I remember the first time I really figured out that I was not a salesperson. I was working as a ski instructor at a resort near Salt Lake City, Utah. I had been there a few years, mostly teaching children’s group lessons, and decided to make a switch for a change of pace and start teaching some adult group lessons as well.
A group of us instructors would start out in the morning with 6 to 10 students each and teach for a couple of hours. We would break for lunch, then go to afternoon “line-up.” I started noticing that some of the more “experienced” instructors (mostly guys in their 40s and 50s who had been teaching at the area for many years) would not be present at afternoon line-up. I would take another group of 6 to 10 students for the afternoon, and then see those “missing” instructors teaching a private 2 hour lesson for the afternoon (you made a lot more money teaching privates). Some of the instructors would stay on groups, and would claim a lot of “return clients” on check out.
What was going on here? I was doing my job, my students seemed to like me (although I got very few tips, probably because I didn’t
hint ask for them) and my groups were making it down the mountain without casualties, having a good time, and learning a few things.
Well as it turns out, those other instructors were salespeople. They would teach their students for a couple of hours in the morning, and then get them to either come back to a private lesson or a return lesson in the afternoon, both of which paid more. They were telling their students how much “more” the students could learn and how much better they would become if they stuck around for a few more lessons (or the entire week), preferably in a private-lesson atmosphere.
Wow. I just couldn’t do it. I felt like if I did that, and didn’t give people the chance to just take some time to practice what I taught them, I was ripping them off. No way was I going to play tour guide and teach the same people the same thing for an entire week. I felt like I was more useful if I shared my knowledge with more, different people (but was I?). Should I really be trying to sell someone something that they didn’t really need? [To be sure, I now think that’s the nature of most businesses.]
It’s something that I’m trying to find a balance with in my new career as a dog walker. It’s hard for me to seek people out and tell them that I can take their dogs for walks and hikes when we probably both feel like they could do it (and many of them do still do it) themselves.
I’m not a salesperson. I will never try to sell someone something that they don’t need or want. If I ask a couple of times and someone doesn’t seem interested, it’s really hard for me to be persistent enough to possibly convert then over to my business. I don’t want to pester someone to the point of making them frustrated with me.
But I will try and help people out. If someone is feeling like they are busy with work, kids, life, etc., why should I not take their dogs out on a walk or out on the trail for a while? The dogs are happy because they are outside cruising around, the owners are happy that the dogs got out (because sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day), and I’m happy because the dogs and the owners are happy (and because I’m around happy dogs all day).
It’s business. But it’s also life. I have a product, and there is a need for it. I really do believe that. I’m happy to provide a service and I enjoy my work (and have never been happier working at a job in my life). Won’t you send your dog for a hike with me?
All Good Dogs, Hiking services:
$25 per dog for 1 hour hike, $10 per extra dog (in same family)
$40 per dog for 2 hour hike, $15 per extra dog (in same family)
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