Want to increase sales? Try the Oscar Model

How employees can be your best marketing asset, even without any formal sales training

Google something like “sales training program” and you’ll find a seemingly endless list of options for spending money on programs that will train you or your team in the finer points of how to sell your goods and services. Or, you can try what I call the Oscar Model. Best of all, it’s free.

The Oscar Model is based on an experience I had earlier this year while travelling to the airport in Naples, Florida. Oscar was my Uber driver, and, as it turned out, quite the salesman. I already was an Uber customer when Oscar arrived, so he didn’t try to sell me on the ride-share service. In fact, he didn’t try to sell me anything. But he exemplified some great principles about sales during our 30-minute commute – not just about how to win a customer but on how to train sales people even if they technically aren’t responsible for sales.

Like many Uber drivers, Oscar has another job. When he isn’t driving, he works as a master technician in the service department of Naples Motor Sports. This high-end dealership specializes in exotic cars by brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Spyker, Maserati, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, McLaren, BMW, and Mercedes.

“Tell me about working there,” I said as we began our trip. “Do they treat you well?”

“Treat me well?” he said. “I love it. They treat me great.”

His enthusiasm and the sincerity in his voice made me hungry for details, so I asked him what he meant when he said they treated him well. He talked about their flexibility with his hours and, most importantly, about how his boss trusts him to do his job.

“He doesn’t look over my shoulder,” he said as I typed notes in my iPhone, “and he trusts me do my best work.”

Then the discussion shifted to where I take my car for repairs. I told him that my wife and I were pretty new to the area. We live most of the year in Denver, I said, but come to Naples to escape the colder months. We are still figuring out things like where to take our car for maintenance.

“We would love to have you bring us your car if you have a problem in the future,” he said, and then he referred me to his boss, Vilem Rosenberger, the service manager at Naples Motor Sports.

Oscar was selling me on the company, and he wasn’t even in sales! Why? Because he loved his job, loved his boss, and believed in the service they provided. That’s a great testimony about the importance of treating others well, especially your subordinates. The influence is contagious. In this case, it may have created a future customer! You still might want to offer some formal sales training, of course, but earning the trust of your employees, aka the Oscar Model, is a great place to start if you want loyal fans who enthusiastically share your story with everyone they meet. Those are employees who sell what every customer wants to buy.

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