This Column is Pretty Good

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“It’s pretty good.” –Will Prange

Many of you had the pleasure of meeting my youngest son, Will at recent trade shows. Will loves meeting new people. He was the inspiration for our new family business. Working with him in the office and on the road, for the last year has been a rare treat and education.

Will keeps teaching me about sales, customer service and how business can be. All I have to do is quit talking and listen. The latest lesson came from a video that was shot and edited by National Oil & Lube News (NOLN) at the 2015 iFLEX show. You can watch it here:

My company was introducing a new product. The excitement was unique, and I guess Will picked up on it. When NOLN asked him to be in one of their company spotlight videos, Will focused on this new product and just started talking. I tried to stop him, to brief him and give him a couple talking points but he was having none of it. “I got this, man,” he told me repeatedly until I finally understood, “Be quiet Dad.”

Will proceeded to explain why this product was special and why you and your customers should buy it. It was his opening line that got me the most, “It’s pretty good,” — pretty good indeed. In a nutshell, Will reminded me to tone down the hyperbole and keep it all in perspective.

I’m guilty of it and occasionally, so are some of your employees — exaggerating a bit when trying to sell something. When your employees are asked to sell certain products, they may stumble and wonder how to explain the reason the consumer should pay good money for something. They may inflate the benefits and even add new ones to justify the price. They set consumers’ expectations too high.

Some of the products often victim to this kind of sales strategy are synthetic oils, engine treatments and fuel additives. All valid products and services but sometimes your price-sensitive employees make promises that the product or service can’t keep. This kind of puffery is usually because the retail price seems too high to the employee. Other times, it might be a lack of belief in the product or service. This is accompanied by a lack of knowledge on particular offerings.

You are not alone. Ask your vendors to help with the training, samples and confidence that should go along with these products and services. After all, you don’t want a reputation of false promises.

Avoid the mantra, “Step right up, let me tell you what you want to hear. {Blank} is good for what ails you. It will help you grow hair, lose weight, get taller, regain vitality and jump higher. Something this good should cost 10 times more, but it’ll pay for itself in no time.” Or if that’s your sales strategy, check out for a modern day version of the snake oil pitch.

DAVID PRANGE is currently assistant to the chairman at Next Generation Mfg. He can be reached at 630.699.6813 or:

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