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dave SAYS

The Key to Being a Great Salesman

By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover – These days it pays to be smart about money. That's why it's important to take this wise counsel from financial expert Dave Ramsey.

Good Customer Service

Dear Dave,

What’s the key to becoming a great salesman?

– Brent

Dear Brent,

I can sum it up in one word – serving. And don’t think for a second that serving means being subservient. I’m talking about being proactive, and making an effort to ensure that customers and potential customers alike are served well. Serving means you’re excited about what you have to offer, and you believe you’ve got a great product at a great price. It means you’re determined your customer is going to have a great experience, and if you happen to hit a bump in the road you will take care of it in a way that will make them forget it ever happened.

Serving is an attitude. You have to provide goods or services in a way that makes your customers willing to trade their time or money – things that are very precious to them – to interact with you and your business. You can pressure people if you want, but that’s going to lead to a dull and frustrating life of one-shot deals. But if you serve people well, you’ll not only have clients for life but they’ll also send all of their friends your way.

If you help enough people, Brent, and make that your first order of business, you’ll never have to worry about money. That’s a different attitude, isn’t it? But I’ve got news for you – it works!


Should He Spend More?

Dear Dave,

My husband makes significantly more money in his job than I do in mine. Since he makes more, he feels he should be able to spend more. He wants to set up an account where we both put 20 percent of our income for discretionary spending. Of course, his 20 percent would be more than my 20 percent, and I feel like we should both put in the same amount. What do you think?


Dear Lisa,

I’m sure your husband is basically a decent guy, but he’s really being selfish and immature about this situation. It’s a very bad plan. My wife is pretty gentle and forgiving, but if tried that mess at home she’d get very un-gentle in a hurry!

Think about it this way. There are lots of families out there where only one person works outside the home and generates income. Would it be fair to say that whoever brings home a paycheck is the only one who can have fun spending a little money once in a while? Of course not! When you two were married, the preacher pronounced you “as one.” That means you have one income, and that’s our income; just like it’s our house, our kids or our dogs. Marriage is not a “me” proposition, it’s always a “we” thing. And it sounds like your husband needs to be reminded of this!


The Level Pay Utility Option

Dear Dave,

Our utility company offers a level-pay option. They average out our bills over the last 24 months, and bill us a consistent amount each month based on that average. Do you think this is a good idea, or would you just pay the regular bills?


Dear Christy,

Lots of people like the idea of having a level of predictability built in to their utility bills. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this idea, as long as you have a good, steady income. You need to be aware, though, that most of these plans have a “make-up” schedule attached to them. You’ll get something back at the end of 12 months if you’ve overpaid, but you have to make up the difference if the payments come up short.

Ultimately, if evening things out from month to month makes you feel better or helps with your budgeting process, then I say go for it. You’ll still only pay for the services you use, and the utility company still gets their money, so it’s really just another path to the same destination!


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Dave SaysDave Ramsey is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and author of the New York Times bestselling books, Financial Peace Revisited and The Total Money Makeover. His life-changing advice in the area of personal finance helps people get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth that will last a lifetime and beyond.

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