Yesterday was the last day of the Executives in the Classroom speaker series for the fall 2013 semester and there’s no better way to close off the series than by hosting Tim, the middle brother, Smithe from Walter E. Smithe. I learned a lot from Tim Smithe and why the Executives in the Classroom is a unique experience.
Tim Smithe is the marketing director for Walter E. Smithe and experienced salesmen for the furniture company. He shared some valuable sales advice, which upon reflection, made me think of how it applies to students in the College of Business Administration. Tim’s first advice in sales was to project yourself with confidence. When Tim started out working on the sales floor for Walter E. Smithe, he really didn’t have the best knowledge about the furniture or what customers wanted. But this fact did not bother him--he still worked the sales floor with his head held high. This is due to the “fake it to make it” mind set, the perception that you know what you’re doing, have more knowledge than the customer, and have answers ready to go.
Tim’s next sales tip dealt with the salesman losing a sale. A confused mind always says “no.” In sales a customer is walking into your store to buy something. If a customer says no, it’s more than likely due to poor salesmanship. Did the seller confuse the buyer? Tim’s advice was to clear the air, lay out the facts, and don’t try to rush the sale by making it a quick sale out the door.
So what am I selling? In business you’re always on the “sales floor” and the product for sale is you. Your next customer is an employer, new contact, or a non-professional connection. Work the sales floor by projecting confidence and keeping in mind the “fake it to make it” mentality. Have the perception that you know what you’re doing, have knowledge in your product, and be prepared with answers ready to go. Reflecting on Tim’s statement that a confused mind always says no, I must think of the reasons why I have received nos. When interviewing, was there confusion in getting the message across? Are your answers too ambiguous and filled with too much fluff? I’ll keep in mind what Tim said when making the next sale, “Clear the air, lay out the facts, and don’t try to make a quick sale.”
Inviting executives and directors into the classroom allows students to hear and ask questions that I would not be able to ask otherwise. For instance, during the 10am session in University Hall, we had the opportunity to ask Tim Smithe questions in an informal setting. We sat in the conference room and engaged in an exciting and stimulating conversation related to business, entrepreneurship, geo-politics, and spirituality. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to get to know our invited guest. I was able to see a side of Tim Smithe that I would have never been able to see and the entertaining, humble and individual personally that is Tim Smithe. To say who the Smithe brothers are I quote Tim Smithe, “Easy going guys that take business but not life seriously.”
Name: Rogelio Loya
Degree: Business Administration