wildly from week to week, and find myself eager to see what BS gimmick these companies will try next. About a month ago I noticed a steep downward price trend in duct vacuuming, and when a company hit $25 bucks, I pulled the trigger.

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Erin Wilson is the author and publisher of the Sapient Salesman

A "sapient salesman"?

 A sapient salesman is tasked with being a psychologist, technologist, empathist, humorist, conversationalist, and a dozen other “ists” in the course of practicing their salescraft. Most people can’t wear that many hats, and these tidbits are designed to minimize your millinery mandates. Read more

The Book

Look for The Sapient Salesman: Spinning Life into Lessons, One Tale at a Time on later this year!

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