5 Sales Presentation Lessons from the Kirby Vacuum Guy

A Kirby vacuum salesman completes his sales presentation
Working from home means a number of things.  Some days, it means I can work outside on the deck.  Other days, it means I get to shovel the roof.  On this day, it means I get to experience the magic of the Kirby vacuum guy.
For those of you unfamiliar with the product, Kirby vacuums have been sold via direct sales for almost 100 years.  While the vacuums have changed and developed over that time, since 1920 they have only been sold via in-home demonstrations by approved (but independent) Kirby distributors.  For more information about the company and it’s various models, you can check out their site (linked above) or the Wikipedia article written about them.
I’ll admit, as a seasoned tech sales rep, I was skeptical.  I mean, after all, it’s just a vacuum.  Granted, it’s a nearly three THOUSAND dollar vacuum—but it’s still just a vacuum.
As he moved through his presentation, I realized that he had a step-by-step plan in place to get us to buy a vacuum.  Though it was not anything game changing, he comfortably and systematically walked us through his sales process.  These are lessons that you may have learned before, but may need to be reminded of:
1.  Don’t Stop Asking—He never stopped asking questions.  First, they were about us, working to develop rapport.  At some point, they transitioned into questions about the effectiveness or need for a Kirby.  He understood the power of a “yes” sequence and stayed with it until the end.
kirby vacuum cleaner filters used in sales presentation

Two of the many filters dirtied by the Kirby as it cleaned our carpets

2.  Pull Up Some Dirt—He brought a stack of circular, white filters.  He then swapped these out every minute or two as he demonstrated how much dirt was in our carpets.  This put us into “pain,” which made us more open to their pitch when it came.
3.  Do Some Cleaning—He shampooed one of our worst rooms, while not cleaning it perfectly, certainly making it look a great deal better.  He gave something to us, which compelled us to give him something.  This is often referred to the “law of reciprocity” and it extremely important in showing potential clients you are for them.
4.  Know Your Vacuum—He didn’t just know about Kirby, he knew everything about Kirby. While some sales people don’t need to be product experts, they certainly need experts on their team to take the customer from their “pain” towards a better place with your solution.
5.  Find More Rooms—He asked for other friends who might have rooms that need to be cleaned.  Because he had already served us, we felt compelled to share names with him.  The lesson for sales people is to always ask for referrals.  They are the best opportunity for new clients.
So the obvious question is, if he did such a good job, “Did you buy?”  We did not.  But not because he didn’t do a good job working though his process.  It was for a very simple reason: We already had one!