sales advice

Teaching kids to sell is smart and fun

My first experience helping my son with sales was when the YMCA guides group we go camping with told us about their annual wreath sale.

The wreath sale is their only fundraiser and it helps to send kids with special needs go camping.  I wanted to help with this fundraiser…

The first thing my son and I did was come up with a script for when someone answers the door. He and I worked on it and came up with, “Hi, my name is Joshua Di Gennaro, I live on Mulberry Dr, and I’m in the 2nd grade at Baker Elementary. I’m selling Christmas Wreaths for the YMCA. Would you like a small wreath or a big wreath?”

Asking if you’d like a small wreath or a big wreath is a little bit of a sales tactic where you work to prevent the, “no”.  It’s  a little gimmicky, but under the circumstances I knew it was going to be fun to see how people reacted.

The first house we stopped at the Dad immediately saw through the close, but invited us in and bought a large wreath.  On top of raising money for a good cause, it’s also good to make contact with your neighbors.

The lessons I wanted to teach my son was to make eye contact, to speak loud enough, to learn how to quickly build rapport, and, probably the biggest lesson I wanted him to learn was rejection.  We ended up selling about a dozen wreaths in an hour and called it quits, but it was a great first step into selling and being able to go up to a house and recite a script at age 7 is definitely brave.

This past weekend I was in charge of a raffle and I had Joshua selling again.  I reminded him to make sure to make eye contact, to smile, and to speak loud enough.

I do feel like some people are born with natural sales abilities, but that anyone can learn good techniques if you want to.  Making eye contact, smiling, and speaking loud enough are three life lessons that will help get you wherever you want to go in life.

sales advice

How to deal with competitors

I used to hate my competitors. I absolutely loathed them. They were taking money out of my pocket…how dare they???!?!??

A few years ago, one of my coworkers went to go work for the competition and I was stunned. How could they? They were the enemy! We talked about it and it turned out Greg got any opportunity he had been waiting years for…it just so happened it was with a different company.

Greg explained to me why he made the decision and a light bulb went off in my head.

I had prided myself on my loyalty and loved my company, but it was eye opening for a naive boy from Pittsburgh.

I realized then, that instead of looking at competitors with contempt, I should, rather, admire them for what they’ve been able to accomplish and in ways that they are better than me.

Every company has issues…it’s how you deal with those issues that sets you apart from the pack.

The next time your competition beats you…don’t get mad. Instead use it as a learning experience and work on becoming better yourself.


How to sell to Government Agencies

Be ready for a long sales cycle. The government makes slow decisions and it’s even slower when you’re trying to convince them to buy something they haven’t purchased before or switch vendors.

Like all buyers, though, it’s still run by people who are more inclined to buy from you if they like you. The first step is to make sure you are communicating with the buyer and not someone who thinks they are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the questions, “are you the decision maker for this field?” and “is there anyone else I should include?” during this process.

Once you’ve established a relationship you have to work on gaining an advantage and that advantage is for you to be written into the bid specs. Every company has their competitive advantage that is somewhat different than your competitors. Even if you feel you don’t have anything special, you can still ask to have the bid specifications written as such; “equipment provided shall be the ’12” pump’ as provided by Godwin Pumps of Bridgeport, NJ.” I specifically mention Godwin Pumps because they have done an absolutely incredible job at getting their pumps specified in government bids. Their pumps aren’t any better, but they asked to be specified and the customer complied.

If you can get your company or product mentioned in the bid, you are leap years ahead of the competition. Let me know how it works out for you! email me at