A Crucial Lesson About Salesmanship


A friend of mine is a District Manager for Honda. For his job he’s in charge of several dealerships making sure they’re doing the proper marketing and getting everything they need from corporate. I guess you could say he is the liaison between the dealerships and corporate.

Part of his job is to obviously help his dealerships become as successful as possible. So the other day he decided he would go mystery shopping to a Toyota dealership to see how they handled customers, to see their marketing materials and to see their overall sales process. He ended up visiting a total of three dealerships.

He said the first two dealerships were very professional and did a great job (and he was able to get material he could use for his own dealerships). He said the third dealership did a horrible job and he spent three hours there because they had no idea what they were doing.

What This “Bonehead” Manager Did…

Well, my friend’s boss had him write up a formal report about his three visits and what could be implemented for Honda. Along the way, another manager found out about the mystery shopping and this particular manager had a friend that worked for the third dealership which did poorly. So this bonehead other manager called his friend at the Toyota dealership and started “ragging” on him about how his dealership sucked, etc. (Yes, an immature move).

Of course the guy who worked at the poorly performing Toyota dealership told his boss, who in turn left the following message on my friend’s voicemail. It went something like this: “Hi, this is Bob Smith the General Manager at XYZ Toyota. I understand you mystery shopped us the other day. I also heard we did not do to well and I would like to talk to you about your notes. However, I am not pleased at all that you wasted three hours of my salesman’s time. I think that is extremely inappropriate and I expect a call back from you. I will be persistent about this and don’t waste my guys’ time again”.

It was a little longer than that, and my friend let me listen to the actual voicemail. So what’s the big lesson you can learn from this? What huge mistake did the GM who left the message make?

If this GM was a good salesman he would have…

Left a very friendly voicemail and said “hey, I would love to hear your notes so I can improve my dealership” and he would have left it at that. However, he was a terrible salesman because on the second half of the message he was confrontational and said how mad he was about the three hours wasted.

Now why in the world would my friend want to call this guy back and help him? He wouldn’t, because if he called this guy back he knew he would get yelled at. My point is, if you need someone to help you out, or you want them to do you a favor then obviously don’t make it difficult for them to help you or call you back.

You need to think like a salesman and put yourself in other people’s shoes…

For example, let’s say you were working with a seller who all of the sudden stopped returning your phone calls. And one day you call him and say “Mr. seller this is Jason from ABC Realty Group. I’ve been trying to call you for the last week and I think it’s very rude that you don’t have the courtesy to call me back. I would like to buy your house still, so call me”. Now of course this guy is not going to call you.

In short, please remember to keep your emotions in check. Even though we would love to yell at people (I know I would a lot of the time) you will not get business from them, or buy houses from them if you do.

By the way, I told my friend not to call the GM back because he violated a simple rule of salesmanship and he told me he didn’t ever plan on calling him back. You see, had that GM been smart, my friend would have been more than happy to tell him how he could have improved his business.

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.


  1. Keeping your emotions in check is critical to ensuring that you can close a deal or find a new stream of sales revenue, the client is never to blame even if they are rude! Perspective taking, by putting yourself in the other persons shoes is an excellent point

  2. Jason, you pay attention better than most “type A” REIs out there!

    Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?

    Happy is getting the….
    * signature
    * check
    * order
    * referral
    * girl (or guy!)

    Right means
    “I TOLD THAT S.O.B. where to go!”
    “I am da MAN!”
    “I slammed HIM!”

    Pick one!

    Happy or Right. No Brainer.

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