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June 29, 2022

Selling – What Can We Learn From the Greatest Furniture Salesman in the World?

My wife, Cheryl and I were going to the furniture store to buy an end table because we cracked one that we had. We walked into Levin’s Furniture store in Canton Ohio. It was completely devoid of customers except for one middle aged gentlemen talking to a young couple. We saw eight or ten other salespeople talking to each other in groups.

I walked up to the service desk and said. I need an end table. I want to talk to your best salesperson. Who would that be? She gave his name. I asked if he was the best salesman there. She said “Honey, He’s the best in the world”. I asked if we could speak to him. She told us that he was busy with another customer, but we could talk to one of the other ten salespeople. I told her we would wait. His name was Dan.

Over the next twenty minutes or so, we heard him paged three or four times because customers were calling for him, by name, and nobody else.

He walked over to us, a little disheveled. Limping slightly. He introduced himself, and I said we wanted to look at this one end table I picked out. He said “How long do you want it to last?”

I smiled, because I thought I recognized a selling sequence, a good one, was about to begin.

I wanted it to last forever, I said. He said “Then you will want to follow me.” And after showing me what I really wanted, of course it didn’t go with the furniture we already had. So he asked about our furniture. “Leather” I said. “Premium quality leather throughout”.

He smiled and showed me a new definition of the word “Premium”. I told him we just purchased a new home. Of course, that reason was enough, in his mind, for us to repopulate our home with new furniture. We passed a bedroom suite. I asked about it. He said “You have excellent taste. It’s make from 100% real hickory and the bed alone weighs a thousand pounds. Can you smell the hickory?”. I started salivating, and drooling all over the furniture, I’m sure. I asked if we could get a special deal. He said “We’ll total it up when we are done”.

“When we are done?” I thought.

After I said we would take the bedroom suite, he leaned over and said to both of us in a low voice “Now you got something for yourself. What about your wife?”

I laughed out loud. I knew what he was doing, and was loving every minute of it.

We got the end table that day, with $25,000 in more furniture. The whole time we were talking, every few minutes there was a call for him, and nobody else.

I told him that I trained salespeople, and asked him how he sold so much furniture.

He said “I can make my customers so comfortable with the furniture we sell. I truly love the furniture. I love the feel of it. The smell. And I want my customers to share that feeling”.

I asked him how long he would have kept going. He said “Until you said Stop. I could tell money wasn’t stopping you, and you were having a good time. It was a pleasure serving you”.

I’m a fan of Dan. Two weeks later, I walked into our sunroom. It had all new furniture. I asked my wife where she go it. “From Dan, he called and asked what other rooms needed new furniture,. I went to see him. This was a surprise for you”.

Did the furniture store call? Another salesperson? No. Dan called.

These sales were made in the middle of a deep recession. The other salespeople there were probably spending the day complaining about how little business there was, how the company should advertise more, and how cheap the buyers are. But not Dan.

And hopefully not you.

Maybe soon, someone will tell a story like this about you.