3 People and a Corned Beef Sandwich

Published on May 2, 2002

This Memorial Day Weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Bar Mitzvah of a very special young man, Joshua Feldman. Joshua is special because at the ripe old age of 13, he gave a speech that literally left everyone stunned—a speech that moved the entire congregation and left all of the adults with a powerful message. In describing his experience of studying for this important day, Joshua discussed how everyone looks at the Bar Mitzvah experience differently.

The powerful example he used to illustrate is point was three people ordering a corned beef sandwich at a deli. The first person was a successful business executive who stopped by the deli and ordered the sandwich as a means to a quick lunch as she prepared to drive out to the Hamptons.

The second person decided to change his routine and went from his usual pastrami to something new, the corned beef sandwich. The third person was homeless and was given $10 to go out and buy himself a good meal. Three people ordering the same kind of sandwich, but all for very different reasons.

This example hit me between the eyes because it really tells the story of a titan salesperson, selling the same product or service to three different people who buy it for their own reasons. Yet, the problem salespeople run into is they concentrate on selling their products based on the reason they feel the customer would want it.

Joshua has taught us that it is in our best interests to first find out the customer’s reasons for possibly wanting our products and services, and then presenting our solution as it addresses those specific reasons. After all, everyone buys for their own reasons. So, take a hint from a very wise 13 year-old and concentrate on addressing your customers reasons for buying your products versus your own.

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