A Powerful Sales Lesson that Hasn’t Aged in 50 Years

During a recent Calvetti Meats office cleanup, I found a short article my father wrote in 1955: just one typewritten sheet, which told the story of a powerful sales lesson.

My father was an amazing salesman who loved the booming Chicago meat industry. He was a legend in the industry at the time, and it’s easy to imagine that his success was because of complicated sales techniques or family-inherited relationships.

In fact, he was a self-made man who was not afraid to try something new.

Often, the simplest sales strategies are the most powerful and ageless. I’m honored to be able to share this with you and hope it will help you close many terrific sales.

HOW THE GRAND CHAMPION STEER SOLD ME

[/fusion_text][one_third last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][/one_third][two_third last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_text]To say the least, this is a sale I will never forget.

I had been calling on a big restaurant on Chicago’s north side: Miller’s Steak House. I had no reason to believe [Mr. Miller] would bite on my offer of a Grand Champion Steer. This guy was loyal to a competitor.

But I recalled something I once read: Henry Ford purchased a life insurance policy of record size from a perfect stranger who got him on the phone and was so forceful that he got an interview with Ford. A terrific sale resulted.[/fusion_text][/two_third][fusion_text]I have always taken chances like this.

I worked up my little pitch stressing the million-dollar publicity [Miller] would get and the prestige he would acquire with a Grand Champion Steer. He was very cool to the idea at first.

In the interview that followed, I kept talking about what [the steer] would do for…his place. He brought in his manager and chef. I talked to them all—they were finally sold.

[Mr. Miller was later asked] how he felt about the worldwide publicity he was getting [because of the steer]. He said, “It’s the greatest thrill of my life.” And, he added, “You know who I feel happy for: Jimmy Calvetti. He deserves the credit.”

Henry Ford’s insurance friend asked, “Why didn’t you buy the insurance from me?” Henry retorted, “You didn’t ask me.” And Miller’s flabbergasted meat supplier asked him, “Why didn’t you buy the champion [steer] from me?” The answer was, of course, “You didn’t ask me.”

So you see, if you just ask, you can get a fella to part with over $5,000* for one steer.

*That would be more than $43,000 today

Jamie Calvetti is the president of Chicago-based Calvetti Meats. Founded in 1974, Calvetti Meats is one of the finest purveyors of prime quality, portion-cut meats in the industry. A staunch believer in customer service and continuous innovation in the foodservice industry, Jamie launched Innovative Food Creations, which offers custom ready-to-cook meals through the use of high temperature–enabled, vacuum packaging cooking film. Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn.

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