Chapter 14 Sell without Selling Your Soul

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more of it I have.”

Thomas Jefferson

Hello, ma’am. I was wondering if you were interested in possibly buying some of these seeds from the American Seed Company. My name is Anthony Scaramucci. I live down the street. You see, these seeds are special . . .”

The door slammed shut before I could even start my pitch. I certainly wasn’t born a good salesman. At 11 years old, I was nervous, uncomfortable, and insecure, but I had ambition and dreamed of big things. And on Long Island in the 1970s, a sales job seemed the best way to climb my way to the top.

One day I was reading a comic book and came across an ad for the American Seed Company. If you sold enough seeds, you could send in your ledger and the company would send you a choice of highly coveted gifts. I had my heart set on a cutting-edge Casio watch that not only had fancy features like a timer but could tell time in Paris, London, and Tokyo. It might as well have been my generation’s iPhone. The plan was simple: sell enough seeds and send in my credits for the watch. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to sell.

The whole sales process felt wholly unnatural to me. It was like being forced to play the lead role in the school play when you had a fear of public speaking. It felt especially phony because I didn’t believe in the product I was selling. I just wanted the watch. Fortunately, my neighbors understood ...

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