How Selling Vacuums Made Me A Better Leader

Hi there. I’m Rev.CM Logan. I am a youth pastor and a passionate writer. I’ll start with a brief history of my employment: a caddy at a country club, a dishwasher, a pizza maker, a pizzeria manager, a dishwasher (at a different restaurant), a barista (best job ever, an endless supply of coffee!), and back to pizzeria manager. I love to stay busy and work hard.

Image by Robert Scarth

Image by Robert Scarth

I have learned lessons from all stages and chapters of my life that have helped me grow as a leader, a writer, and a person. Whether it was to buy a car as a teenager or to provide for my family as an adult, I have worked. Then all that changed when a few years ago two things happened; my wife got pregnant and I lost my job. Crap, I said to myself. What do I do now? I applied to every business I could think of and sent my resume to every mom and pop store, small business, and corporation. It wasn’t until I got connected to a job selling vacuums door to door that I received a “Yes” to my employment situation. With a baby on the way, I didn’t have a choice. I was skeptical but desperate. I attended a crash course training seminar led by a top salesman and was soon peddling my wares to friends, families, neighbors, and later complete strangers. This terribly long introduction paves the way for three valuable lessons I learned from my experience that I think can help every business person, entrepreneur, and leader succeed in their endeavors.

#1 — Product Knowledge

No matter what capacity you work in (even if you are self-employed) you need knowledge about your good or service. These vacuums were complicated (they should be for 2700 dollars!) and it was my job to know them inside and out. Maybe you don’t sell anything. If that is the case, it can still benefit you to be driven to have a thirst for knowledge. A continued pursuit of wisdom will not only benefit you in personal success and growth, it will also likely spread to coworkers and fellow laborers.

#2 — People Knowledge

I also learned a valuable lesson from the customers I talked to. Knowing who your customer is and what matters to them are keys to selling anything (or in my case, vacuums). I had an instance where I was giving my pitch about a “cleaner home” when the wife mentioned her son suffers from allergies. I took that opportunity to tell her of the help my grandfather received when we bought this vacuum.

The same holds true to every business owner and leader. If we shut our traps for two seconds and listen to our customers’ desires and objections or our employees’ concerns, we can better serve them. That is right; I said “SERVE THEM.” Our goal should be to be a better boss, leader, or entrepreneur and we do that my having a servant’s heart. We must learn as much as we can by listening if we want to be successful leaders.

#3 — Perseverance Knowledge

It should be noted that I received more “no thank yous” and doors slammed in my face (only once literally) than I had sales, but the most important concept I learned from selling vacuums was we must get back up when we fall off. We will be told NO, and that’s okay. Others will let us down and that’s unfortunately a part of this fallen world. We will let others down (can I get an Amen?) It’s easy to hear but hard act on when we hear someone say to just dust yourself off and keep moving ( I’m talking to myself as much as you). But, what we need to do more than anything is chant the wise words of Dory when she chants “Just keep moving, just keep moving.” Enduring will build character and help you grow as a leader more than anything else.

So, what about you? What valuable business and leadership lessons have you learned from unexpected sources? Let’s all learn from each other’s unexpected experiences.

This is a guest post by Rev. C.M. Logan is a youth pastor to a bunch of amazing kids, husband to a beautiful wife, and father to three precious children. He and his wife, K.M., are also in the process of launching the Christian Writing Studio, a website dedicated to helping people share the Gospel and their stories in writing. Check us out at http://www.christianwritingstudio.com/landing/

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.