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Sales Advice From an Ancient Greek Philosopher

by Vicky Walker

I’m not Greek … but my soul is Greek. I have had the good fortune to enjoy many of the treasures the ancients that reveal themselves in the heat radiating from the marble stones of the temples or in the cool breeze of an island olive orchard.

Arguably, Greece is considered to be the cradle of modern civilization, with its many philosophers, and myths, religions, and artworks. Despite their economic woes of recent, you have to hand it to this culture as it lays claim to technologies that can still be a source of awe even now: Aqueducts, water clocks, cranes, central heating, gears, surveying tools to name a few. They were no stranger to innovation – No indeed.

We can all take a page from that book. They used both sides of their brain too. Not only is there a long list of mathematicians like Pythagoras, scientists like Aristotle and of course Hippocrates, but the philosophers are possibly the longest list of all. Interestingly, many of the scientists were philosophers too.

I am rather a cretin (no, not a Cretan – remember, I’m not Greek) when it comes ancient philosophy, but there was one guy I really take a shine to. Epictetus. Well, he might have been born Roman, but he lived out his days in Greece, so we’ll leave it at that. Epictetus was a Stoic … sounds practical … and grounded. He has some great things to say that snap me back to earth.

Personally, I think he was a salesman or at least he should have been anyway. Why do I think he was in sales? Well, one of his students described him as being able to “induce his listener to feel just what Epictetus wanted him to feel”. I wish I could do that, but that’s not why actually. I think he was in sales because of something he said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak” -- Epcictetus.

That’s the first thing I share with people who want to learn the skill of selling. If you can nail that, you’re on your way. The award winners aren’t the fast talkers … they’re the good listeners. Because when you’re in a meeting with a prospective client … if you listen … listen carefully … they will not only tell you what they want, but they will also tell you why they want it, how much it’s worth to them, and what might happen if they don’t find what they want. All you have to do is develop the skill of directing the conversation to how that applies to the matter at hand.

If you do indeed have what they want, then fabulous and you are on your way to some new business or a new product idea. If you don’t, then say so and move on – you may lose a sale for the moment, but you will absolutely win credibility, which is the secret sauce of a sustainable business.

Click here to access Vicky Walker's in-depth online training "A 5 Step Process to SALE-ebrate Your Business and Increase Your Revenue."

About Vicky Walker