Dad excelled in the sales profession. I am not sure what techniques he learned or practiced through the years to close a deal. I just know what I observed.
It wasn't the product that intrigued him although he never sold a product in which he could not believe for any company that would not keep its promises.
It wasn't the process although he often spoke of writing the definitive book on sales - its nuts and bolts for the everyday salesman who hammered out a living day in and day out, year by year. He did that and must have known something because somewhere between the dabbler and the superstar is the man or woman who can support a family in this profession.
But it was neither of those two that kept him in the business. It was the people. He loved to go from place to place - no two days the same and meet new people, see old friends, talk about this and that, and help folks get what they wanted. It was the people and the conversations.
I am sure that there are many lessons my dad taught me about sales and ministry that I learned without realzing it. I should reflect upon them someday and jot them down. However, if there were no more than this one, I'd be set for life: Put the people first.
As he lay dying from a brain tumor, gradually losing his faculties, he became agitated one day and the family asked him if he wanted something. He mustered what were some of his last words and blurted out, "I want to talk!"
He was a salesman to the end.
I was just thinking about that this Father's Day.