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Supremely Successful Selling: Discovering the Magic Ingredient by Jerold Panas

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Chapter 6

There Are Really No Mistakes in Selling—Only Lessons

TWO EXPLORERS in the deepest African jungle are captured by a wild tribe. They are surrounded. The chief confronts them and says, “I give you the choice: death or kee-kee.”

The first explorer, reasoning that nothing can be worse than death, elects kee-kee. This turns out to be a protracted form of horrible torture and mutilation.

The chief then offers the second explorer the same choice.

“I choose death,” he says with resignation.

“Very well—death,” says the chief. “But first kee-kee.”

The truth is…well, the truth is that in selling there are times you're not certain whether to choose death or kee-kee. You won't make every sale. I don't.

When I was just beginning my career, I somehow managed to get an appointment with Crawford H. Greenewalt. He was CEO of DuPont.

My sales presentation was perfectly rehearsed and delivered. I felt it was just short of being brilliant. Somewhere in the background, I thought I could hear the theme from Rocky.

When I finished he said: “Young man, I want to give you a lesson I hope you won't forget. In the 45 minutes we were together, you didn't find out a single thing about me. You didn't find out what I'm interested in, and you didn't ask any questions. You spent all of your time hard selling. I like to buy, but I don't like to be sold. Learn to understand the difference and you can be a success.”

I didn't make the sale. I was disappointed, of course. I discovered that experience is what ...

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