Sell the Gristle Not the Steak

Stay Right Here because These are The Good Old Days
When I turned 16 and got my driver’s license (yes – there were cars back then), the torch was passed to me  to become the official Grandma driver.  As my sister and brother before me, I now had the job of taking Grandma to the grocery store, where she educated me on how to select the best groceries.

Take frozen items from the back of the case; open the egg carton and make sure there are no cracks; pay close attention to the produce guy as he weighed your tomatoes or green beans.   These were some of the practical things that she taught me.   Other than the now extinct produce guy, I continue to follow Grandma’s rules especially as they relate to business.

Most of them made perfect sense to me — until one fateful day!

The Steak
Grandma had  a fixed income with not too much available for luxuries.  Once in a while she would splurge, pass up the chicken and decide to enjoy a steak.  The first time I helped her choose a good one, I learned a lesson that has helped me in business lo these many years – Particularly in sales.

I was not a steak maven by any means but I had certainly enjoyed my share while growing up.

My Mom did the shopping but she and Dad shared the cooking.  Steak was his job.   I used to stand with him near the hibachi while he cooked up the steak and he would make his prediction on where this steak would fall on the tenderness scale when we sat down to enjoy.  He was pretty accurate. One day I asked him how he could tell.  He told about a few of the things including that the more gristle, the harder it was to chew.

So the first time I helped Grandma pick out a steak I looked for ones with very little visible cartilage. Each time I handed her one to look at, she told me it was no good and to put it back.  After several tries, she said she would look in the case herself.

She picked one out quickly saying, “There!”   I was surprised to see that it was full of gristle throughout.  I asked her if she thought it would be harder to chew than some of the others.   She replied “Of course it will.  Why do you think I still have all my teeth?”

The Moral
Not everyone who shops for a product or service is looking for the same features.   As a sales person, if you don’t find what makes the customer tick up front, your proposals will be completely hit or miss.    So make sure that even though you may not like chewing tough steaks – perhaps the client does.

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Posted on November 3, 2011, in Sales and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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